I am fascinated by lists.
In college, my “go to” book was “The Book of Lists,” which was, um, well — basically a list of lists.
In today’s digital age, most are on-line. One site I found had the most popular “bucket list” ideas. Some of the trendiest objectives included visiting virtually every locale, jumping into a pool fully clothed, and — I kid you not — covering someone’s car in post-it notes. You scamp, you!
Techcrunch posts the most common Google searches. It contained “Ice Bucket Challenge”, “Ebola,” and “Flappy Bird” (a game). Sadly, the loss of “Robin Williams” generated the most searches.
Finally, Listverse, whose raison d’être is to make lists, presented its most popular of all time. Claiming spots in that prestigious ranking are “Top 15 Amazing Coincidences,” “Top 10 Amazing Facts About Dreams,” and the most popular list ever: “10 Fascinating Last Pictures Taken.”
Different times of year spawn season-appropriate lists. January might bring forth “Ten Tips to Getting Organized in the New Year.” In April, we’re informed of “Most Common Forgotten Tax Deductions.” June could give rise to “Top Wedding Ideas of Successful Brides.” (Of course, I don’t know what an “unsuccessful bride” would be.)
I want my own world-famous list. So, I thought of something no one else has done, which I now unveil: (insert fanfare please)
“Five Things You Can Do to Make Sure You Never Achieve Anything.”
In reverse order (because that makes it more exciting I guess):
#5) Make sure your goal relies heavily on someone else in order for its success. In other words, be very careful you don’t control your own fate. For example, instead of “I will spend 20 minutes of quality time every day after work with my children,” change it to, “I’m going to get my kids to spend more time with me.”
#4) Be absolutely certain that you’re doing what you’re doing out of resentment or because you feel pressured. Nothing says “Success and Motivation” like a bad attitude. To illustrate this, you could choose a goal such as, “I’m going to clean out the garage to get my wife off my back.” Don’t even thinking of adjusting it to, “I’m going to clear out the garage so I have a great place to work.”
#3) This one is very important. Be unequivocally certain you utilize vague, “weasel words” when determining your definition of success. Don’t be specific or clear. A great example of this could be, “I’m considering that I possibly might try and maybe drop some weight if I get a chance and everyone leaves me alone.” That gives you more escape clauses than Houdini could imagine. After all, if you said, “I will lose 10 pounds,” you’re kind of stuck doing it or going back on your word.
#2) Don’t tell anyone, especially those who might be affected! Make it such a deep secret that the National Security Administration couldn’t find it. The added bonus is this way you can get angry and indignant because no one supports you.
And the #1 way to really make sure you don’t get what you want is to make sure it’s extremely large, overwhelming, and unwieldy, with unclear definitions and loads of complicated plans that take re-arranging your life to implement. For example, don’t say, “I am going to lose 10 pounds by June 1 by tracking what I eat and walking 15 minutes a day.” Rather make it, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds in a month by eating right, tracking everything, running a whole lot, paying attention to every emotion, giving up everything sweet, drinking water, eating alone, and staying positive.”
Stay tuned for my next list: Best ways to reduce stress by procrastinating to the last minute.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a nationally known weight loss expert for baby boomers and the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. Check out his new 30-day, two-minute-a-day program to help combat yo-yo dieting in conjunction with Avanoo.com. Find out more at scottq.avanoo.com or visit his website.