How To Turn Your Goals Into Habits
Leo Babauta, author of the blog Zen Habits, makes the following suggestions:
Sometimes the simplest concept can be something that we don’t always do. It may not be difficult and it can make a huge difference to everyone’s daily life. But what is it? Break your goals into habits and then focus on making these habits something you do automatically.
By turning a goal into a habit, you can totally focus your attention on it and for a set period of time, say a month, work on nothing else. The more you can focus on something, the more it will become ingrained.
And once something is an ingrained, automatic habit, you no longer need to focus on it much and it will happen as a normal part of life. You will do it without thinking about it and the goal will be achieved, allowing you to move on to the next one.
How to turn goals into habits
The process of turning goals into habits is surprisingly simple. Take it one step at a time:
1. Write down clearly what your goals are so you can easily visualise them.
2. Consider what you need to do to achieve this goal, there is likely to be a number of steps.
3. Work out if you could achieve this goal in a series of daily or weekly actions? For example, if you wanted to save money, you could save a little on every payday before you pay your bills. This means that you will regularly save the money and achieve this goal.
4. Work out the amount of the habit needed to achieve the goal within your desired timeline. By this, I mean how many times or how frequently you will need to reach your goal. To use running as an example, someone can run every day but not be ready to run a marathon.
To do this, they need to run a certain amount of miles each run to build up over a period of weeks to be ready. Work out how many runs are needed to increase to the right amount for the marathon and this is how much the habit needs to be done to reach the goal.
5. For the first month, focus all your attention on this habit and don’t worry about other habits.
6. If you need to use more than one habit to achieve your goal, start on the second habit after a month then the third month add the third habit until each is firmly in place.
7. Once your habits are ingrained and automatic, you can lessen your focus on them. Should the habit stop, you may need to spend another month re-focusing on it.
8. Once you do the habit without thought and have reached the goal, you can decide on your next one and start again.
What are your goals this year which you can turn into habits?