“I can’t achieve my goals no matter how hard I try”
I want you to say the following statement to yourself:
“My habits won’t let me achieve my goals”
That’s right, if you’re struggling with achieving a goal, your current habits may be what is standing in the way between where you are today and what you want to achieve in your life.
If you really want to achieve what you want, you can. But, you have to be ready to feel (temporarily) uncomfortable with (behavior) change.
Your behaviour – also known as habits – is in your control. It does require self-discipline to follow through on what you need to do.
Habits Anchor Our Goals.
What habits do you have in place TODAY that will achieve your goals?
If you’re not achieving your goals, reflect on the behaviours/actions you are doing regularly.
Ask yourself the following:
“a person who has achieved “__________” goal, what habits do they have in place in their everyday lives?”
If they’re similar to what you’re already doing, that’s great! But, if they’re not, don’t despair.
A Strong Desire.
To follow through on habits, you need a strong DESIRE for achieving your goal.
WHY do you want to achieve it? This is crucial. It will act as your internal GPS.
And, you have this … you just need to uncover it.
Build a strong WHY (desire) and it will guide you to success.
Suggested Reading: Atomic Habits by James Clear.
For this week’s theme of exploring the power of our ‘habits’, I read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear in which he talks about how tiny changes to our habits can have a huge effect on our every day lives.
Here is a brief overview of my key take aways:
The book touches different scientific aspects including biology, neuroscience, and psychology.
He provides guidance on the four stages of the habit building process that he refers to as the Four Laws of Behavior Change:
- Make it obvious
- Make it attractive
- Make it easy
- Make it satisfying
He also refers to a concept called Inversion in which it’s about how to get rid of bad habits. He calls it the Four Laws of Inversion:
- Make it invisible
- Make it unattractive
- Make it difficult
- Make it unsatisfying
The book refers to the first step as coming up with an idea of the person who we want to become in our life. With this identified, it makes it easier to identify the needed habits to become this person.
For example, “I’m a writer”, “I’m a runner”, “I live a healthy life”.
Then, he goes on to talk about habit stacking in which you form a new habit by connecting it to an already existing one. The formula he recommends is:
After [current habit], I will [new habit].
And, what really stood out for me, he suggests that we create the new habit that only requires two minutes to get it done.
The reason he says for this is to deal with procrastination and having too high of expectations for ourselves. If we start small and succeed, this will help our self-confidence and empower us to keep going.
I found the book to be an excellent read if you really want to go deep and learn about habits.
I’d like to leave you with a quick how-to for using habits to achieve your goal:
5 Steps for Using Habits to Achieve Your Goal
- Pick your goal.
- Identify the habits. With your goal written down, brainstorm the habits (behaviours) you think will be needed to achieve this goal in your life.
- Which habits do you already have in your life? Identify the habits you currently have from the list you made in Step 2.
- Pick one new habit to bring into your life. Pick one new habit from the list that when you implement it in your life, will contribute towards achieving the goal. Commit to doing it for a minimum of 30 days. It is key that this new habit be realistic to achieve in your current life.
- Make a plan. It’s important that you think ahead of how you will overcome obstacles (because there will be those days when you don’t feel like it).
An example following the above approach:
- I want to lose 10 pounds.
- Habits needed: Everyday, I will need to eat healthy and daily exercise.
- I currently walk my dog daily. I sometimes eat healthy.
- New habits and plan: I will prepare and/or order healthy meals 5 out of 7 days weekly. I will also increase my daily dog walking route (easy to do given I already walk my dog).
Your new habit(s) will transform you: “I live a healthy life”. Not only will you lose the weight, but you will feel better beyond achieving this goal.
The Benefits of Habits
Healthy habits = gives you energy to live your life.
Financial habits = allows you to live a life free of worry about money.
“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” (F. M. Alexander)