The Baker’s Dozen

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Marshall Goldsmith in his popular book ‘What got you here won’t get you there’ talks about how follow ups works in his life. Marshall has hired a coach, Jim Moore who unfailingly calls him up every night and asks the same 12 questions. Jim always starts with “How happy are you?”, followed by the dozen questions.

  1. How much walking did you do?
  2. How many push ups?
  3. How many sit ups?
  4. Did you eat any high fat foods?
  5. How many alcohol did you drink?
  6. How many hours of sleep did you get?
  7. How much time did you spend watching TV or surfing the internet?
  8. How much time did you spend writing?
  9. Did you do or say something nice to your wife?
  10. Did you do or say something nice to your children?
  11. How many times did you try to prove you were right when it wasn’t worth it?
  12. How many minutes did you spend on topics that didn’t matter or that you could not control?

These questions may seem shallow or even petty but are the stuff which are hard to do. They should matter the most to anyone who wants to find a better version of themselves. And when you have someone following up with you regularly, it works. People I know, who follow have cut down on their drink, spend less time before a TV, binge less and are in better shape than what they were in the last decade.

The key is to involve an another person – a coach or a friend. It’s one thing to keep a log every night of the same questions and fill in the answers. It’s more like entering data in a diary and considerably less likely to breed ongoing success. But bring in a friendly human who provides constant encouragement and whom you do not want to disappoint, the scene changes. When another person is involved, it’s like giving yourself a mirror and being assured that you will like what you see.

Choose your ‘Jim Moore’ wisely. It could be your friend, spouse, sibling, son or daughter, mother or father, anyone. The only condition is that he/she should call you every night and secondly should be interested in your life and have your best interests at heart and thirdly should not judge your answers.

Pick an issue in your life that you’re not happy with and that you want to improve. Make a list of dozen small daily tasks – nothing so major that it overwhelms the rest of your day – that you need to do to improve in your chosen area. And have your ‘Jim Moore’ ask you about each task at the end of each day. That’s it. As with any exercise, you won’t see results immediately. But if you stick to it with daily follow up, you will do all the tasks on your list. The results will appear. You will change. You will be happier. And people will notice.

So get your ‘Jim Moore’ today and see the difference.

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