By John Sonmez January 25, 2018

Forcing Yourself To Progress

Living life can be difficult sometimes and we all know that.

There are a LOT of variables that will definitely define how our lives will turn out. Basically, what we do now will have a direct impact on how we will be in the future. One of the things you can do in the process of living your life is forcing yourself to progress.

Wanna know why? Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: 

Hey, what's up? John Sonmez here from simpleprogrammer.com. I just finished my workout here, and I wanted to talk to you about a concept that I utilize to achieve some of my goals that I call forced progress. I'll tell you a little story here. Actually, I've told this story on one of my videos where I was talking about how I ate like a bunch of cookies. I had a little bit of slipups here during the holidays and kind of paid for it. Not doing exactly what I planned. Nothing like horribly bad obviously, I'm hitting all my workouts. I'm still eating really one meal a day, but a couple of slipups and I'm trying to get to my goal. I'm talking about trying to get down to the goal and make sure I want to compete in a physique competition and I want to be around 7% body fat in order to do that. It's been trouble trying to get there and I just feel like I've been stalling out.

Whenever I have a goal like this and I'm stalling on the goal, what I do is I do what's called forced progress. What I do is I create this really big penalty for myself that also acts to move myself towards the goal. If you think about it—what I mean by this is it's basically—I use something that's like a lagging metric and then I use an immediate consequence in order to move it forward.

I'll tell you what I'm doing right now. Every morning—so basically, what I did was I created this rule for myself, okay? What it says is that every morning that I trip on my scale and I know that my scale is not a super accurate measurement of body fat, but I'm using that as my metric. I jumped on my scale and the reading does not say 8% or below of I am going to wake up at 5:45 AM, which is early for me, because I'm usually waking up at about seven, 7:30 and getting to work. I wake up at 5:45 AM and run five extra miles. Not five miles for the day, but five extra miles, so on top of whatever I'm doing.

For example, yesterday morning I woke up at 5:45 AM and then ran five miles, then I did my work and I ran another five miles at like 4:00 and then did Muay Thai kickboxing for another hour and a half. It was a long day. This morning, I ran five miles and then I did my workout, my lifting workout. I did that all this week. What I'm going to do is continue to do that until one of two things is going to happen. This is why this works because what's essentially happening is that I'm making forced progress because just the act of doing that, of running five miles every morning, is burning extra calories so it's making it—so I'm getting closer to that goal, but it's also creating a huge penalty for me because it's not fun waking up that early and doing an extra five miles every single day. It's also giving me motivation to not screw up diet wise and not eat as much. You see what I'm saying?

It's pushing me in two directions. One—hey, what's up? It's pushing me in two directions. One is the pain. The pain of waking up early, of doing that extra cardio, and then the second one is that it's pushing just by doing that, that actual penalty that's causing the pain is also progress because running five miles every day, if you think about it, that's like something probably around 3500 to 4000 extra calories per day—I mean per week that's being burned, so it's leading me towards that goal in both directions.

What's going to happen is the worst that I could do is stall out and be in a lot of pain, but it's going to force me to make progress. If I continue to decide that I'm going to eat a bunch of cookies instead, then I'm just going to continue to wake up at 5:45 every morning and run fucking five miles. Pretty soon I'm going to get sick of that shit and something is going to give. As long as I stick to the plan with the penalty, which is easier to implement because there's no judgment call. It's just a rule, then I'm going to eventually reach that goal. That's why I call forced progression.

I'll give you another example again with weight loss, what I did when I was losing a lot of weight. When I was doing that, when I was dropping down from close to 300 pounds and I went down to like—I actually went down to like 190 at one point. What I did was I said every two weeks I need to lose five pounds on the scale and if I don’t, everytime over the goals I am, I'm going to run that many extra miles per day. Guess how many times I actually had to do that. Zero. That penalty—at that time, I wasn't a big runner either, so that wouldn’t be much of a penalty now, but back then, that was. That's another example of forced progress because in that instance, let's say I did not meet the goal then I will be running miles in addition based on how far I was from that goal.

Anytime in life that you've got—you've got a goal that you're stuck on you're trying to reach, one real good way to do it is to do some kind of forced progress. Let's say that you're trying to write a book and your goal was to write a thousand words a day. Every day that you don't write a thousand words, then if you added something to that like now you’ve got to do 1500 words or you have to, at nighttime—I don’t know, write 500 words at a certain given time where it's a very, very strict rule. Whatever you can come up with where if you fail to meet the goal that there's something that's penalty that moves you towards the goal and causes pain, that causes forced progress and makes it inevitable that you'll eventually reach the goal.

Does that make sense? Is that a good concept? Give me a thumbs-up. Give me a comment below. If you think this is good concept and this is something you're going to apply to your life—in fact, you know what? If you're creative, give me one. Give me one of an example that you're going to do in your life of a forced progress. How are you going to use forced progress in your life?

All right, that's all I got for you today. If you like this video, if you haven't subscribed already, make sure you click that Subscribe button below and click the bell so you don't miss any videos. By the way, another reason why you want to click the bell. Sometimes I do some flash sales. I'm going to start doing that in the channel and you don’t want to miss those when I put like really cool stuff on sale. Not just my own stuff but deals that I get from my friends and what not. I just did one the other day and it went fast. Click the bell so you don’t miss those videos. All right. I'll talk to you next time. Take care.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."