The Add-in Principle

addWhen someone sets a goal to drop thirty pounds, they immediately start thinking of all the things they have to deprive themselves of.  No more chocolate ice cream after dinner.  No more potato chips when you get home from a long day’s work.  No more candy bars between meals or as a mid-day snack, even if it is for a quick energy boost.


Also when someone sets a personal or a business goal to, let’s say write a book, the first thing they start thinking of is what they will have to give up in order to achieve their goal.  No more watching their favorite sitcoms at night.  No more hanging out with friends at lunch.  No more free Saturday mornings to sleep in.  There’s too much work to do.


This is an error people make way too often.  Instead of focusing on what we have to subtract from our lives to achieve our dreams, we should focus on what we get to “Add-in”.  Instead of trying to subtract anything, just add a healthy habit into your routine and the negative thing we need to give up will naturally eliminate itself.  If weight is you goal, don’t worry about eliminating the potato chips. Focus on the celery and fruit you get to enjoy and the chips will become less and less important.


They say an apple a day for health.  You can still have the piece of cake but…….. only after you’ve had the apple.  In most cases after you’ve had the apple the cake doesn’t seem as appetizing because you don’t have any room left.


If writing a book is you goal, you get to add in quiet reflection time that allows you to think, clear you mind, and get the ideas from your head onto paper.  You can still catch those re-runs of Everybody Loves Raymond, but only after you have time to think and write.  But again let me tell you, once you start you will discover those sitcoms aren’t really that important, especially since you only have so much time in a day and have goals you want to achieve.


Remember to focus on what you are adding-in, not taking away, not for what you will get for achieving your goals, but for WHAT IT WILL MAKE OF YOU TO ACHIEVE THEM. 

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25 thoughts on “The Add-in Principle

  1. This is a great article! Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much Jake

  3. Rajiv says:

    I like this, this is a new perspective

  4. Andee says:

    Good post! Positivity is always more rewarding than negativity!

  5. Brilliant!! I’m totally with you on this one – I’m a positive person by nature and it always amazes me how many people focus on the negative instead of the positive and how much time and energy is spent on it! So much easier and better for you to focus on the positive! Well done!

  6. I think you nailed it here. When we focus on what we have to give up, we often fail because what we’re thinking about is what it becomes about! Love this post!

  7. I think Kate sums things up nicely. Kate’s a half-full kind of person. My glass tends to be half empty so I have to actively think positive. When I decide to lose a few pounds (and I should do) I think about being fitter or buying a new suits.

  8. findingmyinnercourage says:

    Bravo! Brilliant Blog!

  9. cindyhluu says:

    Great motivation to keep on keepin’ on!

  10. Bar Science says:

    I Pinned this. Love it!

  11. I think that a positive perspective is helpful and good… But often when my boss is super positive… I want to throw up. I guess my question is how to do you AUTHENTICALLY communicate a positive-glass-is-1/2-full message to your team?

    • I’ve seen this over and over. A (throat clearing cough) leader comes in and is super excited and his/her upbeat attitude seems to beat down everyone else.

      There is a great gap.

      A real leaders job is to develop the skills to meet their team where they are at and only THEN take them to a new place. Your boss should start out by matching your demeanor then move to a more positive place IF they want you to follow.

  12. Good article. This is also true of the Christian life. Some follow a legalistic attitude, and focus on the sin they are trying to cut out of their lives. As long as they are focused on the sin, they will continue to be enslaved by it. But if they focus on what they are gaining by leaving the sin behind, then they can grow spiritually.

  13. […] When you set a goal, instead of obsessing about what you’ll have to give up, Cranston Holden suggests looking at it a different way. […]

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