I love goals; write a book, become an investment advisor, open an art studio, climb a mountain – all great reasons to get out of bed in the morning or stay up late to accomplish something. If they were a food, they would be the dessert of life. Goals are the big visions you have for yourself, wrapped in a giant hug of emotional fulfilment.
But goals are easy.
Easy to think about, easy to write down, and easy to envision your personal dreamscape of a vacation home, and a taught toned body lounging on a bag of money – neatly categorized and labelled on Pinterest. Goals are the endpoint, the celebration, the glorious red carpet, statue-holding party you get when all the work is done.
Goals are easy, habits are hard.
Habits are so hard, that it can take up to 254 consecutive days of trying before an activity becomes a habit. Habits are the assholes of goals. Even the word habit is a turn off. It makes me think of flossing, sweating or deleting emails. Habits are needy, irritating and if not tended to regularly – make your dream transformation feel like an episode of Lost. Why do so many people miss the mark when they are trying to reach a goal? There are three reasons.
- You’ve picked the wrong goal; (someone else’s goal, an undefined goal, a wildly unattainable goal etc…) Having an end result that doesn’t match your true need or desire, will squash your dream-vision before it even gets started.
- You’ve picked the right goal, but due to some unforeseen catastrophic life event, you’ve been thrown into survival mode and thrival-mode will have to wait.
- You’ve picked the right goal, but paired it with the wrong habit or NO HABIT at all.
If number one is your problem, you’re going to need to dig around in your psyche and figure out what you really want. This may require a coach, a friend, or some quiet time with a bottle of wine and a nice cheese dip. If number two is your problem, my condolences. Sometimes life sucks. Again, I recommend a therapist, a good friend or a lot of wine and cheese dip. If number three is your problem, there’s hope.
Habits might be the jerks of success, but they can be tamed.
- Habits take time. A lot of time. Regular exercise, writing a book, working on your social media for business growth, eating healthy – any habit worth creating, must be worked on DAILY. Yup, daily until it becomes second nature. Daily doesn’t mean extensively, it could mean a five minute walk, three new written book lines, one Facebook post, one extra vegetable – anything that keeps the habit in your sights.
- Habits should be attached to a trigger event. A trigger event is something that happens everyday that you can mostly rely on to remind you to do your habit. Trigger events can include: waking up, first coffee, lunch break, when the last kid is asleep, walking the dog, just before you go to bed, etc… We condition our brains over time to connect an action to an emotion. Eventually the link becomes more permanent. Attaching your desired habit to a trigger event will make your success infinitely more attainable.
- Your habit should be related to a desirable goal. You have to care about the endpoint. In order for the habit to have some staying power (when you feel it’s assholish grasp telling your brain to take a nap, do it tomorrow, or it doesn’t matter – it’s just a dumb goal) you have to want to get to the finish line.
So start with the right goals, and then tame your asshole habits, and I guarantee you’ll finish that book, lose twenty pounds, save for your retirement, organize your house, take an amazing trip, or achieve whatever your heart desires.
Happy Slice Everyone.