One of the biggest reasons why people fail to change their behaviors. (And the simple fix.)

Gooooaaaallllll. Oh wait. Not soccer. My bad. But, still: goals. Goals are important.

Without goals, The Wizard of Oz = Dorothy, Aunt Em, and Toto picking boogers out of their noses. Not fun. But add the goal: getting to the Land of Oz. /gasm

Goals are the first thing you have to define. What do you want to be? Have? Capabilities?

Construction worker: get rid of chronic back pain, get lean. New father: build muscle, strength train in a time efficient way, maybe even from home. First year college student: sleep around without getting STDs.

You know, the usual.

Goals are the guide.

But goals are absofuckinglutely childish. We should rename goals for what they really are: wants.

I want a bicycle. I just want a bicycle! Whatever, make me a bicycle, clown!

Even a five year old has goals. Wanting is easy. I want a lot of stuff.

I want one million dollars. An infinite supply of peanut butter. I want to drink the finest milk stouts in the world. To deadlift 600 pounds and move like a ghost cat.

I got lots of goals.

So what?

ah –

The problem with goals. They tell you where you want to go, but they don’t tell how to get there.

Goal are Pluto. Far away. Something you want reach in the future.

  • I want to lose fat
  • I want to build muscle
  • I want to trick like Rasmus Ott
  • I want to be as mobile as Hunter Cook
  • I want to not be such a socially awkward nerd

Go ahead. List yours. You won’t. But it’s one of those things I’m supposed to tell you to do anyway.

Now bring things closer to home.

Jupiter: what behaviors do you need to adopt in order to (eventually) reach Pluto?

I want to lose fat, so the behaviors are…

  • Drink no calorie beverages.
  • Eat a rich source of protein at every feeding.
  • Replace 50% of my starch intake with vegetables.

If you don’t know the behavioral root(s) of your goal, then you’re not in the Milky Way. (Buy Big Win Fat Loss. I like money.)

But, good news…

Even if you’re selecting bass ackwards out-of-this-galaxy behaviors, it doesn’t matter (for now).

  • Eliminate all carbohydrates.
  • Avoid fatty foods.
  • Go jogging every day


/bad list

(but it doesn’t matter)


Don’t forget via negativa when selecting behaviors.

I’ll eat more vegetables! I’ll train more! I’ll start eating this superfood! I’ll take this supplement!

Maybe you’re better off ~

I’ll stop eating the entire jar of peanut butter at night. I’ll stop drinking sodas all day. I’ll stop in the name of love before you break my heart.


Got your list? Didn’t think so. Just pretend. It’s cool. I’m not judging. (I’m so judging.)

I’m guessing your list is full of behaviors based on the RESULT(S) you expect them to yield.

Go to the gym “x” times per week and do “y” routine because this is the best way I know of to build muscle.

But here’s the deal…

This series is about Getting Shit Done, meaning you struggle Getting Shit Done. So you’ve either tried to adopt a behavior in the past and failed, or you haven’t even mustered the magic to start doing the behavior.

Go to the gym “x” times per week and do “y” routine might be the best way you know of to build muscle, but it doesn’t jive with your psyche. Else you wouldn’t struggle Getting Shit Done.


If you struggle Getting Shit Done, there’s (probably) pain, risk, or negative emotions associated with either (a) the act of doing whatever behavior[s] you need to do, or (b) the potential outcome[s] of said behavior[s].

“pain” “risk” “negative”

Could be actual physical pain. Like delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). But it doesn’t have to be.

Maybe it’s the time you have to invest in the behavior(s). Maybe it’s that the things you’re eliminating (beer, cake, chips, cookies) make you happy. Maybe it’s that you’re a newbie in the gym and you don’t know how to use the equipment, which is an awkward situation (unless you have Z2B).

Maybe it’s that you’re afraid of how your friends or spouse will perceive the changes you want to make, the fear of judgement and criticism.

These are all “pains.”

wel wel wel welllllcccommeeeeee to where it all starts. Behaviors you need to start doing, but can’t. You can’t not (double negatives yo) because you actually can’t, but, rather, because you’re choosing behaviors that are too far beyond your comfort zone.

Remember, Simba

Your software that programs for risk aversion. So when faced with

  • (a) Easier, safer, comforting thing
  • (b) Harder, risky, discomforting thing

it’s so much easier to pick (a). And sit on the couch. And watch TV. And eat cake, chips, and cookies. And corrode into comfort.

The behaviors you’re trying to adopt are akin to walking into a lion’s den. They’re risky and uncomfortable.

perception > reality

You can’t have any pain or punishment associated with a desired behavior you want to adopt. Well. Maybe you can. But it’ll be more difficult.

Closer to home. (again)

Break the behavior(s) down even more to reduce pain, risk, negative emotions associated with them.

Don’t select behaviors assuming you’re going to bring your A game to the table every single day. THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE. /skywalker


Select behaviors you can handle even when your F game shows up; I’m talking about behaviors that are almost impossible to fail.

There’s a word I love: skosh. It means small or a little amount.

Think about skosh stepping stones that’ll build into Jupiter behaviors.

Let’s say you’re trying to lose fat. You read BWFL. You know how to lose fat (you’re in the Milky Way). But you always fail when trying to change because you don’t like vegetables.

Instead of trying to eat a bowl of vegetables the size of your head every day, maybe you just take one bite of a carrot at lunch.

Let’s say you’re trying to get more mobile. You got through Z2B and want to improve your squat. But you can’t find the gusto to hang out (and work on) the bottom squat position for five minutes every day.

Maybe you start with: hold the bottom of a squat for 15 seconds right before I go to bed.

Or maybe you’ve struggled to take 60 minute walks every day. Maybe you start with: do ten jumping jacks at 7PM every day.

You want skosh behaviors to seem meh and not ugh. Ugh is bad. Ugh is, “I’ll flake.” Meh is just the right amount of apathy to be helpful.

There’s a bit of the Goldilocks paradox at play here. There’s an ideal soup temperature. When the soup is too cold, it’s not very motivating. Too hot, same.

why would i lick a carrot? what’s that going to do?

The sweet spot: that productive, uncomfortable terrain located just beyond our current abilities, where our reach exceeds our grasp. Deep practice is not simply about struggling; it’s about seeking a particular struggle, which involves a cycle of distinct actions.”

Daniel Coyle, The Talent Code

But I know you’re going to read this and probably overshoot and land in the lion’s den. It’s best to be conservative: choose F game behaviors that are almost impossible to fail.


I what you’re thinking.

I came all this way for this idiot to tell me to start small. Or skosh. Whatever. I wish I could punch him right in his skosh nads. 

Why would I do things that won’t help my progress? Why eat a bite of a carrot every day? Would it really help me? Only ten jumping jacks? That’s not going to help me lose fat.

And, if you weren’t thinking this, now you are. (I AM A GREAT PSYCHOLOGICAL WIZARD.) I have you right where I want you.

But, for now, make some skosh stepping stones for behaviors you (eventually) want to build. You won’t. But, again, it’s one of those things I’m supposed to tell you to do anyway.

Trying to lose fat, build muscle, and build a body you’re proud of?

Maybe you’re a little lost right now.

Maybe you don’t have much motivation.

Maybe you don’t what program or diet to use.

I don’t know…

But what I do know is this:

Everything you need is inside of you.

You’re capable of more than know.

You just have to open your eyes.

My weekly column can help.

Just a small little honest note from me sent every Sunday.

Unless I’m hungover.

And then it comes Monday.

What I’m trying to say is that it’ll come Monday.

(These weekly columns don’t get posted to the site.)

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