What do all of us do when we want to achieve something new in life?
Whether we want to get in better shape, eat better, sleep earlier, do better at work, write a best-selling book, cook gourmet meals, or anything at all, the first thing we do is we set a goal. We write it down on a piece of paper, file it or keep in neatly in a drawer, and then very conveniently… forget about it!
Heard the saying, “A goal without a plan is just a dream” ?
All of us love to dream, and dream big! Nothing wrong in that! But how about we actually DO something to achieve those dreams? How about we take actual, concrete steps to achieve our goals?
Setting goals is great for the short term. Definitely. Your goal motivates you, challenges you, makes you move!
But the problem with goals? They have an endpoint. They rely on factors that we can’t always control! So ultimately, setting goals is good, but it’s an incomplete system.
So what’s a better solution?
Build HABITS to achieve your goals!!!
Now, what is the difference between the two?
Let me give you an example. Say you decide to run a marathon (goal), so you plan and plan and plan for it, make notes, study on it. OR you start running a little, every morning (habit) and gradually increase the distance! What do you think will give you results?
Habits power our lives, and our goals. Let’s take a look at how habits actually help you.
– Good habits help you exceed your goals!
Say you want to lose 4 kilograms in a month. You work out, eat right, do everything possible and lose those 4 kilos! Once you achieve your goal, you feel satisfied. Happy.
And then you go back to your old habits and routine, and end up gaining those 4 kilos back. Instead, if you decide to work out regularly, make a habit of it, not only with you lose the 4 kilos, but you will be able to sustain it too!
– Habits are easier to sustain than goals.
Since habits are repetitive behaviours usually on a daily or fairly regular basis, they are much easier to sustain.
– Building habits successfully motivates you!
Imagine if you are successful in building a habit of exercising regularly. What does it do? It not only helps you accomplish your goal of being fit, it also constantly keeps you motivated to keep going!
– Small habits are manageable, and help you grow!
Build small habits that are easy to repeat and easy to follow through. Once you get accustomed to them, you can start adding bigger and more complex habits to your lifestyle. For example, if you want to drink 1 additional litre of water every day, start with one extra glass instead of the extra litre. Once that is easy for you, move on to two, then three and so on.
So, how do you build a new habit?
Well, it’s actually not that difficult.
You have to follow 3 steps – a Cue, a Routine and a Reward.
Again, let’s take an example. Suppose you want to start meditating every morning. So, pick a cue , like brushing your teeth, that triggers your new routine. So, brushing your teeth is your cue to start your new routine – sit to meditate. Once you are done, reward yourself with something that you enjoy, like listening to your favourite song!
Once you actually break down a new habit into these 3 steps, it becomes easier for you to follow through, and more enjoyable too! Try it out!!
It is possible to get the life you have always wanted, to set big goals and achieve AND sustain them. All you have to do is really want it, and work for it!
And the best thing about habits? You don’t have to make big, bold and drastic changes in your life from the get go. Start small, and just go from there. Take a step. Commit to the process, not the goal.
So, this week, why don’t you start something new? Something you have always wanted to do, but have not been able to do yet? Try out the 3 step routine, and tell us how it works out for you!