“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
Are you doing something over and over but expecting different results? Whenever you want to see a different result in your life, be it a positive change or an improvement in your performance, you have to do something different from what you are currently doing. In goal achievement terms, this is known as changing your strategy to reach your goal.
Change Your Actions to Get Results You Want
Why is that so? Because whatever the actions you have taken thus far aren’t giving you your desired results. Say ABC actions have been giving you ABC results. To get XYZ results, you need to adopt XYZ actions. Repeating ABC actions again and again isn’t going to give you XYZ results — it’s just going to give you the same ABC results indefinitely.
Applying this principle to your life, this means:
- If you have been trying to lose weight but you are not getting anywhere, you need to change your action plan.
- If you are a single looking for your soulmate to no avail, you need to change whatever you are doing (or not doing).
- If you have been trying to change your career path with limited success, you need to change your approach.
- If you have been in the same income bracket for the past few years despite wanting to earn more, you need to do something different to earn a higher income.
- If you have been working on your business but you are not making headway, you need to change your actions.
Three things to note here:
#1. Give your actions enough time to play out first
Of course, this assumes you have worked on your action steps long enough to know that they are not working. The amount of time depends on the goal itself.
For a weight loss goal, a month should be a good time frame. For a startup, results may take anywhere from 3 to 6 months or even a year to play out, though you should see some results as you go along. If it’s a big goal, set mini-milestones to track and evaluate your progress. You don’t need to wait for a year to know your startup is not taking off; you can use early indicators like people’s reception and market survey results to see if you’re moving on the right track.
#2. Keep effective actions. Remove ineffective ones.
Changing your actions doesn’t mean chucking aside everything you have been doing. Some of your actions may well be working. Review what you have been doing. Keep the actions which are bringing in results, throw away those which aren’t working, and try new methods. Don’t waste your time doing things which aren’t bringing you anywhere.
#3. The bigger the change in actions, the bigger the change in results
If what you’re doing is not working at all, perhaps you should give your plan an overhaul. The more you change, the bigger the change in results.
For example, say you have been trying to lose 20lbs in the past 2 months. You improved your diet by eating more vegetables. You increased your activity level by walking more. These changes have brought about a decrease in 2lbs. While these actions have brought about their own effects, continuing the same thing (eating even more vegetables, walking even more) probably isn’t going to help you lose 20lbs. To create a larger change, a paradigm shift is probably in order. Maybe you need to cut out sugar altogether. Maybe you need to dramatically reduce the fat in your diet. Maybe you need to eat only whole foods and replace your other foods with them. Maybe you need to track your calories and get on a calorie-controlled diet. Maybe you need a structured exercise regime. Maybe you should hire a nutritionist and/or fitness coach.
Of course, if you’re getting good results, perhaps only a small tweak is necessary. It depends on the context.
Start Changing Your Actions
Think of a goal that you want to achieve but have faced limited success. Then, think about the following questions. Write your answers with a pen and paper:
- What have you been doing to achieve this goal in the past few months?
- Why haven’t you been able to reach your goal? Have you been trying hard enough? Are your actions too restricted? List all reasons and dig deep into the answers.
- How can you revise your strategy?
- What can you do differently moving forward? For example, look at the people who have been successful in achieving this goal. What did they do?
- What are some new things you can try out?
- Anything that is working well that you should continue to do?
- How can you address the obstacles blocking you?
Carry out this new strategy. Review it a few months from now to measure its effectiveness. If you get limited results, it just means that your strategy is not on point. Repeat steps 1-3 to work out a new strategy. Keep changing it until you reach your goal.
As long as you keep reviewing your actions, stick to the most effective methods, and experiment with new approaches, you will eventually reach your goal. 🙂