Make a Habit Of Achieving Your Goals
The power of written goals is well known. However, as we all know, we do not achieve our goals by merely writing them down – we also need to take appropriate action, and do it consistently. That’s where habits come in.
I experienced the power of habit first hand, when I was struggling to get started with writing my book. I followed my own advice and set goals that were not just SMART (Specific – Measurable – Achievable – Realistic – Timely] but PURE [Positively Stated – Understood – Relevant – Ethical] and CLEAR [Challenging – Legal – Environmentally Sound – Appropriate – Recorded] as well. But while I loved the idea of having a book to my name, and earning bragging rights of being a published author, I somehow never felt able to get started with writing it.
Until my coach pointed out to me – that maybe I should just work on making writing a habit. That was indeed a turning point. I started with a modest goal of writing for 10 minutes every week day immediately after breakfast. After struggling a bit, I found myself doing it with consistently. That’s when I gradually started increasing duration, until I was writing consistently for an hour. I then added another session (with a 5 minute break for getting off my butt, stretching, hydrating and resting my eyes) and soon I was writing for 90 minutes every weekday morning.
While it took me some time to figure this, it’s not really surprising. In fact, I would go so far as to assert that habits are rungs on the ladder to success – to achieving our significant goals
Habits are rungs on the ladder to our significant goals
While setting goals is very important, it is good to remember that we do not achieve our goals merely by setting them. We need to take action. And that’s where we stumble most, because taking action requires
- Overcoming our limiting beliefs
More importantly, taking action seems like a lot of work – and we always find other things that seem a better use of our time, attention and energy at a moment in time.
That is where habits come in. Habits make it super simple to take consistent action. Once we form a habit, the doing of it literally becomes a no-brainer (actually, it moves to a part of our brain where we do not need to consciously think when taking action). This significantly reduces and eventually eliminates our resistance to taking action and thus sets us on the path to achieving our goals.
Habits help us achieve our goals by making it super simple to take action
Some examples of how people have successfully used habits to achieve their goals include
Goal : Complete the half-marathon at Bengaluru in 2016
Habit : Run for 90 minutes 5 days a week
Goal : Achieve target healthy weight of 68 kg in 10 months
Habit : Walk 60 minutes 5 times a week
Goal : Grow business 3X this financial year
Habit: Make 3 sales calls every week-day
While one may agree that habits help us move closer to our goals, it is also obvious that building new habits can be very difficult. For instance, in the marathon example above, if you’ve never run seriously before, building a habit of running for 90 minutes may seem impossible.
Actually building new habits can be quite simple. While simple does not always mean easy, there are a few powerful strategies that make developing new habits easy – almost. I’ll cover some of these in my next post.
Setting goals, and writing them down, is indeed very important to achieving success in every area of our life. However merely setting goals is not adequate – we need to take consistent action. By leveraging the power of habits, we can overcome our resistance, and take action consistently – ensuring that we are continually moving towards our goals.
Have you harnessed the power of habits in achieving significant goals in your own life?
What are some of goals that you are currently struggling with? Do you think these might become easier to achieve if you could install appropriate supporting habits?