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Goals Into Habits

Goals Into Habits

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Published by: Naraykln on Jun 26, 2009
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Goals Into Habits
February 10th, 2009 by Steve Pavlina
Email this article to afriendWhenever you set a new goal, you’re unlikely to achieve it unless your habitsalready support it. If your goal runs afoul of your current habits, you’ll need tochange your habits in order to achieve your goal.Suppose you set a goal to write a book, but you aren’t already in the habit of writing on a regular basis (ideally daily). Most likely you’ll never complete thebook. That goal will just sit on your to-do list for years.Suppose you set a goal to quit your job and run your own Internet business, butyou aren’t in the habit of developing websites. That goal is also unlikely to beachieved. It will simply remain a fantasy, overridden by the habit of showing upto work each day.
Identify Habits to Support Your Goals
When you set a new goal, think about what habits would enable you to put thatgoal on autopilot, thereby making it a done deal.It’s usually best to think in terms of daily habits, especially for big goals. Dailyhabits are easier to install than less frequent habits. (For details on successfullyinstalling irregular habits, see the article How to Maintain Not-Quite-DailyHabits.)It’s also wise to think in terms of simple habits, not incredibly complicated ones.Simple habits are easier to install and maintain. You can always add complexitylater, but focus on getting the basic habit successfully installed first.
If one of your goals is to write a book, a simple daily habit would be to work onyour book for at least one hour per day. If you can install and maintain thathabit, completing your book is practically a done deal. Even if you write only onweekdays and take two weeks off, that’s still 250 hours per year you’ll beinvesting in your book. This simple discipline is enough to build a career as aprofessional writer.Ask yourself:
What daily discipline(s) would make this goal a done deal?
Theanswer to that question will tell you what habit(s) to install. If you can conditionand maintain those habits, you’ll very likely achieve your goal. It’s only a matterof time.
Be Specific
Make your habits specific. Identify when, where, and how you’ll implementthem. Leave nothing to chance.If you’re going to exercise daily to support your weight loss goal, specify whenyou’ll exercise and for how long, where you’ll exercise, and what type of exercise you’ll perform. Doing yoga in your living room from 4pm to 4:45pmdaily is a clear habit. Adding “go to the gym” to tomorrow’s to-do list is not aclear habit.One of the most basic habit properties is time. To install any new habit, you mustput in the time. Carve out a dedicated block of time to spend on your new habit.Even if the habit doesn’t require any extra time to maintain, such as the habit of not biting your nails, you’ll still need to devote time to conditioning the habit.
Start With a 30-Day Trial
Use the 30-day trial approach to kick-start your new habit. This method has ahigh success rate and can be adapted for virtually any habit you’d like to install.
(For details on how to do this, see the article 30 Days to Success.)Focus on achieving a perfect record with your habit for 30 days straight. Don’tworry about Day 31. If you can make it 30 days, you can usually coast fromthere because the habit will be on autopilot by then.Even if you later get off track, it will also be easier to re-establish a habit whenyou’ll already completed at least 30 full days in a row. At the very least, you’llknow you’re capable of making it 30 days and beyond when you start anewbecause you’ve already done it.
Eliminate Interference
Nuke any obstacles that may interfere with your new habit. Clear commitmentsfrom your schedule that would overlap the time you’ve allotted for your habit.Notify other people that this time is sacred and that they do NOT havepermission to disturb you at these times.Make sure you have all the equipment and supplies you’ll need to implementyour habit. You don’t want to start on Day 1 with lots of enthusiasm, only todiscover you’re missing something important and can’t proceed.Give yourself every advantage before you begin. Review the article HabitChange Is Like Chess to make sure you account for the early game, middlegame, and endgame of habit change. Don’t fall into the trap of blitzing forScholar’s Mate and putting yourself in a disadvantaged position from Day 1.
Identify Supporting Habits
Take time to identify any supporting habits that will support your main habit,thereby supporting your primary goal as well.

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