2020. The start of a new year. The start of a new decade! A clean slate. There can be so much excitement built around new beginnings and the potential that can come from them. We set goals. We begin a new workout routine. We’re determined this year will be different! We’ll follow through on those dreams + goals we left behind last year.
Most (if not all) of our big, scary goals are going to take time. That’s tough to hear in a world of instant gratification! But, those big goals that are gonna take time? They’re usually the ones worth fighting for most!
We set these goals early in the year, then what? What’s our game plan? Without one, it’s easy to get frustrated and give up.
Create Habits to Reach Your Goal
This year, this decade, what if you expand your focus? Once you’ve determined what your goal or resolution is, what if you also determine the daily routines you need to get there? Instead of only focusing on the goal or end result, let’s shift our focus to the habits we need to create to move us one step closer each time we perform them. That way, we’re less likely to throw in the towel when we’re frustrated by not seeing instant results.
For example, let’s say you want to run a 5k this year. That means, you need to create a habit of exercising that includes running to build up your endurance. Does it mean you’ll be able to run a 5k in two weeks? No. But it does mean that you need to create the habit of “being a runner”.
A runner is someone who incorporates regular exercise into their week. Even if it’s 20 minutes a day, a runner uses that time to move them one step closer to that goal of running a 5k. The choices they make for their meals will have an impact on their workout routine. Does that mean they always eat squeaky clean? Not necessarily. But they will incorporate healthier options because they know they feel better when they do and it keeps them motivated to continue running/working out.
Change Your Habits, Change Your Beliefs
As we create this habit and continue to do it on a regular basis, our brain creates a new belief. Perhaps we’ve told ourselves before, “I’m not the exercise type”. Clearly, that’s not helpful. It’s like a free pass we give ourselves to skip a workout again. With the “run a 5k” example above, by consistently exercising, our brain then creates the belief that “I’m someone who doesn’t skip a workout” because of our behavior. Pretty cool, huh?
“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.”– F.M. Alexander
So, instead of focusing only on the goal or resolution you have for the new year, let’s also consider the habit you need to get there. What habit will move you one step closer to your goal each time you perform it? As F.M. Alexander stated on the importance of habits, “people do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” THAT is what keeps you moving forward + toward your goal.
*I’m a work-in-progress over here and a big fan of learning. This information comes from podcasts/interviews and a book I just started called “Atomic Habits” by James Clear – check it out!