Why Sometimes It’s Worth It To Go 60%
A simple, and yet unconventional way of establishing powerful and good habits for life.
When we set on establishing habits, many of us are quick to put everything into high gear.
If we’re trying to lose weight, we tell ourselves to work out every single day.
To grow a successful business, we need to dedicate several hours a week.
To be the best in our industry, we need to be constantly consuming content revolving around that industry.
It’s easy for us to get into that headspace that we need to go extreme or else we won’t make it. But I know someone who sings a different tune. Someone that goes against that ideology, and has achieved a massive amount of success.
His name is Sean Plott and he’s a Youtuber and Twitch streamer. Known more for his channel name and business — Day9 TV — he was nominated for the Shorty Award for Best in Gaming, has appeared in multiple tournaments as an announcer and is known for his positive attitude.
He’s even got two cats — Sheriff and Despy — and they are adorable.
But one of the things that Sean does a lot as a streamer is talk about his personal life. Not too much into detail but he often talks about his thought process and certain tricks that he does.
For this year he’s trying something different, which I think can actually work:
It’s the simple idea of only going 60% into something.
Here is why it can work so well.
We Use Similar Tactics When 100% Completing A Goal
Establishing great habits boils down to us achieving a goal in our lives. This goal is significant to us and is something we need to personally invest in. But often times we find it difficult to push through the last stretch of a goal and actually achieve it.
All the same, it can be difficult for us to continue the habit that we want when we’re so close to making big progress. We can suddenly feel overwhelmed or forget that one time and then never pick the habit back up.
But one of the quick fixes for when that happens is to think in small steps. Better yet to establish the habit in a series of small steps that you’d do day by day.
So how is that actually different from starting out at 60%?
It’s not really.
Habits at their core are developed purely by how often we commit and do them. Making the process as easy as possible makes it easier for us to commit and perform the habit. All the same, the harder things get, the more anxious we could get and create excuses.
By purposely starting out with less effort, we are lowering our expectations for what we want. While it doesn’t make sense on the surface, on a mental level it does.
We all want to achieve great things, but when we set a goal that we’re really passionate about, we have a tendency to put all of our energy into it. We look at the trees as opposed to the entire forest and over time we can find ourselves lost.
By lowering your standards you’re telling your brain to work at a lesser capacity and that can be enough for your brain to bite and let you try it out.
We See Where We’re Going
Going back to focusing, it’s easy for us to invest everything into it in order to do that. At the beginning of a goal as well as a habit, we are in high motivation.
Much like with all those new years resolutions, we set them around a time where our emotions are particularly positive. We’re around people we love to be around and are having a great time. It’s a perfect setting to set some goals and kick off the new year.
But many resolutions often fizzle out and habits do too when our motivation to develop them begins to dry up.
So we find little tactics to help us focus. Thinking in small steps is one of those tactics. But there are many others like setting alarms, managing our time, avoid procrastination and many others.
But it’s those very tactics that can put us in a state of intense focus for prolonged periods of time. That depends on how you’ve set up your schedule, your goals, and how much time you want to dedicate to developing a habit.
And while focus is good, who’s to say that you’ll devote half of your day to developing a habit?
And that can be dangerous when you’re first starting. Again, your brain will come up with many things as an excuse to avoid something. Forcing your brain and yourself to dedicate several hours while you lack the capacity to do so can send your brain into a shock.
Another way you can look at it is in the form of your time.
Everything we do has an opportunity cost to it. By focusing on one thing, we’re neglecting something else. Many of those costs are small and go unnoticed, but some can add up dramatically.
You spent too much time working that you missed your kid’s game or was late to date night.
You spend too much time organizing activities and being a great community member that you lack the time to help yourself and grow yourself,
The list of scenarios is endless.
With this tactic, the idea isn’t that you’re focusing less, but that the amount of time you are focusing on the task is less.
It’s akin to the Pomodoro technique. It’s the idea you’re focusing 20 minutes of your time doing something before spending 10 minutes on mindless tasks.
By working at 60%, you’re able to focus and get the work done, but on a smaller scale. This allows you to shift focus on other things and have plenty of time to do so.
You’re Establishing A Firmer Foundation
But the biggest key here is that this tactic is fundamentally easier to develop consistency. All throughout this article, I’ve been stressing how much easier things are when you’re less invested in something.
This doesn’t mean a lack of interest or that you’re leaving things incomplete, but rather you’re ingraining in your brain a pattern.
And patterns are obviously part of developing habits.
So the easier the pattern is to follow, both physically and mentally, the easier it’ll be to perform the habit.
And if we purposely lowering the difficulty, it’ll be comfortable for ourselves to accept it and build the foundation.
And it’s going to be more solid. After all, you’re not getting in your head that you need to go all out. Instead, you’re focusing on dedicating a little of your time to it. Enough that you’re ingraining a pattern.
And from that pattern, you can begin to upgrade it once you’ve achieved consistency.
That’s the real challenge with habits: consistency. We can break our habits down into small steps, find multiple reasons and sources to keep us motivated. But at the end of the day, none of that matters.
What does matter is our ability and capacity to stay consistent with various activities. So finding tactics and mental tricks to make being consistent easier will ensure that we have a stronger foundation to start habits and develop them into life long habits.