The Myth of “Trying Hard”

Do you believe that if you just tried hard enough you would have everything under control?

“Trying harder” is so ingrained in our movies and tv shows as the solution to everything. And it messes with us because it’s total bullshit. It’s not about how hard you try, it comes down to what you are trying, what results you want, and how you are approaching it.

Start with Specificity

What promises have you made to yourself in the past that you didn’t follow through on?

“I’m going to stop drinking!”

“I’m going to meditate daily!”

“I’m going to get a new job!”

“I’m going to stop hitting the snooze button.”

“I’m going to exercise three times a week!”

“I’m going to be someone who…”

Think back to when you originally made the promise to yourself. Did you really believe that you were going to follow through?

Studies have shown that over 40% of people who set out to change a habit  EXPECT to fail from the get-go, and unsurprisingly, most people fail.


The Trying to Try Loop

Not giving up is GREAT! But when people make and break the same promise to themselves time and time again, it’s counter-productive. It might succeed in the short term, but ultimately it just reinforces the habit of not following through for yourself.

Attempting something for the second time or more and relying on motivation and good intentions for different results is what in Kickstartology we call The Trying to Try Loop. If you’re telling yourself “I’m going to try harder this time” or “This time I mean it” you’re probably caught in the Trying to Try Loop.


What is “Trying Harder”?

Trying harder sounds legit, but it breaks apart quickly if you try to define it. Yoda broke down the concept of trying with the famous line “Do or do not, there is no try” and he was smart.

Most of the time when people say that they are going to “try harder” all it means is that at the moment they feel motivated and determined and have really good intentions. But unfortunately, those emotions don’t automatically carry through to when it’s time to take action. This is why “trying harder” isn’t a useful way of approaching something.

Compare the following three sentences:

“I’m going to try to meditate daily”


“I’m going to try harder to meditate daily”


“I will meditate daily”

Do they mean the same thing to you? Which one of those thoughts do you think the person who actually follows through is thinking?


How to Try Harder FOR ACTUAL CHANGE:

If you want to get different results this time, ask yourself these four questions to make sure you are setting yourself up for success.

Four Questions to Kick Off Different Results:

#1. Why do you really want to do this?
Your reason for wanting this change must be stronger than your desire to keep doing what you’re doing.

#2. Do you believe you can?
You must believe it’s at least possible if you’ve gotten this far, you can start from there and your belief can grow over time.

#3 Do you believe you will?
Why or why not? Remember, that your future decisions don’t need to be the same as the ones in your past. If those feel overwhelming you can ask yourself if you believe you will take the first step.

#4 What are you going to do differently this time?
This is where you need to be aware that saying “I will try harder” is meaningless. Look at what didn’t work last time, what can you change?

Just don’t bullshit yourself and rely on good intentions and you’ve got this.


P.S. Getting started and getting results can happen fast once you decide to commit to yourself.
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