Focus more on your habits, not on your goals

Habits VS goals

Adopting good habits is the most effective way to reach your life’s direction you aim for. If you don’t focus on your goal too much, but work on adopting good habits only, still you will land up somewhere near your goals.

Many people tell me that they are on a diet, but that their diet isn’t producing the desired results. Even if, some of them achieved the results, they lost focus easily and the achieved goal was meaningless after some time.

What goes wrong? Why their diet does not help them to achieve what they want?

Focus more on your habits, not on your goals.

All Goals have an endpoint

When you define goals, you get inspiration, you get a direction to follow. There are benefits setting up goals, though, but it is not everything in life.

Every goal has an endpoint where you want to reach, but a habit is a journey, it continues with you throughout your life.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

― Gandhi

Only goals cannot bring you happiness

It is essential to set goals in your life. It gives you a path in which way you need to proceed. A definite goal is what you want to achieve from your life, which can be further broken down into short time goals.

When you run behind your dreams, it is a motivational factor that keeps you engaged. But too much focus on achieving goals can steal many happy moments from your life too.

When people do not meet their goals, they are usually disappointed. Some people blame their own aptitude or skill to get things done, while others place blame on external causes. It’s like running a never-ending race from one goal to the next.

Learn how to “focus more on your habits, not on your goals”.

Even your definite goals are provisional

Setting a goal is a wonderful idea since it gives you the desire and momentum you need to push yourself. There’s nothing wrong with setting a goal to lose 20 pounds in the next three months. But, most of the time goals are temporary, after you achieve one goal, you set another. Often, when you get satisfied with the desired results, then you come back to your normal routine.

Most of the time, you don’t even reach your goals. You land up somewhere nearby. Does that mean, goals are useless? Not at all. Your energy is at a peak when you follow a purpose.

Your goals have two important areas,

  1. The desired result
  2. A timeframe

What if you reach your desired result in the defined timeframe? What is your next step after that timeframe? You don’t wish to settle there. Of course, you set another goal that is usually higher than what you have accomplished.

You have your short-term and long-term aims. Even when you achieve your lifetime dreams, you will not be able to stay composed on that. You will search for something to do next.

Let us look at the example. You want to retire at the age of 45, have enough money to live comfortably, and enjoy your life. When you reach 45, is it possible for you to stay without doing anything? I don’t think you will. Try to hear your own neutral opinion, you will know it better.

Remember, ‘Focus more on your habits, not on your goals’.

Do not set goals which are not realistic

Be specific in defining your goal. You know what your strengths are and what areas you need to improve on. Measure your current capacity, look for available resources, and what you are capable of achieving, align it with your goal.

Keep external factors in your mind

What and how you can do all you have in your capacity. How it will impact on results depends on many external factors. Do your best, after that whatever happens, happens.

When setting a goal, keep external factors in mind. If you want to lose twenty pounds in the next two months, for example, your DNA is out of your control, but your diet and daily gym routine are.

If you wish to spare 20% of your salary for your future savings, your salary is in your control, but inflation and other expenses are not.

In both cases, how external factors may impact your accomplishments, and what backup plans you have to mitigate the impact of those external factors, play an important role.

Timeframe to achieve your goal

If you set a goal without a time bond, it is just like wandering in desert without knowing when you will arrive at your destination. Your time bond provides the motivation you need to attain your goal within a set time frame. What options do you have if you don’t obtain the outcomes you want during that time?

You might

  • Accept the results as they are
  • Extend timeframe and give a little more time
  • Alter your goal based on real factors, your capacity, external factors, and your attentiveness.

In all the above scenarios, there are big chances that you will not reach what you have desired for in the timeframe you have set earlier.

All goals are not attainable

You will not reach what you aim for all the time. You will find many conditions require to achieve, some are in your control, and some are out of your control. Even if you do the best to perform what is in your control, occasionally, other factors make it difficult to reach.

That means if you attach your success to your goals, this will never be met in all respect. Even if you reach your goal, it is a temporary state and you set another one soon after that. It will keep you busy and overwhelmed at the pace required.

Why habits play an important role?

Learn, that goals only do not aim to live our lives. Our personality is what our habits are. Our habits will help us achieve peace and prosperity.

When you set an objective in your life, you need to follow the direction, the way you want to go. To follow the directions, you will use some tools, make strategic plans, and in addition, it requires your actions that will deliver you the desired outcomes.

A quirk of proactive approach helps you follow precise direction, plan right, and use the appropriate tools. Continuous focus on building good habits will aid you to do actions that will get you one step closer to your goal every time.

Work on Process (Can Process lead to a habit?)

The process is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a goal. Sometimes these actions are repeated on a regular basis, which is a source to form a particular habit.

For example, your goal is to build your upper part of body muscles, for that you require the process of daily workout. After a series of workout sessions, it becomes part of your habit.

