Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Building Habits That Guarantee Success

An attitude that gets many of us into trouble is the need to be in charge. If we set ourselves a goal that we’re motivated to reach, we’ll do anything we can to reach that goal. 

But what do we do if we recognise that we couldn’t even reach that goal if we tried?

Workaholics might say to work harder. Clever people might say to set more realistic goals.

But let’s suppose that the goals are realistic. And that even the type who starts their day at 1 AM, shaves with a machete, and showers in liquid nitrogen is too fatigued to reach their gettable goals.

What then?

Build a fool-proof system that’s guaranteed to get you to where you want to be.

I’m a big fan of the 7/10 method. Which is similar to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘flow state’ theory.

And it applies to anything that you need to plug away at for long stretches of your life. Whether that’s learning a language, writing a book, lifting weights, or playing an instrument.

The 7/10 method follows one rule and it’s dead simple: your goal is to put in 7/10 effort into the activity of your choice, every day.

That way you’re never beating up your body. And since you don’t go into overdrive, you can do it all again tomorrow without feeling worn out.

And that’s the key.

By doing less than you’re capable of you gain the ability to be consistent. And that gets you greater results than people who go hard every day. At least, in the long term.

Despite its simplicity, the 7/10 method will challenge you in two different ways.

Firstly, it demands a lot of self-awareness to recognise what a 7/10 feels like. Especially when you consider that your mood and energy levels change on a daily basis.

That’s why you don’t want to focus too much on your daily results.

Instead, focus on how it feels to do the task.

Straining is too much. Resting is too little. Engaged is just right.

The next big challenge is refusing to make up for lost time. There will be days, perhaps even weeks or months, where you consistently perform worse than you know you’re capable of.

In these times, it’s incredibly seductive to put in a little more effort to compensate for your poor performance. But that’s a trap. Once you start to put in extra power, you’re tapping into your reserves for the next day and making tomorrow’s performance even worse.

There’s a time and a place for intensity. But they are few and far between if you’re doing something that you want to do for years to come.

As the master expert on habit development, James Clear, says, “You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.” 

Without a robust system, even the most simple goals become hard to achieve. Either because you do too little and become disgruntled with your progress, or because you burn out and can’t continue.

P.S. Watch the pound-for-pound best grappler the world of mixed martial arts has ever seen say pretty much the same thing as I did above. Just in a far cooler way. 

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach