Saying I will try is useless

iStock_000005705584Small“Are you coming to the party this weekend?” Your response, “Hmmm, I’m not sure I’ll try to get there.”

“Can you get me the report by tomorrow afternoon?” Your response, “I have a lot on. I’ll try to get it to you.”

Self talk, “I know that I should read more so I’ll try to read fifteen minutes every day.”

“Have you lost some weight?” Your response, “Yes I’m trying to get fitter and to lose a few pounds.”

“Are you coming to training tonight?” Your response, “I’m going to try to get there.”

I’ll try.” When you read the above statements are you filled with confidence that the person is really going to do what they are saying they will “Try” to do?

When I hear people say, “I’ll try” I’m about 98% sure that whatever it is they are saying they are going to “Try” to do isn’t going to happen, get done or achieved.

The statement is pathetic and provides an instant ‘get out‘ clause for not doing something.

If you are serious about creating success in your life you must drop this statement from your vocabulary. Instead, follow this formula.

1. Make a commitment

If you are going to do something properly commit to it. Make the decision. Saying “I’ll try.” is neither a decision nor a commitment.

2. Be clear with your responses

“Are you coming to the party this weekend?” Your response, “Yes. I’m there, count me in.”

“Can you get the report to me by tomorrow afternoon?” Your response, “Done!

Self talk, “I read for fifteen minutes every day on topics that are helping me to improve my skills.”

“Have you lost some weight?” Your response, “Yes I’m getting fitter and healthier. This ‘new me’ is here to stay!

“Are you coming to training tonight?” Your response, “No. Not tonight. I have a more important commitment to my family. I’ll be there next week.”

Your language should support your commitment and decision.

3. Imagine success

Whenever you make a commitment to something, imagine what success will really look like. See yourself handing the report in to your boss thirty minutes ahead of schedule. Imagine the pleased look on your boss’s face when she reads through your report. Imagine the appreciative comments you will hear her say.

When you have a goal to be fitter and healthier ‘see’ the new you being active and looking good, not just for a short period, but for as far as you can see into the future.

4. Create a plan

No doubt many things can be planned in your head. If something is important and really must get done, then having a plan that lives in your head is a major risk to your productivity. Instead, write your plan down. Identify clear outcomes. Identify your starting point. Work out what you need to do (your actions) and then work out which actions have the highest leverage – in other words if these actions don’t happen then the job won’t get done or won’t get done to the required standards.

For example. You’ve committed to getting the report to your boss as requested. It now has to be delivered a day early. You have already imagined what success looks like so write what you imagined in Step 3 above. Next, write your current starting point. If the report is 50% complete, then write that down. If you are waiting on some data from Jane, write that down. Next, identify the actions that you’ll need to take to complete the report and to get it to your boss as requested. Out of the tasks that you have listed, identify the ones that have the highest influence on achieving your objectives. These need attention and focus and must be completed as soon as possible. In this example, such an action would be to contact Jane directly and explain to her how the deadline for the report has been moved forward and how you will do whatever you need to do to help get that information from her.

Your list of actions will also include less important tasks that someone else could do. Quickly delegate those tasks to other people. If there are no other people then you have to do them yourself. But do these after the most important tasks have been completed or are under ‘control’.

5. ‘Do’ your plan

Take action. Follow your plan. Adjust if necessary but stay focussed. Create the success you desire.

These five steps will take you from being someone who “Tries to be successful” to someone who is “successful”. Do yourself a favour and drop the word “try” from your vocabulary. It’s useless and it doesn’t work.

Gary Ryan enables organisations, leaders and talented professionals to move Beyond Being Good.