In James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits” he says that “Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress. A handful of problems arise when you spend too much time thinking about your goals and not enough time designing your systems.” When thinking about your career and personal life goals, sometimes the end visions feel so far away that the ability to reach them feels daunting. The key is to not get overwhelmed and think about what small actionable steps you can take towards that end goal. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and often takes consistently making small steps in the right direction to get there. In today’s blog, we’ll talk about how to use habits to reach your goals.
Create a Plan
In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. Let’s take the example of running a marathon. If you’re not in the routine of running, signing up for a marathon next week is probably not going to end up very well for you. It can take months of training and dedication to be successful. You need to think about what actionable steps you can take to bring you closer to your goal. Once you have some ideas in mind, the key is to hold yourself accountable and follow through with your plan. So, sticking with the marathon example, you would find or create a training guide to ease you into running for long distances, such as “Couch to Marathon” plans. Slowly you build up your running distance and time, week by week, and progress over a period of months.
We all love instant gratification, but the truth is big goals take time to achieve. On the journey, you’ll likely have periods where you get discouraged and want to give up. During these tough times, the key is to remind yourself why you’re doing this and to stay consistent. In Atomic Habits, Clear states “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity. This is one reason why meaningful change does not require radical change. Small habits can make a meaningful difference by providing evidence of a new identity. And if a change is meaningful, it actually is big.” While it may feel like you’re not progressing as quickly as you’d like, starting small can help you attain significant results so stay the course and celebrate your milestones along the way.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
When you have a lot of goals in mind, you may be tempted to tackle them all at once, however for most, implementing 1-2 small habits per month is a sustainable amount. Create achievable goals, that you can fit into your daily routine, and don’t try adding in more habits until you’ve mastered the ones you’ve already implemented.