Don’t get me wrong, we need goals. Goals give us direction and inspire us. They help us set our priorities and remind us what we need to accomplish. But simply setting a goal does not help us to achieve the goal, and goals alone can actually decrease our health and happiness. We need a process for achieving our goals. We need habits.
Goals rely on willpower and self-discipline.
Without a specific process in place, we must keep our goals constantly in the front of our mind and weigh every decision accordingly. It is much easier to automatically save $50 each week than to consider whether each purchase we make is within our budget.
Goals depend on circumstances we can’t always control.
Sometimes, no matter how hard we work, our goals are unachievable. You could train six months for a marathon that will be canceled the day before the event due to icy course conditions. (This happened in Dallas a few years ago.) If your success depends upon finishing, then you will feel you failed. If your success instead depends on sticking to your weekly training schedule, you will be a star.
Goals can feel overwhelming.
Losing weight takes time. It is easy to become disheartened when the pounds aren’t lost quickly. Establishing and focusing on healthy eating habits that you can achieve on a daily basis will give you daily wins to celebrate.
Goals are good motivation but goals represent an endpoint.
I ran a marathon once but now I rarely run. My goal was to run the marathon not create a healthy exercise habit. How many people do you know that have lost a significant amount of weight and then put it all back on? Habits have no end and can last a lifetime.
Here are some examples of great goals and even better habits:
Goal: Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night
Habit: Go to bed by 10pm every night
Goal: Run a marathon
Habit: Follow a weekly training schedule
Goal: Lose weight/eat healthier
Habit: Eat 6 cups of vegetables every day
Goal: Declutter my house
Habit: Spend 10 minutes every day putting away, throwing away, or recycling items
Goal: Be more productive at work
Habit: Write down my most important thing to accomplish each day and do it first
Goal: Spend more time with family
Habit: Plan ahead. Schedule weekend activities
Habits are the path to reaching your goals, but you need strategies to make the habits, well, habitual. I’ve posted several strategies here on my brilliant but poorly written blog. And I would love to have you join me in my free Facebook group to share your personal strategies, challenges, and celebrations.
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