She called him on his bluff. She had just read the book, “The Art of the Impossible.” She knew about the daily and weekly tasks necessary to accomplish the previously thought impossible. She would challenge him to put his money where his mouth is.
From that book, she said, "Okay, I need from you, every day- 90 to 120 minutes of uninterrupted concentration spend this time on your most important task of our marriage. The one that will produce the biggest victory and leave you feeling like you won your day. While doing this, try to apply one strength you have, but apply it in a new way. While inside of this block, be sure to push yourself during that activity so you’re a little outside your comfort zone and always sitting inside the challenge -skills sweet spot (where you are pushing yourself but not creating the impossible). Challenging yourself repeatedly will help you stretch, not snap. Constantly pushing yourself and your skills will result in an astounding amount of grit and the habit of ferocity. Can’t seem to find 90-120 minutes a day? Think about when you were first courting her, wooing her. How much time did you spend daily and then it dropped off. Think about hearing that you could make the team or get the promotion if you spent a little more time each day practicing and honing your skills. We do what is important to us. We sacrifice. Maybe 120 minutes is not where you start, but 40 minutes daily. If you can’t find 40 minutes daily, I am going to predict it is something that you have chosen to not value. This is about sacrifice, embracing the uncomfortable, not doing the bare minimum. “I would do anything for us,” he had said. Do his words and his actions match?
5 minutes a day for daily gratitude practice. Preferably, think of something that will make you think about us differently. Are you grateful for me and our relationship? The kids? The life we have made or could make? Put yourself in a frame of mind where you appreciate “us.”
20 minutes for mindfulness. Pay attention to your five senses and be mindful of what you are doing. Really be present and look up a mindfulness meditation to practice and master. If you can be in the present, anxiety goes down and life satisfaction goes way up. People tend to enjoy being alive when they practice mindfulness.
25 minutes of reading. Do you want to learn how to do relationships better? Read books by qualified and knowledgeable authors who have done actual research. Try John Gottman and Susan Johnson. Books are the best way to go - aiming for is about 25 pages a day. If you have small kids or have a life that you have goofed up on with how you structured it, 5-10 pages a day is fine. Remember that this is a goal that is important to you.
Make sure you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to put yourself in the best possible mood. Set it up for success.
One day or two a week, if you can, spend between 2 to 6 hours with your highest flow activity ( skiing, dancing, singing, whatever do what you really love to get yourself into flow). The more flow you get, the more flow you get. It helps you focus, feel better and become a better version of you. Always push the challenge -skills sweet spot. Be creative, take risks, seek out novelty, complexity, unpredictability. If you don’t have 6 hours a week to do this, start with 2 hours. If you don’t honestly, honestly have 2 hours a week to dedicate to something that is a passion or increases life satisfaction by this much, please re evaluate how you have chosen to structure your life. Even if you don’t do it for the relationship, two hours a week to have joy in your life is the bare minimum and enjoy being here.
60 minutes, 3 times a week get regular exercise and push yourself during the sessions. exercise is a great way to cross train grit and reset the nervous system.
Aim for exercises that are more cognitively challenging, not a treadmill, instead run outdoors on a trail.
20 to 40 minutes 3 times a week -active recovery sauna, massage, mindfulness, light yoga and so on.
30 to 60 minutes once a week train a weakness.
Train “being your best at your worst” or practice taking risks. You know what you need improvement doing, start there.
30 to 60 minutes, one time a week get feedback on the work you’ve been doing during the 90 to 120 minute periods of uninterrupted concentration. Have a feedback buddy.
That’s 2 hours a week -make time for other people, especially if you’re an introvert. It helps keep us calm and happy and psychologically prepared to attack the challenge -skills Sweet spot. It gives us a place to practice our emotional intelligence skills. Most women in counseling talk about the fact that their man has very few friends and this makes them rely too much on the romantic relationship.
Practice taking safe risks and repeat.
Now get out your calendar/schedule and write them in. Figure out what you will actually do and plan on doing it. Putting it in your schedule helps you commit to doing it. If you cannot do the full effort, work your way toward it. If you feel overwhelmed, that is not the signal to give up, it tells you that you need to chunk it down. Break it down into smaller bite sized pieces.
Be honest with yourself.
Most people at this point are discouraged at the amount of work necessary to do something with excellence. Did they start from a position of mastery and wisdom or did they work their way there? Did they commit to it all at once or did they take on a few at a time and add from there? Did they have a road map and a game plan, which sets them up for success or did they wing it and hope it worked out?
What impossible challenges would you tackle if you knew you could be 500% more productive?
If you could be 600% more creative?
If you could cut learning times in half?
She really pushed him to do what he would do if he were in pursuit of excellence, something important to him, “What you choose to do with this information is entirely up to you. I have just given you a tried and true system to get fantastic results, if you want them. How important did you say this was? “
To end, she said, “Are you shooting for an A on the report card or are you looking at the bare minimum to not have me leave you?”