When you think about cheating, you probably immediately think of illicit text messages, dark hotel rooms, secrets, and lies. But whether or not you’ve ever cheated on your partner, chances are you’ve cheated at some point in your life. Perhaps you’ve cheated on a test in high school, cheated on an application or resume, or most commonly, cheated on yourself and your goals.
Did you know that 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February? We’re already nearing the end of January. Where are you at with your New Year’s Resolutions? Have you cheated on yourself yet? It’s just a mental game; are you prepared to win? Are you so laser focused on your goals and your big why that cheating is just not an option?
Cheating is never a mistake. Cheating is always a choice.
I used to be a cheater (No! Not that kind!). But I would cheat on my future and on my goals. I would negotiate away my integrity with a simple push of the snooze button or by allowing one cheat meal to turn into a cheat week of eating. I was only hurting myself and my chances for success. In fact, success started rolling in bigger and faster when I said NO MORE and started to retrain my brain to be impeccable with its word. I did not commit to things that I knew I wouldn’t do; and once I committed to something, there was no stopping me. I was not going to cheat on myself.
I like this definition of cheat in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: to deprive of something valuable by the use of deceit or fraud.
Isn’t that exactly what you are doing when you don’t keep your word to yourself? You are depriving yourself (and your family and the world at large) of something valuable! Think about this for a second, when you commit to taking your family on an all-inclusive, exclusive, fast-pass vacation to Disney World, then you’ve got to step up your game and meet your financial goals in order to make that happen. Are you going to cheat yourself and your family on this? Are you going to negotiate away your goal so that before you know it, you’re spending a day at Santa’s Village instead? I certainly hope not!
Here’s another example. Let’s say you have committed to getting 1 new client appointment a day, for a total of 5 per week (which, by the way, was my goal when I first started in real estate). If you know your conversation rates, then that means you may need to make 20 contacts or 100 contacts a day to make that happen. Okay, that’s a great start – know your numbers! So, when you go to make your first call, a voice pops into your head that says, “Hey… why don’t you just jump on Facebook for a second to see how many likes you got from that motivational quote you posted.” Instantly, you’ve just negotiated your way out of doing what you committed to doing – what you know you need to do to hit your goals! Why!? Because you’ve allowed cheating to become a habit.
Cheating (and not-cheating) is simply a habit. Cheating is letting yourself say no to workouts or eating healthy or to anything that is pushing you closer to your goals. When you do this over and over again, when you let cheating become a habit, it becomes part of the fabric of who you are.
But the good news is, cheating is a habit – you created it, so you can break it! This is pure mental fitness, man. When those damn good procrastinating, master negotiating, goal crushing voices start talking to you beware! We tend to want to cheat on the same things over and over, the things that are hard and that we want to put off. Don’t. You can do hard things. Don’t even engage with yourself in a conversation about cheating on your goals. Every time you push that voice away and proceed with the end in mind, you win. And you build the mental fitness muscle that will eventually lead to habits, which eventually leads to reweaving the fabric of who you are.
If you can’t even count on your word to yourself, who will be able to count on you? Yes, I know no one is perfect and shit happens, but you know the difference between getting stuck in traffic because of an accident and missing your appointment with your personal trainer (an appointment you will quickly reschedule) and getting “stuck” in conversation over coffee in the break room and missing your appointment with your personal trainer (an appointment you will never reschedule). You control whether or not you cheat on the commitments you’ve made to yourself and others.
Bottom line: Don’t cheat. The only person you’re cheating is yourself.