Have you ever had problems reaching your goals even though you were working harder than ever?
A couple years ago I wasn't progressing at the gym at all.
It seemed as if nothing was working. And it didn't matter how hard I lifted, how much I ate, or what supplements I took. I looked and I weighted the same month after month.
I spent hours researching new programs, different tactics, and small "tricks" I could use to gain more muscle, all while ignoring the one big problem that was staring me right in the face.
I simply wasn't sleeping enough.
Instead of fixing this giant problem, I focused on the smaller, easier to fix things as if they were the most important things in the world.
Maybe I need to increase my protein intake by exactly 19 grams per day... Or I just need to add another exercise to really make my muscles grow... Or maybe I need to add this magical potion to my morning smoothie and everything will be perfect.
All of us do this in some areas of our lives.
We ignore the big, and the difficult problems, and we magnify the small, and the easier ones, because in many cases, convincing yourself that you are "working" on the problem, is easier than actually fixing it.
If you're not seeing progress at the gym, it's easier to focus on insignificant changes in supplements, exercises, and protein intake than it is to consistently stick to a healthy sleep schedule.
If your business isn't making as much money as you'd like, it's easier to focus on making your website perfect or trying to increase conversions by 1%, than it is to go out and try to sell to 50 new people every day.
The solutions to the big problems are often simple, but not easy, while the solutions to the small problems are often complicated, but easy.
Everyone knows how to get more sleep. You go to bed earlier, you wake up later, or you do both. Simple.
Everyone also knows how difficult it is to get more sleep. Your work is piling up, your friends are calling you and asking to hang out, you need to go to the gym, read all these books, play video games, take care of your kids, it doesn't matter. Everyone's lives are filled to the brim, and losing an extra hour or two of so called "productive time" to sleep just seems unfathomable.
We start making up excuses. I could do X, Y, and Z if I just slept an hour or two less tonight!
Sure... You could. But will you actually?
For me, a lot of the time when I stayed up to do something "productive," unless it was something I needed done by tomorrow, I pretty much ended up not doing it at all and wasted time watching YouTube or Netflix.
I wasn't productive, AND I was losing out on sleep!
Since the less you sleep, the less productive you are, the easier you get distracted, and the less you actually do. I ended up being in an infinite cycle of needing to sacrifice sleep in order to finish all my work, and repeating it day after day.
I was trying to use all of these different productivity hacks I found online, when in reality all I needed was to get more sleep.
I kept looking for small, bandaid fixes, when what I really needed was a full on surgery.
And this isn't to say that those small fixes aren't valuable. A 10% or even a 1% improvement can compound greatly over time, but the problem comes when you focus on these 1% improvements before taking advantage of the 50 or 100% ones.
It's simply a waste of time.
What's an area of your life where you're focusing on small problems and ignoring the huge one staring you in the face?
Is it your health? Productivity? Relationship?
How would your life change if you conquered the big problem head on instead of wasting time on the tiny ones?