Removing The Friction

I’m about to deliver some great news.

I realize that’s pretty rare these days so hopefully you’re pumped.

And not only is this timely because, as I mentioned, we could all use something positive right about now, but because this is the time of year where most people set their goals, intentions, plans (or whatever pop psychology buzzword you want to throw add in there) for the new year and this is going to help you with that – big time.

You’re welcome in advance.

OK, now that I’ve created a sufficient hype machine, let’s get to it.

When most people want to achieve something – particularly something new or that they find challenging – they need to address and conquer these three factors.

Motivation. Education. Structure.

Let’s break these three things down.

When it comes to motivation, we seek both an intrinsic and extrinsic push towards the goals we set to accomplish. This helps us justify the desire and stokes the flame when that desire starts to fade.

Why do we want to lose 20 pounds? Is it to feel more confident in our own skin? To make it easier to chase our kids around? To mitigate a health scare?

Without motivation, putting in the work to accomplish a difficult task not only becomes a long shot, there is no reason to pursue the goal in the first place.

Once the motivation is there, the next typical step is education. What do you need to know to move closer and closer to the desired outcome?

Keeping with the weight loss theme, this might include figuring out your appropriate number of calories per day. Or what constitutes good food choices. Or how to cook basic meals.

Finally, you have structure. What systems do you have to put in place to make sure that you stay on track toward your goal? These usually include a specific time and location. For example, you decide to cook meals every Monday and Thursday for the week after the kids go to bed. Or you schedule an appointment to check in with your nutritionist over Zoom every two weeks.

If any of these components are missing – motivation, education, structure – your chances of actually accomplishing your goal go way down.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We get it Dan. Reaching goals is hard. You have to have a lot of puzzle pieces in place. Where is this good news that you told us about?!?

Glad you asked. The good news is that there is a way to shortcut all this shit. To get the motivation, education and structure taken care of for you. To feel like Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum strutting across the salt flats while smoking cigars after defeating the aliens in Independence Day.

You simply have to put yourself in the right environment.

Surrounding yourself with experts and like-minded people in an environment that also provides accountability, structure and knowledge drives up your chances for success up by, I don’t know, roughly 12,000%. I haven’t fully finished the math yet.

It’s pretty simple really. The right environment takes care of the motivation, education and structure for you. It simplifies the learning curve, shortens the time to success and takes away a lot of the factors and decisions that could lead to failure.

Here’s an example.

A lot of people start (or restart) going to the gym in January. And as any good fitness meme will tell you, they quit by mid-February.


Probably a combination of factors. The gyms are crowded. They feel intimidated just walking through the door. They don’t know how to properly perform exercises. The equipment they want to use has already been taken. They don’t have a program to follow. They have no way to measure their progress. Their significant other is starting to question why they are spending their time at the gym rather than doing chores at home.

In essence, they lack motivation, education and structure (and, in this example, a bit of social support as well).

Now, imagine that same person walks into an environment where they immediately feel welcome and supported. Where the program was already designed and explained to them. Where they were led through everything by a coach. Where they never had to wait for equipment or try to figure out what to do. Where people were expecting them to show up and they made a financial commitment to attend.

Hopefully you can see that simply by choosing and committing to the right environment the same person can eliminate nearly all the barriers of training and actually set themselves up for success.

This seems like a small distinction but the ramifications are massive. It’s the difference between wanting something and actually putting yourself in the best position to get it.

So, after you set your goals and intentions for the coming year and determine what is truly important to you, I highly recommend seeking out the best environment to help get you there.

I’ll leave you with this little tidbit: one of the most effective things you can do to reach a goal is to find a culture where your desired behaviors and outcomes are the norm.

You’ve got to remove the friction.