The Packed Gym of Failure


For every goal that anyone has ever had, there’s a packed gym of people ready to achieve a similar goal at the beginning of the year. Very quickly, many of them drop out and quit, with no chance to achieve what they had initially set out to do. Are you one of the people just crowding up the gym, or are you still showing up, taking the daily action that will lead to the accomplishment of your goal?

Why do people quit on their goals?

There’s only a few reasons why someone will not hit their goal.

They either quit way too soon, usually because they don’t see results overnight.

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They don’t have a plan how to achieve the goal.

Or, they don’t actually want the goal they initially set. It’s not something that will improve their life in a way that’s meaningful for them.

Often it’s a combination.

The majority of the time people fall into the ‘quit because they didn’t see instant results’ category.

Have you ever been in the gym after new years?

It’s packed. Everyone is in there because they set a new years goal to get in shape.

It’s probably the most popular goal there is.

If you go to the gym in early January, chances are you’re going to have to wait for certain equipment, because a bunch of new years resolutioners are in there, using up space for the first few weeks.

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Go to the gym in February, and you’ll have plenty of room, and no wait times.

Why is this?

Well, it’s a lot easier to accomplish talking about a goal, than to actually take the action necessary to achieve the goal.

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It feels good to tell everyone about your new years goals. You almost feel a sense of accomplishment just talking about them. It feels great. It feels less good to have to put in the daily effort that it would take to reach them.

January 1st or 2nd, working towards that goal is easy. You’re excited. You’re motivated. You can taste the end result already.

The 2nd or 3rd week of January, taking the actions on a daily basis that are necessary to achieve the goal seem a lot less appealing. Making excuses as to why you need a day off, or why it’s not that important to you anymore creep up. By the end of the month you’re probably taking such little action towards your goal that there’s no progress being made. By February most people have trouble remembering what their goals even were.

So, great, what does the fact that almost everyone is a quitter have to do with you? Well.. a lot.

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures” – F.M. Alexander

Everyone from me to you deals with the same decisions on a daily basis. Chances are you don’t follow through. There’s been plenty of years where I had a goal, and fast forward later in the year there’s no way I could have even told you what my goal was. I didn’t remember, because I didn’t take action on it for a long enough time period to become a habit, and since it didn’t become a habit, it basically gets forgotten altogether.

Been there. Anyone who says they haven’t is probably lying.

We have the opportunity on a daily basis to decide to do what no one else is willing to do, to get results no one else is going to get.

The interesting thing is, most goals are relatively easy to reach. If you want to achieve your goal it’s just one small action, repeated many, many times.

“If you are what you repeatedly do, then achievement isn’t an action you take but a habit you forge into your life. You don’t have to seek out success. Harness the power of selected discipline to build the right habit, and extraordinary results will find you.” – The One Thing

Anyone can repeat an action for a few days, or a few weeks. That’s easy. The decision to keep repeating that action over and over, when faced with easier alternatives in the short term… That’s what makes successes. Most people will choose the easier alternative: the excuse.

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Excuses will come easy, so every day you’ll have a decision to choose the excuse, or the action that leads to success.

Whatever goal you set, you’re going to start out with a packed gym of people with the same goal.

I don’t just mean for fitness goals, I mean for any goal.

Maybe your goal is to start a blog, or a podcast, or to travel the world, or get your first 10 customers. Whatever your goal is, envision a packed gym of people with that same goal.

Every day you keep showing up with action steps towards your goal instead of excuses, you get that much closer to your goal. The competition you face becomes less and less relevant as you string together day after day of dedicated action towards your goal.

A month or two later, the gym of whatever goal you’re aiming for will be less crowded. Maybe your competition is just not showing up as often. Some of them will have already cancelled their membership altogether.

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You might feel like you have such a long road to go. You may just have a small number of sales, but no where near your goal. The thing is, as each one of your competitors checks out on attaining the goal you both shared, you get that much closer. There’s less competition, so more people will find your product or service. You’ll gain traction that people who don’t stick it out will never see, because results won’t compound on their inconsistent efforts, but yours will.

