And what to do if you’re not.
Are you trying hard to accomplish your goal?
I bet you’ll say yes.
But are you trying hard enough to accomplish it?
I bet you’ll say, “I’m not sure.”
Because that’s how 99% of people I ask that question answer it, which makes sense because it’s a complicated question. Unfortunately, that answer can become a problem.
If you don’t have a way to gauge the effort required to accomplish something, there’s little chance you’ll deliver it.
While every goal is different, here are four universal questions you can ask yourself to figure out if you’re trying hard enough to accomplish your goal.
- Are You Invested Enough To Cause Discomfort?
Accomplishments are the direct result of investments.
And your investment in a goal always includes a combination of time, effort, and resources.
The mix of those elements will vary, but the more of one you invest, the less of the others you’ll need.
For example, the more money you invest into a goal, the less time and effort it will require to accomplish. You can make up for a limited time investment with more effort and resources, or overcome limited resources with a greater dedication of time and effort.
But no matter how you invest in your goal, if that investment doesn’t cause some level of discomfort you’re probably not trying hard enough.
All success requires sacrifice, and sacrifice is a willingness to accept discomfort in the pursuit of something greater.
Maybe that means investing the money you normally spend eating out on advertising to promote your new project instead.
Maybe it means replacing an hour of your daily Netflix viewing with working out to get in better shape.
Maybe it means personally reaching out to 20 potential new customers a day to promote your new product as opposed to tweeting out a link to promote it once and forgetting about it.
Or maybe it means finding time every single week for 177 weeks in a row to send The Interested actionable ideas to improve your work, art, and life like I have.
If you’re not investing in your goal in a way that causes discomfort for yourself, you’re probably not trying hard enough to succeed.
- Are You Working Toward Your Goal Every Day?
You can write a novel at a rate of one chapter a year, but you won’t.
Nothing is accomplished without consistent work because consistency builds momentum and momentum drives success — even with a side project.
Something you tinker with once a month isn’t something that will lead somewhere meaningful— it’s a hobby.
If you don’t work toward your goal in some capacity on a daily basis then you’re not trying hard enough to accomplish it.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours a day working toward your goal or that you even have to do the nuts and bolts of the thing every day. But it has to become a daily presence in your life in some capacity.
If your goal is to write a novel you may not be able to write every day, but on days you don’t write could you listen to a podcast where other novelists share advice about writing that might help you instead?
That counts as trying.
If you’re a musician, you may not feel inspired to write a new song every day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write one or at least practice your existing ones.
If you want to try hard enough to succeed, then you need to do your thing— in some way — every day.
- Are You Willing To Do The Work Regardless Of The Results?
Most things fail no matter how hard you try.
That’s why it’s crucial to be motivated by the work itself as opposed to just the potential results— you have to fall in love with the process.
If you only put in effort because you want the credit, fame, or riches that come with success, it’s unlikely you’ll have the fortitude to get to it.
One of my favorite ways to shift your mindset from the results to the process is to use what I call the 100x Method.
You can read more about how the 100x Method works here, but basically it involves establishing a rule that you don’t start any project you’re not willing to do at least 100 times regardless of its results.
This approach provides a slew of benefits, but one of the biggest is that it prevents you from jumping into projects you’re unlikely to ever try hard enough to accomplish and creates a success metric that’s 100% in your own control.
If you commit to do something 100 times regardless of the results you’ll be much more likely to try hard enough to “succeed” than you will if you don’t.
- Do You Know Why You’re Trying?
It’s easy to try, but it’s hard to try hard.
A key to doing so is to have a deep, fundamental understanding of why you want to try in the first place.
Are you driven to accomplish this goal because you have an audience you want to serve? A problem you want to fix? A passion you want to explore? A change you want to make?
There are infinite reasons to do things and they’re all valid as long as you feel them deep in your bones.
The only wrong reason to pursue something is one you don’t firmly believe or can’t explain.
If you don’t know why you’re pursuing a goal in the first place, there’s no chance you’ll find the inspiration, motivation, and determination necessary to work hard enough on it to succeed.
But if you know why you want to try, and combine that with a willingness to sacrifice, effort on a daily basis, and a love for the work instead of just the results, trying hard enough will no longer be something you “don’t know” if you’re doing.
You’ll just do it.