Lesson 15

Lesson 15: BHFM and The Stoic Advisor

Weekly Habits for Success - Daily Task to The Habits for Success

“The archer must know what he is seeking to hit; then he must aim and control the weapon by his skill. Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” —Seneca

One of the great philosophers who doesn’t get mentioned enough is Chrysippius. Chrysippius was the head of the Stoic school after succeeding his teacher, Cleanthes. Interestingly, Chrysippius was known to make it a point to write at least 500 lines per day.

Think about that for a moment. Try writing 500 lines with your computer, let alone having to do it with the rudimentary writing devices of those days. Centuries later, Cicero was inspired by Chryssipius and did the same.

But did you know that Chrysippius was also a trained long-distance runner? Imagine for a moment heading an entire school of philosophy while also being obsessed with running. Anyone who knows a runner obsessed with running knows that they keep their times and record them carefully. Yet, Chrysippius still found time to write 500 lines per day.

So if you didn’t start the task and new habit of finding something fun to do or learn yet, we want you to start it today. If you’re having trouble with a nebulous goal like “learning to play the piano”, simplify it. Instead of saying I want to learn to play the piano, say, “I want to learn to play my favorite song on the piano” (unless your favorite song is “Flight of the Bumble Bee”, then you may want to learn your second favorite song).

This is important for any of the “Habits of Success” that we’ve given you so far. You may be struggling, or even ignoring some (or all of them). Now is the time to change that.

If that’s the case, today’s task is to go back and start over with this process, but to make it easier. Set specific goals that you are going to strive towards. Some examples are:

  • I am going to go to a foreign country and not speak English the entire time I’m there.
  • I am going to read four books on “___________” topic (whatever subject you want) and annotate them.
  • I am not going to eat any meals this week that I don’t prepare myself during my Sunday meal prep time.

For each goal, outline specific steps you will need to complete, including mini-milestones, in order to achieve your objective.

Dr. Melissa Weinberg explains that goal setting is one of the most powerful tactics for success. But setting goals is not enough. You need to think of more than just the end goal - you need to think of and outline all the steps in between… the specifics steps you need to take to achieve your goal! Dr. Weinberg suggests writing out the following items:

  1. State your goal in a sentence – i.e. “My goal is to…”
  2. Identify the actions that define your goal – i.e. ”The actions that define my goal are…”
  3. Imagine you have achieved your goal. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What are you doing?
  4. Identify the barriers you may encounter in achieving your goal – what could get in the way?
  5. Make a deal with yourself – acknowledge what you’re willing to sacrifice, and what you’re not willing to sacrifice.
  6. Make a plan – list the steps you need to take to achieve your goal.
  7. Acknowledge success – how will you know if you’ve achieved your goal?

When you have all of this written down, we recommend that you share this goal with your coach/mentor/tutor and with your accountability partner and continue to discuss your progress with these individuals on a regular basis. Share your successes as well as your failures.

But the bottom line is that you need to write it out and commit to it. Always see the end goal before you start on the specific task of the day, the step you need to take that day to move you closer to your end goal. Then, once you start that specific task, focus on nothing else during the time you’ve allotted towards working on that goal.

When you are successful, congratulate yourself! When you fall short, forgive yourself and begin again.

No matter what obstacles you run into, you know you will succeed, you believe it right down to the core of your body. When that happens, you see the obstacles for what they really are: THE WAY.

NEW HABIT: Honestly assess your progress in this journey and go back to pick up a new habit or tasks that you may have neglected.

NEW TASK: Obviously, perform the task embedded in the new habit above. But also talk to your accountability partner about your new fun tasks that you are going to undertake. Discuss what steps you are taking or will take to move towards that goal. If you are stuck with this, feel free to reach out to your BHFM consultant to help give you some insight.