99% is Impossible, 100% is a breeze

Nothing is more difficult in life than committing to something 99%. Nothing. Whether it is sticking to an exercise regimen, perfecting the cello, building your network, learning calligraphy, or trying to get a job, committing 99% means you have to be a willpower machine. Of all the variety of exciting temptations that cross your path in a given day, you have to decide to say no to each and every one.

Don’t commit 99%. Do the easy thing. Commit 100%. Decide now that the answer to all of those temptations is NO.

Every single person reading this blog has something that they are only somewhat committed to that they know they need to be totally committed to, with no deviations or exceptions. For me right now, that happens to be diet.

Regular readers of this blog might know that I am working to be a competitive powerlifter. My powerlifting training is going well. I train four times a week and I am getting stronger and consistently lifting heavier and heavier. The only problem (other than the fact that I still need to lift a lot more weight) is that one’s powerlifting score is not just how much weight one lifts. The score is computed using a  measurement called the Wilks Coefficient, which considers how much you, as a person, weigh as well. So if I, weighing 170 pounds, squat 200 and another woman, weighing 150 pounds, also squats 200, she wins.

So I have to drop weight. Unfortunately, dropping weight while strength training is extremely difficult because lifting weights gives you more muscle, which makes you weigh more and losing weight causes you to get weaker and thus unable to lift as heavy as you were before.

So I am using a scientific program to drop the weight in a healthy way. The program is ruthless and precise.

I have to weigh my food for every meal and only eat at specific times so for example, for breakfast this morning, I ate 3 ounces of protein, one small handful of greens, and 7.5 grams of fat. I will eat the same thing 4 hours after I finished my breakfast. Every meal is that precise and I cannot deviate from it at all, not even to have one M&M.

Surprisingly, this diet is so easy because I am 100% committed to it.

When I go to a party and there is a table full of desserts, I walked in having already made the decision not to eat any so there is no willpower or decision making involved at all.

In fact, I went to a music festival last weekend where there was unlimited free beer, I did not have a single drop, and it did not bother me at all. But if I gave myself a cheat day, every time there was non-compliant food around me, I would go crazy. Every drop of that free beer I could have been having would have been torture. I don’t have the willpower to say no a hundred times a day!

My commitment to my diet has no real world impact but as this article points out, look what would happen if certain people committed only 99% in the workplace:

  • Two unsafe landings at O’Hare International Airport each day
  • 16,000 lost pieces of mail per hour
  • 20,000 incorrectly filled drug prescriptions every year
  • 500 incorrect surgical operations performed each week
  • 22,000 checks deducted from the wrong account each hour
  • Your heart failing to beat 32,000 times each year!

What are you not committing to 100%?

Maybe a CDO counselor has been urging you to focus on building a strong network and you know you need to have at least two networking meetings per week? Don’t decide whether to have them. Decide now that just as you are going to breathe air, sleep, and eat every day, so you are going to have your two networking meetings each week. You have made that decision. So if something comes up that conflicts with a meeting, the answer is no.

It doesn’t have to be job search related. (I just needed to work that in there to make this blog post relevant to the job search somehow but you get my point.) Don’t commit 99%. It’s just too hard. Commit 100%. No deviations. No exceptions. No excuses.








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