Why Less Choice Will Help You Succeed

Have you ever found that when you needed to buy something and were not entirely sure what you wanted, how absolutely exhausting the process is? You have so many questions to answer to qualify what elicits a good purchase. 

Why is that so expensive, is it actually any good? Why is that so cheap, is it bad quality? If this is middle of the range, maybe I will buy the next one up as it might be better quality... and the questions go on and on. 

How many of you have set your goals for this year so far? How was the process for you? Easy? Exhausting? Still not sure what to choose?

I personally have found this time of year a really challenging one, as I am never sure if I have made the right choice. I am really invested in what I have chosen to pursue? Is it realistic for me right now? How many goals should I actually chase?

Last year was the first year where I actually limited myself in choice and actually achieved 2/3 of them. This was a much better effort than previous attempts where I had 5/6 things and achieved none of them. 

This year I have set myself 

  • 1 business goal
  • 1 personal goal
  • 1 health and fitness goal

I have also added one or two bullet points regarding behaviours or activities that I must perform on a consistent basis to improve my chances of success. 

I deliberately reduced my options to 3 separate goals to make sure I stay focused on them and concentrate on the process throughout this year. 

When relating to my health and fitness goal, I used to train 5/6 days a week. I would hit the weights hard and do minimal cardio work. I would often burn out and need one or two weeks off to recover as my motivation to train was gone.

Last year I aimed for 144 sessions in 48/52 weeks of the year. This was roughly gym 3 sessions a week, not including games like dodgeball, 5 a side football or tennis. 

I managed 166 sessions and it was comfortable. 

This year I am aiming for 192 gym sessions in 48/52 weeks. That is roughly 4x a week and will consist of me getting coached 3x a week at W10 performance. I will also give myself the options of 1 session a week of either yoga, a random gym class at one of the "cool kids" places, conditioning at W10 performance or my own self-directed session at W10 performance. 

All I have to do is show up and work with what energy I have on the day. I have deliberately not chosen a performance related goal as motivation and will power comes and goes. By focusing on the process I will yield better results and probably improve performance without relying on how I feel on the day. 

I share this with you as I want to make you more aware of how less really is more when it comes to getting things done. As Leo Babauta pointed out in his book the Power Of Less when we focus on one thing we have an 85% chance of success, two or more things and this falls to 35% and three choices or more things, it drops even further to 10%. 

So this year, try the opposite of what you may usually do, limit yourself to just three goals, and pick the ones that you feel will have the most impact. 

Yours In Health

Patrick Fallis

PS If you are interested, have a watch of this TED talk video on the paradox of choice. It was a real eye-opener for me. 

Founder of Leaner