I have set a lot of goals that I have not reached. Goals that I believed in and had every intention of achieving. I’ve written them down, said affirmations around them, put them on the fridge, a sticky note in my car and shared them for accountability. So why did I fall flat on my face and not achieve them? I thought I was doing everything right. However, what I was not doing was creating habits. Habits that would support my goals.
“Goals Direct Our Future. Your Habits Decide It”
A couple of years ago, one of my new year goals was to kick my diet coke habit and drink more water. New year goals are exciting! You set new goals and find yourself wrapped up in a whirlwind of excitement. Weeks later, sometimes days, you may find it is nearly impossible to figure out how to motivate yourself and you’re trapped in a death spiral of procrastination. I had failed multiple times in the past to kick diet coke to the curb. Why? Because I did not create new habits surrounding this goal. I’ve learned that just goals do not move us forward. It’s the habits we create surrounding our goals that do. That year I was successful in my goal because I created new habits.
Tricks to Create Habits
Commit to 30 days – It takes 66 days to create a new habit. That may sound and feel like a long time. Break it down into what feels manageable to you. One month feels more sustainable than 66 days, fits easily within your calendar and places you well on your way to creating a new habit. Take on a smaller chunk of time and make the commitment.
Start Simple – Don’t try to change your life in one day. It is very easy to get over motivated and take on too much. Pick a goal and work on one or two habits. I started simple. I gave up the mega cup of diet coke and allowed myself one mini can a day for 30 days. It was a simple commitment but one that worked. After two weeks, I changed that mini can of diet coke to plain carbonated water. If your goal is to start each day stress free, start simple. Create a 5 minute meditation morning ritual.
Be Consistent – The more consistent you are, the easier for the habit to stick. If your goal is to get in better shape, forming the habit of exercising is easier if you exercise the same time of day. When cues like time of day, place and circumstances are the same in each case it is easier to stick. Set a schedule for your habits. It puts your decision making on autopilot by giving your new habit a time and a place to live.
Find a replacement – If you goal is to exercise instead sit of watchingTV, try finding a replacement to sitting and watching TV. You can turn on the radio, stream a show on your Ipad while you workout or listen to an audio book. If you are giving something up, make sure you replace it. I kept a large glass of water with me at all times. I took a bottle of carbonated water with me in the car. Running errands triggered by need to hit the drive thru and get a diet coke. Instead I would sip on the carbonated water so I had something to drink and also had the carbonation. I replaced sipping on diet coke at work with sipping on hot tea. Try replacing your old habit with a new habit that will support your goal.
Get a Buddy – Find someone who will go along with you and keep you motivated if you feel like quitting! Having some accountability is helpful when creating a new habit.
Expect a few bumps along the way – Don’t expect to be perfect. Remember it takes 66 days to form a habit. If you fall off, start again and again and again! It took me multiple tries to kick diet coke to the curb.
Remove Temptation – Change your environment so it won’t tempt you in the first thirty days. Remove junk food from your house, cancel your cable subscription, throw out the soda so you are not tempted later. If you remove the temptation, creating the new habit becomes easier.
Write it down – Make a vision board. But wait, you said it didn’t work for you? It is a piece of the process. Writing it down and having it in front of you is a step to creating a new badass habit. Having your goal visually in front of you makes your ideas more clear and focuses you on your end result.
Know the benefits. If your goal is to get more fit, get books that show the benefits of regular exercise. Notice any changes in energy levels after you take on a new diet. I noticed I lost weight when not drinking diet cokes. I lost the brain fog and slept better. If your goal is to make new contacts for your business, notice the benefits when you network. These benefits will help you keep going for the 30 days and keep you on the road to creating your new badass habit!
New Habits for the New Year
Change your mindset to think in the form of habits. Try using the steps above to help you form the habits that surround your goals! You can break a goal but habits, badass habits, will stay with you!