The Secret to Achieving Goals: Establish Daily Habits
We have all encountered that guilt and disappointment when we eventually give up on a goal after floundering with it for some time. It’s quite challenging in fact to sustain motivation, especially when trying to hit a longer term goal. Consider the popular News Year’s Resolution. Only 8% of those that make resolutions actually achieve their goal. What sets this 8% apart is they focus on forming an incremental new habit instead of trying to hit the main goal. For instance, if you wish to compete in a triathlon, you need to establish the daily habit of swimming, cycling and running. The trick is to focus on what you plan to do on a daily basis instead of focussing on what you plan to achieve over a period of the year. This small shift in focus is a powerful leap forward in productivity and closer to your desired goal. In short, establishing habits serves goal achievement
Goals Are Not Habits, Habits Are Not Goals
It’s not easy to change your habits, but it is achievable if you take small steps instead of huge leaps. If you wish to compete in a triathlon, start by swimming, running and cycling a short distance each day building up to the complete leg. The million dollar question, however, is how to change your habits? You can start by focussing on one habit at a time by following these simple steps:
- Replace your habit with a positive one. If you’re trying to change a negative habit, you should replace it with a positive habit. For instance, if you plan to quit smoking, you should first start running to beat the stress.
- Adopt a 30 days challenge. Convince yourself first and then make a promise that you will continue with this positive habit every day, at the same time, for 30 days at a stretch without fail. Once you can achieve this 30-day challenge, your habit will become much easier. In case you fail, there is no need to punish yourself for it. You should instead start all over again on a new 30-day challenge. Practice till you succeed!
- Establish 100% commitment towards a positive habit. Avoid using words like “may” or “should”; instead you must use the word “definitely” and just get on with it. Give your 100% to it. Share it with everyone by either emailing them, putting it up on your blog, post it up at your workspace and home. The positive public pressure will only help to reinforce and motivate you further.
- Set up means to reward yourself. Make a practice of rewarding yourself often the first week, and then bring down the frequency to reward yourself every week for the first month. Ensure that these rewards are such which will help you to stay motivated and remain on track with your goal.
- Consciously beat your urges. Start off by keeping a watch on your urges, so that you are more aware of them when they come up. Try with simple tricks such as tracking them for a few days by making a note of them every time you have an urge. Formulate a plan before you start getting these urges so that you have a strategy in place to beat them.
- Maintain a report of your progress. Keep a journal or a log or chart so that you can measure your progress over time. Maintaining your progress is quite motivating to observe just how far you have come. If possible, you can also be a part of an online group and report your progress there every day. Sharing your progress also will help you to stay motivated.
Of all these points the most important is to remain positive. Learn to monitor your thoughts, and if you observe any negative thoughts, you must consciously stop it then and there and replace it with a positive thought. This works amazingly every time, and it is one of the best tips. Negative thoughts, you will reinforce failure. Keep your thoughts positive; you will certainly succeed in the long run.