So you’ve set some goals and started taking action. That’s great! Somewhere along the journey you’ll most likely will find yourself stalling. I don’t mean to be negative, it’s normal. We don’t drift into success.
Reaching your goals takes a lot of work. And they don’t call it the messy middle for no reason.
Most people give up on their goals only a few weeks into the new year. By the second week of February 80% of people are facing disappointment rather than feeling the momentum of their efforts.
Unfortunately 92% of people who set new years goals or resolutions will fail to achieve them.
Like I said earlier, it’s normal.
But there’s good news, there is something you can do that will help make reaching your goals a whole lot easier!
One of the secrets to reaching your goals with a lot less effort is to create habits that help you achieve them. It feels a bit like cheating, but in a good way!
If you have my FUSElife Planner Playbook, you’ll know that success is not a formula, or a one size fits all solution. Success is built on a solid foundation of principles. One of them being routines and habits.
I talk about routines and habits together because they are so intimately connected.
A habit is a three step loop made up of a cue, routine and reward. The cue is the trigger that starts the routine. And when the routine is complete it’s followed by the reward.
I’ll give you an example of what the three step habit loops looks like and how they can support your goals.
When I’m in the midst of working on a big project, I would often reach a point when I’d find myself wandering to the kitchen to make a cup of fruity tea or grab a snack. Afterward, I’d feel ready to dive back in and keep working.
So what was happening in that habit loop? And is it supporting my goals?
The reason for my behaviour was the need for a short break after working for an extended period of time or when I needed some inspiration for new ideas.
Feeling the need for a break I would choose something that felt good in the moment, but didn’t give me the result I actually needed. It was an easy feel good action. While it did give me a break, in this case my habit loop wasn’t helping me achieve my goals.
A better habit loop would be to take a break sooner, using a timer if needed as the trigger. Instead of going to the kitchen, I could go for a short walk, read an article on the back deck (one of the perks of working at home) or have quick chat with someone.
I’m an extrovert when it comes to creative solutions so these activities would have help me achieve my goals of being refreshed, discovering new ideas and not putting on unnecessary weight from snacking.
You can create general routines and habits that support broad goals or you can create them to achieve more specific goals.
I have a general morning and evening routine that supports the broad goals for who I want to be as a person. I call these activities my non-negotiables. The activities that make up my routines include exercise, reading, prayer and gratitude journalling along with an early bed time.
For a more specific goal of keeping my accounts up to date I created the habit of scheduling 2 hours each week for doing my book work.
The medium Classic Planner kit.
So how can you use habits to support your goals?
1. Reflect : Journal your thoughts
Decide on your goal. This can be a broad, general goal or a more specific goal like my examples above. Know why this goal is important and the result you’re wanting to achieve. Journal your thoughts so you can come back to it for motivation + inspiration as you work towards your goal.
2. Collect : Make a list
Write down a list of the habits that will help you reach your goal. It’s best to add one new habit at a time. Once you have this new habit established you can always add more later.
3. Connect : Make a plan
Incorporate these new habits into your routine. The easiest way to establish a new habit is to include the new activity in a current routine. Keep your routine simple to begin with and add one habit at a time for greater success.
Be prepared for interruptions to your plan. Decide what you can do upfront when life doesn’t go to plan, if this happens then I will …
Heidi Grant found, from more than 200 studies, that if-then planners are 300% more likely than others to reach their goals.
“If-then plans work because contingencies are built into our neurological wiring. Humans are very good at encoding information in “If x, then y” terms and using those connections (often unconsciously) to guide their behavior. When people decide exactly when, where, and how they will fulfill their goals, they create a link in their brains between a certain situation or cue (“If or when x happens”) and the behavior that should follow (“then I will do y”). In this way, they establish powerful triggers for action.”
And having your habits attached to a routine helps you to get back on track more easily when life doesn’t go to plan.
For help establishing a strong foundation, including routines + habits, grab your copy of the FUSElife Planner Playbook.
Enjoy automated success
When you make an action into a habit, you do it automatically, like you’re on autopilot. Our brains love it when we don’t have to use energy to make the same decision over and over. So use this gift to your advantage and create habits that help you achieve your goals.