Whenever your competitors drop out, all that means is there are a higher number of people likely to find you, assuming you don’t quit like everyone else does. If we pretend there was $10m in a market, and the average competitor did $100k in sales, over time most will drop out either due to not having success quickly enough, not wanting to be in that business, or because they don’t know how to gain more customers. Those who remain, reap the benefits of everything the competitors who quit left behind. The people who were looking for that product or service still remain, the only thing that doesn’t is as much competition. Even though the average competitor who quits will probably have less revenues than the ones who don’t quit, which is part of the reason why they’re quitting, over time there will still be a significant benefit if you’re one of the few who push through and don’t quit like most of your competition will. In the theoretical example below, the companies who stick it out initially have just $300k in revenue, but after all the quitters quit, over time they gobble up all the revenue of the much smaller competitors and average $1m. The money has to go somewhere, it doesn’t just disappear if people are looking for a certain product or service. Again, the competitors often disappear, the customers don’t. You’ve obviously got to know what it takes to create a profitable business, but a lot of your success will just be in not quitting like everyone else does.

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Even if you’re not even monetizing yet and just trying to build a platform, it works the same way. Have a blog or podcast or app that you want to grow? Great. Do it for a limited time like everyone else and you’ll get what they all get- limited time results. If instead you continue delivering value to your audience over time as everyone else quits, you’ll reap the rewards of the audience they left behind coming to you instead.

 

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The downloads or traffic don’t disappear from the niche, they just get redistributed to the people that didn’t quit and continued offering value for what people were looking for.
I get it… in the beginning you’ll feel like you’re no where close. But again, stringing those days together of the actions that guarantee progress towards your goal, will start compounding. It’ll get easier and easier, not just because your competition keeps dropping out, but because the action you’re taking on a daily basis towards your goal will start compounding. It may take a month, or 3 months, or it may take a year… but every day that you are faced with the decision to take action towards your goal or choose an excuse, just understand that each excuse day = one more day you fall behind, and each excuse day makes it that much harder to create a habit.
Super-successful people aren’t superhuman at all; they’ve just used selected discipline to develop a few significant habits. One at a time. Over time.”- The One Thing

Whatever your goal is, there’s a gym packed with people who want the same thing you do. The only person that’s going to get results, is the person that shows up every day, even on days they don’t want to.

What’s your packed gym?

Are you one of the people just crowding it up for the first few weeks, or are you actually going to do what’s necessary to still be in there at the end of the year, with the results that you told yourself you’d get at the beginning.

Did you take the action necessary today, to get you a little closer to your goal? Or did you find an excuse why you couldn’t do it today?

If you’re a writer, did you write today? If you’re a podcaster, did you record today? If you’re an entrepreneur, did you take action today that will move your business forward? If you’ve got fitness goals, did you show up in the gym today and eat healthy?

I can remember when I first started pursuing some fitness goals. Almost everyone in the gym looked better than me. I’d go to the gym around the same time and see a lot of the same guys almost every day. No wonder many of them were ripped. Pretty easy formula- the guys I saw every day were always the ripped ones. The guys who came occasionally always kind of looked average. Then, because I kept a ‘no excuses’ routine, I slowly surpassed even the ripped guys who were in phenomenally better shape than I was at the beginning of the year. Why? Well, occasionally they’d skip a week or two, or their diet was off for a bit. I just didn’t miss days. That was literally the only difference. They’d go backwards for a bit here or there, and I never did, so my results kept compounding.

There’s a packed gym of failure in every industry, for every goal out there.

 

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Are you taking the action steps on a daily basis that get you to your end goal, or are you so busy finding excuses that you won’t even remember what gym you signed up for?

No one but you will know if you short cut yourself. However, the results you and everyone else sees, cannot be hidden. Results are not a byproduct of luck, but on having a daily decision of action vs. excuse, choosing the right one, and choosing it consistently.

