Happy New Year!
If you’ve made New Years resolutions in the past, you know how hard it can be to stick to them.
The biggest problem is often figuring out how to balance your priorities. If you have had trouble balancing work, family, spirituality, health, wealth, then you know what it feels like when you put more than you can handle on your plate.
Because of that, I’ve always been an avid fan of setting goals regularly and recalibrating them throughout the year.
Over the past 3 months, I started using a whiteboard to tackle goal setting for my 5 top Priorities.
Using something I call 'The Backtracker Exercise’, it helps me take a quick birds eye view of the foreseeable future, along with what’s important today.
The Backtracker Exercise
There are only 2 reasons why we fail in hitting our goals.
1. Lack of Dedication. (Failure to keep your commitment to what it would take to reach the goal)
When we set goals, sometimes we get caught up in the spur of the moment. We feel good about a new cause, a vision for the future, and a potential to make things better than what they are now. Our enthusiasm is at it's peak when we make that decision to hit a goal.
Unfortunately, as time passes, our enthusiasm for that goal decreases. Obstacles pop up, emotions such as complacency and laziness take over, and we figure that maybe even if we don't follow through with an action that is tied to helping us achieve that goal, we could always just do it some other time. Our mentality starts to slacken, and we don't really want to do it anymore.
It's just that simple.
We simply fail to follow through.
2. Lack of Understanding (Failure to comprehend what it takes to reach the goal)
The other reason we fail to reach a goal is because we don't KNOW what it takes to reach that goal! We either fail to take into account the obstacles that may appear or the time, money and effort necessary. Other times, unknown circumstances arise that force us to recalibrate our goals.
Short but sweet. Before you set your next goal, ask yourself if you fully understand what it will take to hit it.
Keys to Success (Pt III): Beneficial Habits
Last week, consistently, I was sleeping in for one to two hours extra each morning. My days felt longer and more draining, despite the fact that I was getting extra sleep! I asked myself, "why was this happening?" The answer? Quite simply put, based on my BMR, the amount of food i was consuming and the energy I was using during the day, I just didn't need that much sleep. I was being lazy and I knew it was a bad habit. Other bad habits generally include regular procrastination on things we don't want to do, or delaying proper action.
Habits constitute powerful constraints, both good and bad. They represent past solutions that worked well enough to become entrenched in the system. Worked well enough in the sense that you saw it pleasing enough to keep it in your life. One example could be starting bikram's yoga out of curiosity and then consistently getting up at 5:00am every morning because the pain of getting up that early is replaced by the pleasure of peaceful meditation and stretching. Why not use habits to constrain yourself to good practices in your daily life? Fitness routines, proper diets, dedicated working hours and routine reading schedules are all part of beneficial habits.
Habits also represent social learning about what is right/wrong. We inherently know which of our habits are beneficial to our life and which ones aren't. It's not difficult to see what is needed to be changed.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not AN act, but a habit." - Aristotle
The quote above highlights the idea that excellence and success is not a single act, but more a continuous repetition of deliberate practice. Malcolm Gladwell's concept of Outliers, anyone?
If I recall correctly, I think it was Stephen Covey who proposed that it takes 21 consecutive days to form a habit. Luckily for you, today can be Day One to start a new one.
If you've ever been in a business class, you've probably heard the term: key success factor, a factor/input that generates a positive result related to your goals/plans.
Today, here is one that applies to success in EVERYTHING: Accepting inconvenience and acting anyways.
When you set new goals, guess what? The actions necessary for you to hit those goals are NEW as well.
When we try to implement new habits, they are not already part of our lives. Actions such as waking up earlier, going for a run, going to class regularly, starting daily reading, starting yoga or improv classes are not part of our routine. The classic example of New Year's resolutions such as becoming healthy by going to the gym is not already part of our lifestyle on a consistent basis. Even venturing to eating regularly may be difficult to keep consistent.
Going to the gym is inconvenient.
Cooking lunch or dinner for the next day is inconvenient.
Commuting to a yoga class is inconvenient.
Waking up early is inconvenient.
The reason people are SUCCESSFUL with their goals is because they continue on DESPITE the inconvenience of it all. Inconvenience is going to come with every new thing you throw yourself into, until it becomes regulated and incorporated over a length of time (21-40 days normally). Accept inconvenience and act anyways.
Don't gripe about it, just do it. Food for thought. ;)
A blog on my continuing journey through life, covering self-development and success strategies, but also personal reflection.