This was written by Jen Waak, who pens a monthly health column for The Solopreneur Life.
We are two weeks into January. How are those New Year’s resolutions going?
If you are like most of my clients, you may be realizing that you were a bit overzealous and be in need of a course correction. I don’t think of it as failure, as you only ever fail if you give up.
You aren’t giving up. Let me repeat—you aren’t giving up. You are making a slight course correction in order to be successful.
There are a million ways of making a change, but being successful in the long-term typically boils down to one thing—building it in to your lifestyle so that it becomes the new habit. And, the best way to do that is to do it slowly, because as my friend Leah says, “anyone can diet for a day.”
As a successful and motivated solopreneur, you likely have a ton of course correction strategies at your fingertips. But, there is no such thing as too many tools in the toolbox, so I’m going to share one of my personal favorites in case it resonates with you.
The 4-Day-Win Process
Developed by Martha Beck, author of the book by the same name, the “4-Day Win” is a laugh-out-loud-funny book that is a practical, step-by-step guide to change. While the book is diet-based, the methodology remains is the same regardless of the course correction necessary.
The 4-Day-Win process works like this:
Step 1: Pick a Goal
Identify the New Year’s Resolution that needs a course-correction.
Step 2: Play Halvsies Until Your Goal is Ridiculously Easy to Attain
This step is critical. If your thought process is, “sure, I can do that,” but in reality, you feel even the LEAST BIT squeamish about it, then it’s not small enough it. Ridiculously easy is the key here. Make it small enough so if you were to make it any smaller, you’d just feel foolish. THAT is what you goal needs to be (just for the next four days).
Step 3: Identify a Reward
Each day you meet your ridiculously easy goal you will give yourself a small reward. Make the reward small, because you are going to do this every day. Maybe this means you get 10 minutes to surf your favorite pop/celeb site, put aside money for a course, or 30 minutes to read a good book. Make it small but meaningful.
Step 4: Identify a 4-Day Reward
This is a slightly larger reward for hitting your goal for four consecutive days. Maybe it’s a full hour of reading, lunch out with an old friend, or a special outing to your favorite—but rarely visited—coffee shop. Again, the reward has to be what is important to you!
Step 5: Make Sure the Action and the Reward are Linked
What this means is that if you do the action, you HAVE to give yourself the reward. If you don’t do the action, you CAN’T give yourself the reward.
So, what do you do if you still aren’t able to take that action and make any headway on that goal? You know the answer. You continue to play halvsies until you nail it!
Apply the 4-Day Win Elsewhere
Once the initial 4-day period is over, you are just that much closer to making your larger goal a reality. The next 4-day period, make the goal slightly larger. It still needs to be ridiculously easy, but if your original goal was 5 minutes of exercise, maybe 7 minutes is doable now. Lather, rinse, repeat until you have met the original goal and it’s no longer a struggle to maintain.
You can then use the 4-day-win process to tackle the next challenge!
In the comments below, tell me, what New Year’s resolution are you going to course-correct?