Want to hear a conversation I’ve had a few dozen times?
Here it is:
Friend: I’m going to get in shape.
Me: That’s awesome! How are you going to do it?
Friend: I’m going to run.
Me: Do you like running?
Friend: No, I hate it.
Why do people who hate running, run? Because they think they have to.
There’s a general belief in our culture that for a goal to count, it must be miserable.
Ask someone what they think of when they hear the word “goal” and they say things like, “Grind, persistence, will power, discipline, etc.”
Those are great words, I am a fan of all of them, but they’re not fun.
Not even a little bit.
Why does fun matter? Well, I studied the role of fun in high performance with a researcher from a local university. What we found was staggering.
For the full results, read chapter 4 of my new book “Finish,” but I’ll give you the summary.
Not just a little, a lot.
Which brings us to today.
How to you make sure your goals are fun and actually work?
You become a casino. Obviously.
What do we know about casinos other than that they have mile-long buffets?
The house always wins.
The odds are always stacked in their favor.
Winning is not hard for a casino.
They don’t make it difficult to hit their goals. They make it stupid easy actually. They remove the windows so you can’t tell what time of day it is. They keep the free drinks coming to lower your inhibitions. They use crazy patterns on the carpet so you don’t notice stains, keeping you as comfortable as possible. They remove the clocks so you don’t know how long you’ve been gambling. They make the layout a maze so it’s hard to find your way out.
They stack the odds in dozens of ways.
And so do I.
I might not ever open a garish casino in Vegas, but you better believe I’m trying to be the house in my own life. You better believe I stack the odds.
How? Here are a few ways:
1. I eat the same breakfast every morning. I don’t mess with trying to figure out what to eat. I discovered a healthy meal that I love and then I hit “repeat.”
2. I bought a road bike instead of a mountain bike. Why? Because it’s a lot easier to walk out my front door to ride than it is to load the rack, put my bike on, drive to a trail, unload the bike, etc.
3. I read multiple books at the same time because if I’m only reading one business book, at night I’m not going to want to read that in bed. I always have some fiction going. I essentially have a book for every type of moment.
4. I leave my phone in the kitchen at night because otherwise I’ll stay awake staring at it when I go to bed.
5. I hide my email app on the second page of my phone deep inside a folder because I tend to automatically go to it when I barely touch my phone.
Are some of those weird? Maybe, but they work for me.
I’m the casino. The house always wins.
Quit making your goals so difficult.
Quit being a jerk to yourself.
Quit thinking something has to be difficult for it to count.
Goals can be fun.