We believe that understanding the principles of solving big life problems is more important understanding the details. For example, we know we should eat a salad instead of a pizza when trying to drop weight. Weight loss, then, is not a knowledge problem, but a discipline problem in the majority of cases. A discipline problem is hard because its complexity overwhelms us and prevents good decision making. Let's fix that.
1. Quantify to identify an end-goal
2. Estimate to identify smaller, more achievable goals
3. Build a system to stick to those smaller goals
Make the Problem Real
Original Problem Statement: I want to lose weight.
Feedback: A problem should always be quantified — how much and in how long — to make it real.
Problem Structure: I want to lose [X] pounds in [Y] timeframe.
Feedback: To quantify a problem, we need to understand where we stand now and where we'd like or need to be at the end of the process. This is sometimes an objective measure — like a BMI score, for example — or a subjective one, like the amount of weight you think you'd need to lose to look and feel great. Let's stay, for example, we're 15 pounds over a normal BMI. We'd like to get there in 3 months, just in time for summer.
Revised Problem Statement: I want to lose 15 pounds in 3 months.
Break the Problem Down
Goal: Break "15 pounds in 3 months" down to a daily activity.
Estimate: 15 pounds in 3 months is equal to 5 pounds per month, which is equal to just over 1 pound per week. It's estimated that 3500 calorie deficit burns 1 pound of body fat, so our daily goal is a 500 calorie deficit.
Continue Estimating: A mild 15-minute run should net you around 250 calories. A slice of regular-sized pizza saves you around 250 calories. There are a number of different combinations to tackle here.
Daily Goal: Our choice — a mild 30 minute run daily.
Build a System
Building a system that encourages not just action against your daily goal — but habitual success — relies on small goals, moderation, positive reinforcement, and gradual improvement. Learn how to set yours up with full access to our growing library.