Think of something that a juggler needs to do. His goal is to juggle with many balls and keep juggling for a long time. In the beginning, he sets a goal to shuffle with 2 to 3 balls, which is challenging for him. After a couple of tries, he is able to juggle with a little difficulty. But upon daily practice, he can do it so easily that he can walk and talk, make jokes in between. Later, he can add one more ball in his play. He has formed a pattern of this routine by practicing on the process. This action became routine, practically habitual, very quickly.

Keep in mind, your constant actions develop your habits.

Change your habits, not your goals

When you see, you can’t reach your goals, every time you set it for, don’t worry, you are not the only person on the earth. If by all means, you have set the goals keeping all SMART criteria, (S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Relevant, T – Time-bound), in mind, and still you can’t reach. What to do? Use a simple formula, keep trying, don’t worry, be happy!

Remember, you get ultimate happiness from your habits, not by reaching your goals.

It is natural to feel delighted when you achieve your goals, but if these feelings do not last throughout your life, they are nothing more than a fleeting reaction to your accomplishments.

Remember, you get a tremendous amount of joy from habits like, walking every day, helping needy people, appreciating people who put their effort to do some tasks, and this joy is long-lasting, will stay with you forever.

We are made up of our habits. Our habits are developed by our daily repeated actions. We cultivate our habits by our surroundings, our interest and our desire to achieve something. When we build our habits, it in return starts building our “self”. Focus more on your habits, not on your goals.

“Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).”

— DR. STEPHEN R. COVEY

How Long Does it Take to Form a New Habit?

“Embracing longer timelines can help us realize that habits are a process and not an event.” On his website, James Clear, author of ‘Atomic Habits’ has mentioned it. All of the “21 Days” hype can make it really easy to think, “Oh, I’ll just do this and it’ll be done.” But habits never work that way. You have to embrace the process. You have to commit to the system.

Forming a habit is not a goal, it is a long term journey. In the long run, when you embrace a good habit, it will award you more satisfaction than achieving a goal.

Adopt new habits bit-by-bit

We often want to see a big change in our habits. One fine morning we decide we need to walk for 1 hour every day. When we see that it is too long to go, we drop the idea to start the process.

If you can’t walk for one hour daily, start with 10 minutes walk. Add up one minute in your walk every week, you will find you are waking (10 minutes + 51 Weeks X 1 minute) = 1 Hr and one minute in a one-year timeframe. Good thing is that gradual change in habits is easy to adopt and stay for long.

“It’s great to dream big, but the way to achieve big is to start small — through micro habits. Micro habits are small components of a larger habit.” Writes Sabina Nawaz, in her article on Harvard Business Review. “By breaking down an ambitious job into smaller, more achievable ones that you build over long periods of time, micro habits help you complete big goals.”

Do not try with your will power to adopt a new habit

Some of my office colleagues, who were smokers tried to quit smoking. They did it by reducing its quantity in the beginning, and slowly they left smoking completely. But soon they accompanied themselves with another smoker colleagues, they could not stop themselves from smoldering one cigarette with them, which eventually made them return back to that routine again. When they returned to that habit, they craved for more. Their will power could not help them.

Attach yourself to proactive people

Your habits are built by your environment. When you were a kid, your habits were influenced by your parents and close relatives. When you reach to the teen-age, you learn new patterns from your friends. Similarly, when you are in the business world, you catch habits from those whom you are working with. Surround yourself with successful people, you will build new habits swiftly with fewer efforts.

You do not need much effort to adopt a good habit, if you are in a good company.

Your habits are formed by two main factors,

  • Repeat the action many times
  • Do it on a daily basis

When you espouse a habit for a long period of time, you then no need to focus on that habit, it becomes part of your routine. “Focus more on your habits, not on your goals.”

Good habits can help achieve your goals easily

When we adopt good habits, automatically we change the way we look at our goals. We look at it in a more practical way. Building good habits have a broader impact on our day to day activities.

Building a proactive habit helps us start accepting responsibility. When we take responsibility, we make sure to follow a progressive path, we worry less about conditions over which we have little or no control, take action in the right direction and make decisions accordingly.

“The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it.”

— DR. STEPHEN R. COVEY

Understand the effect of external factors on your achievements, do not blame circumstances. Rather look into the areas that are in your dominance. Even if you don’t achieve your goal, you will achieve longterm success and lifelong happiness.

It is the secret to why you need to focus more on your habits, not on your goals.

Summary

  • It is an excellent idea to set a goal, but do not focus on it so much that you lose your interest to build new better habits.
  • Goals are not what you should aim for, even if you do not set goals, with your positive habits, you will achieve something.
  • Do not rush to adopt new exceptional habits, take a gradual approach instead. The slow and steady process will produce big results.
  • Be in a good company, your valuable habits will build up without you even noticing it.
  • When you develop good habits, you are very close to accomplishing your goal.
  • Good habits are a source of long-term success and lifelong happiness.