Thursday, December 17, 2009

The 1,000 Hour Challenge

I have always been a goal-setter. I can’t recall a time past my earliest formative years when I wasn’t aiming to stretch myself in one or even several areas of my life. I would, however, so love a smile for every time I failed; for instance, the times when I battled laziness to get out of bed early in the morning to exercise when I was in my teens.

And if I consider all my failed goals I have to be fair on myself and consider my successes too; and there have been many. I would even suggest that most of the visible, tangible carnally-based personal-growth goals I’ve achieved already—but one quite battle remained, until recently.

I’ve battled for all my adult life to regulate my eating to one of a consistently disciplined nature. I’ve managed to eat well and exercise self-control ninety percent of the time but then I’d have my blowouts, where at times I’d gouge and graze for a day or two, generally on weekends.

This issue I’ve considered for a long time to be the final frontier as far as the carnal desires are concerned. I’d previously tried probably one hundred times (or maybe more) to gain control over this aspect of my life, all to fail, until now.

This is what I did:

è Thinking that I needed such a powerful focus on this goal I planned my next 1,000 hours from 7am on a Monday morning. I created myself pocket-sized scoring sheet with bunches of five hours clumped together; there were ten bunches of five hours in each line (fifty hours in each line) and twenty lines.

è I diligently set about tracking each five-hour instalment on my way to success, and even counted my percent-complete measure, celebrating as the tally of hours and the percentage rose.

è I set myself some reasonable and basic rules including some lunch fasting, the need to have full breakfasts, eat fruit and veg and to exercise each day. I sought to achieve a semi-hungry feel and maintain it daily. I was also vigilant about going onto mental auto-pilot.

è Then I focused on process, process and more process; forgetting the outcome I sought.

I then found I learned the following things during the process:

1. My goal-oriented thinking soon flipped 180 degrees. I started to really savour every part of the process. I didn’t loath the journey like I had previously. I didn’t pine to complete it so I could get back to my old ways. In my thoughts those old ways were now history—a significant part of my past. Yes, past.

2. I considered every 0.1 percent toward the goal as significant milestones. Recalling we sleep for hours each 24-hour day, some hours were incredibly easy. For each hour ahead of me there was the open and clean possibility that I would react and respond perfectly, winning that present battle. Achieving momentary perfection to the goals we set ourselves is so very affirming.

3. The most important lesson I learned was if we really want to achieve something we must keep it front of mind. It must become the most important thing in our conscious thought pattern.

4. At every other goal juncture I’ve found the hardest part is maintaining the hard-fought ground won already i.e. staying focused and on track without compromising the goal longer term. The way I sought to manage this was by adding a second thousand hours, and then a third. So, what I would end up with was a solid 123-day consistent track record habit. That’s four months of doing the same thing day in, day out, every hour consistently.

The achievement of all our goals is really quite a simple process. The word “process” is operative; it’s fundamental. This method worked for me because my mind’s always been math-oriented. It might also work for you.

Whatever we do we must never give up on our dreams and goals. One hundred failures may precede the eventual crowing success. Your moment of victory!

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

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