I Will vs To-Do

To-do lists are great, don’t get me wrong. It is a useful idea to write down tasks that need to be done in your life and prioritize your time to help you get them done…but there is something better.

I WILL workout every day this week. I WILL read every night. I WILL write a blog post this week.

I’m going to try to workout every day this week. I’m going to read every night. To-do list: write a blog post this week.

Those are all good, but less effective than setting the goal and saying “I will workout every day this week.” It is active, it is a self-promise and there is nothing left up to chance and personal will power (which we drastically over-estimate). I will workout every day this week means that regardless of what happens in a given day and no matter the excuses that pop up in front of me to keep me from working out, I won’t lie to myself and fail to workout.

Of course this is much more effective with a group or partner with whom you can say it out loud. You don’t have to have someone guilt you or watch your every move to make sure you get done what you said you would get done. The act of telling someone else that you will do something enhances the likelihood that you will hold yourself to that standard.

That’s something we have to teach the incoming freshmen on our team when we do weekly goals every Monday. Write and speak aloud, with a partner and in front of the team, a personal goal and a basketball goal. Inevitably, our freshmen will say “My personal goal is to finish my history essay by Thursday” or “my basketball goal is to be more vocal and talk more to my teammates.’’ Nope.

If it’s a goal, you’re not truly taking ownership and action to make it a reality. However, if you say that you will do something, then you will not let yourself down (or your partner and your team for that matter); you put that objective that you will get done into the open and out of your head and you can’t take that back. Don’t let yourself down, don’t make excuses, and don’t find a way to get out of your self-promise.

I will workout every day this week. That was my goal this week and it would have been easy to use the crick in my neck or the fact that my workday went longer than I planned as excuses to not work out. But my goal was not to workout every this week. It was “I will workout every day this week.”

I’m done harping on to-do lists but hopefully this helps someone reorient their objectives to be more effective in achieving their goals. Thanks for reading.

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Basketball Coach. Youngest of Five. Writer when I feel up to it.

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Shane Loeffler

Shane Loeffler

Basketball Coach. Youngest of Five. Writer when I feel up to it.

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