Through the years we all develop habits, both positive and negative, to cope with what life brings to us. In the past, I used to let my emotions dictate my decisions, which usually lead to a more reactive life.
Does this sound familiar to you?
- I feel sad, so I will eat this cake. All of it.
- I feel lonely so I will have this drink.
- I am feeling lazy, maybe I will skip the gym today.
When you let your feelings dictate your actions you generally don’t do much.
DO THE OPPOSITE.
The "Constanza Effect"
“If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right" Jerry Seinfeld to George Costanza
Switching from an “emotion-driven” life, to a “purpose-driven" life was the key to my success. Rather then basing decisions now HOW I FEEL in the moment, I based them on MY GOALS AND PURPOSE in life.
But change isn’t easy. That’s where George Costanza and the “Costanza Effect” comes in.
STEPS TO BUILDING A PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE
- Find your purpose and your goals in the different areas of your life.
- HEALTH: How do you want to eat, sleep and train?
- BUSINESS/CAREER: Where do you want to be in a year, 2 years, 5 years? What do you need to do to get there?
- PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: How are you going to grow and evolve? What success habits do you have in place?
- FINANCES: Do you have financial clarity? Debts to repay? Do you want to contribute or give to others?
- FAMILY: What are your guiding principles with regards to your family, your significant others and your children?
- What is your MOST IMPORTANT GOAL/MISSION FOR THIS YEAR? What is the one thing you need to do to improve all areas of your life? You can start with JUST ONE, the most important one. For example, if your health is stopping you from living the life of your dreams, this will be the top priority. If you are in financial distress, or your marriage is on the rocks, or you are in a job that you HATE. Decide what is important and WRITE IT DOWN. This step is the most important one. Without clarity and purpose of your goals you will continue to live an EMOTION-DRIVEN LIFE. Only with purpose, goals and clarity will you be able to switch to a PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE.
- FOLLOW THROUGH. This is where the “Costanza effect” takes place. When you come to a time to do something that you don’t “feel” like doing, do the opposite of what you “feel”. For example, you are stressed and you want to eat a whole cake; eating the whole cake would be the emotional driven decision. Then ask yourself this question:
“Would this action (of eating the cake) bring me closer or farther from my goals?”
If the action is not in-line or parallel with your goals then DO THE OPPOSITE. Don’t eat the cake. If you don’t feel like going to the gym but you have set a goal to go 3x a week, you must do the opposite of how you feel, and go.
Eventually the seed will be planted and slowly new habits will form. If you know your goals but your instincts lead you to the opposite direction, then you must do the opposite of how you feel.
When I am feeling down or tired or stressed, my feelings tell me I need sugar, alcohol and to crawl into bed. Those instincts are WRONG. I have learned that when I am stressed or tired I should do the opposite. Eat a healthy meal, avoid alcohol and go to the gym.
The effect is amazing.
I rarely feel better if I follow my instinct. I always feel better when I follow my purpose. And the advantage is that the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Eventually PURPOSE replaces EMOTION and the decision to do the right thing becomes the default. And that is when start to see real progress, real change, and sustained motivation as you slowly turn your life into the life of your dreams.
So if you aren't seeing the results you want, do the opposite. As Elaine says, there is no telling what can happen from this.
"If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you have always got" - Henry Ford