Don’t just take up space.

Whatever your goal is, imagine a packed gym of people with the same goal. To have any success you need to show up. A lot of standing out as a success is due to continuing to show up, when most others won’t. You want success? Just be the last person to still be showing up everyday.

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21 Responses to “The Packed Gym of Failure”


  1. Luis Arocho

    I’m glad I got a chance to read this thank you

    Reply
  2. Ruth

    Hi Billy,
    Thanks for this timely post.
    I totally agree with you. At the beginning of the year, everyone is so pumped up but as the reality of the work involved slowly bears down, people soft pedal.
    Thanks for getting me started last year. Missed seeing your emails.
    Looking forward to building my work muscle with doing ONE thing consistently.
    Off to share this now.
    Have a great week ahead.

    Reply
  3. Billy

    Expect a lot more emails – there will be a lot being published this quarter 🙂

    Crush it Ruth

    Reply
  4. Monaica

    Billy,

    Great article – as usual! Lots I relate to…I’m actually going to sit down and inventory missed achievement and look at lack of action or time commitment (stamina). It’s always good to see it in black and white.

    But how can we take EV and attribute it to the RIGHT kind of actions? You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result…we all know this, but how to assess if what you’re doing is the right action, highest impact, value, yielding the greatest return?

    Some are obvious. If I’m doing admin work, this isn’t a good use of my time. But what about the actions that aren’t as clear?

    Would love to hear your thoughts!

    Reply
    • Billy

      If attempting to calculate the EV of all your activities it’s an endeavor that takes a dedicated time investment and true understanding of EV. I did it for a friend and it took 20+ hours and 8-9k words to break it down.

      Reply
  5. Neville

    Ummm my goal is to be able to make awesome post images like you.

    Reply
  6. Matt Oliphant

    Dude great write up! The quotes in it were on point. The One Thing is a great book! Thanks Billy!

    Reply
  7. Jesus Valenz

    This is my first time reading some of your thoughts and I found them very motivating and positive, I really enjoyed it so Thank you for the positive words and motivation I will recommend this to others. Now time to Hit the Gym since Feb Is just a week away lol

    Reply
  8. Sam

    Brilliant Billy,

    Keep on turning up! Hit my first goal this year and getting close to my second!

    Sam

    Reply
    • Billy

      Just make sure the goals are big enough to stretch you. Once achieved, you want them to be big enough to have a life changing effect for you. Attainable, but stretching.

      Reply
  9. Chase

    This is a very timely post for me, and I’m sure for many others.

    I really love the breakdown of how those who stick with it eventually get to share in the spoils of those who quit.

    Looking forward to more great posts!

    Reply
  10. Jonathan

    The packed gym metaphor was perfect. I also like the reminder that we can always create an excuse to help us NOT take action. I’m as guilty of that as the next person. But making small progress each day is the key to success over the long term.

    Reply
  11. Ralph

    Another example is programming or even writing. Very few people can complete a great work in a day. Most people can’t write or program something simple in a day. But, if every day you write or code or plan or research the project after a while you’ll have pages upon pages of programming code or written material. I like the program, because a program has a purpose, and eventually the program will perform its purpose. Say help with your retirement planning or organize your recipes. So the program can perform a duty that you couldn’t perform by yourself or save time in performing that duty that maybe you could actually do by hand. But a great program doesn’t complete itself. However, attacking it on a regular basis will eventually produce a great product.

    Reply
  12. Ralph

    The problem with New Years resolutions is that if it was important to you, you wouldn’t wait till New Years to begin to attack it. Since you can wait till New Year Day to start. It can’t be that important. That means that while the goal may be nice to have. The thing the goal deny’s you is actually either more desirable or more important to you. Hence, the goal or resolution is doomed to fail.

    Reply
    • Kelly

      Such a good point. I often think about how important it is that we be realistic in our goal setting.

      Reply

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