For anything we build to stand the test of time, we need the correct materials. Our lives are filled with constant obstacles trying to get in the way of what we are working to accomplish. To achieve anything worthwhile we will need to stand firm. Our goals are the blueprint of what we want to achieve, but blueprints are worthless if we do not use them to build something. Habits are the building blocks we need after we know our goals.
Relationship Between Habits and Goals
For any success, there isn’t just one tactic that will get you there. Successes are intricate processes made up of many essential components. Two of the most essential aspects are habits and goals.
Goals and habits are meant to live in harmony. The goal is the finished structure of what we want to accomplish, and the habits are the bricks we lay to finish it. One without the other leads to a site that will remain under construction for years until it finally falls apart.
Fortunately, like any architect, we can be trained in the proper procedures to build the most magnificent structure that our minds can dream up. Success is a learnable process.
We all possess different sets of habits. Some of them are more useful than others. Some people bite their nails when they get nervous while others run 5 miles every morning. The similarity between these two actions is that they both developed over time. The runner didn’t automatically start running 5 miles every single day without fail. They started smaller.
When I was writing my book, I made it a habit to write 250 every day without fail. That was a small enough amount that even on my off days or super busy days, I would still be able to maintain my habit. Most days, I wrote more than that. The important thing for me was to make writing a habit.
The problem that most people face is setting their expectations too high. They will set a large objective for the habit they want to implement and usually keep in up for a couple of days, and then something will come up. When it comes up, they don’t have time that day, and their momentum goes. Maybe they’ll pick it up the next day, and then a couple of days later, something else comes up. This is the point at which most people will quit, if not sooner.
Start Small and Grow Big
When implementing a new habit, make simply having the habit your objective. The rest will follow. What I mean is that making when you make the habit stick, increasing whatever it is you’re doing will become much easier.
If you want to start practicing the piano every day, plan to practice it for just 3 minutes a day. Starting is the hardest part, and it’s a lot harder when you set your habits at an extreme level. Once you are at the piano and practicing, you will likely practice for longer than 3 minutes.
The next day your mini-goal is still to practice 3 minutes, so it isn’t daunting to start. You will still be able to keep practice for 3 minutes on days that you lack motivation or that you’re busy.
If you’re going to only practice for 45 minutes in a week, it’s much more beneficial to practice 15 minutes over 3 days than 45 minutes in a lump sum. Performing over multiple days allows your brain time to synthesize the information, and you come back to in with a deeper understanding each time.
Change Your Perspective
When we don’t want to do something, a change in perspective will make it a lot easier. That is one of the benefits of setting the mini-goals for a habit we are starting. 3 minutes is only .002% of the day! If that doesn’t seem feasible, then there is probably nothing to convince you to start a habit.
Since we all have goals in our lives and we all have habits, we need to examine the habits we do have and make sure they are in line with what we desire. When they are in line with each other, that is when we will find that we are living our lives aligned with our values.
“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”
-Charles C. Nobel
So, it is clear that individuals who need to improve their lives and accomplish their objectives need to make and implement a well-crafted set of habits.