Creating Habits that will get you to your goals
We all have goals, whether they're in our head, or written out in detail on paper. If your goal is a goal and not just a dream, you need to write it down and get specific. What is it that you want in your life and how are you going to get there. Your goal needs to be specific and measurable other wise how will you know if you're making progress. I’ve found that creating a daily habit around the goals that I’m pursuing is the best way to stay on track and stop myself from looking at the huge gap between where I am currently and where I want to go.
Break your goal down into daily bite sized pieces that are easy for you to track. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and allow you to see the progress that you're making. For example you might have a goal of losing X amount of weight, and you know that if you do a workout you tend to eat better and drink more water and therefore stay on track. That daily work out is the keystone habit that will keep you heading towards your goal. So instead of stressing about the huge goal of losing the weight, just focus on doing a workout daily. If you can find the habit that acts as a catalyst for other good behaviours it can remove a lot of un-needed stress in your life. For me waking up early is a keystone habit, If I wake up early I'm more likely to get a workout in, eat right, be better prepared for appointments, and just generally have a better day.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
Find the habits that will get you to your goals, or that are keeping you from them. Reaching your goals will be the end result of small decisions made over and over again. You don't get slim by eating one salad or grow rich by making one contribution to your investment account. It may seem like a slow process, but if you keep track and look back on your progress in a year or five you'll be amazed at the progress you've made. You can find a measurable daily habit for every area of your life, if you get creative. You might not be able to score how good your relationship with your partner is, but if you continually fight with them or take them for granted, chances are you will feel the decline before long. Daily habits add up, and when you wake up X years down the road you’ll be happy or miserable because of the compound effect of activities you're doing today.
It’s easiest to focus on one habit at a time, if you have a lot of areas that you're looking to make big changes in I’d recommend picking just one. Once you've formed that habit move onto the next one and continue to stack these until every area of your life is moving in the direction you want it to. Habit changes can have a ripple effect and once you've implemented good habits in one area it will be easier to make the changes in other areas of your life. This is a process and it can take anywhere from 21 days to a year to cement a habit. Small steps day in and day out will get you where you want to go. By focusing your energy on what you can do today, and forgetting about the outcome, you'll be able to enjoy the ride and the end result.