Many people make New Year resolutions, but by the end of January, they abandon them. This occurs because they haven’t built habits into their daily life that help them accomplish their goals.
When I think of what has contributed to the successes that I have seen by others and even my own successes, I always come back to a common theme - habits. What is inspiring about habits? They occur without effort because they are what we do without thinking. Habits are learned patterns of behavior and since these behaviors are done repeatedly, they become embedded in how we act. They hold extreme power because they act unmindfully by taking the minimum of conscious thought as they dictate and control behavior.
If we can build our success around helpful habits, then we will more likely have success occurring all the time because our habits influence our minute-by-minute behavior. Your daily habits help you as you pursue your goals, and your goals provide you with focus for your life.
So why do I bring this up at the beginning of February? Because we see people quitting their newly formed goals (resolutions) due to the fact that they haven’t incorporated daily habits and goal planning into their lives.
I was recently inspired to sign up for a 17-day bicycle tour which will span four states (CA, AZ, NM & TX) which starts at the end of April. To prepare for this challenge I needed to establish a daily training habit, so I signed up for the Race Across Alaska Winter Challenge which means I have pledged to ride, walk or run 2,000 miles by March 20th. This will help me get into shape and prepare for my real goal: the 17-day ride. My first challenge will help me prepare for my second challenge.
I believe that to be serious about achieving a goal, this type of goal planning needs to occur. Here are some of the steps I take when establishing my goals.
- Creating a goal and writing it down
- Establishing an action plan
- Developing a timeline
- Taking action
My first challenge is 2,000 miles. From December 21 to March 20, I know there will be days when I can’t ride, so I have a plan in place to help me reach 2,000 miles. If I average 200 miles per week, I can keep this goal in sight. Another helpful tip for goal setting: I always share my goals with others. My first goal is extremely public and listed on the Race Across Alaska Winter Challenge website. If I want to be successful with my goal, it must be made known by more than myself.
Building new habits and replacing some of our bad habits can provide the greatest impact in positively changing our lives. First, I want to encourage you to think about the power of habits and second, I compel you to reflect on your own habits. See if your current habits align with your best vision and aspirations for yourself. It is in our virtual unthinking behavior, driven by habits, which will determine where our destination will be. You may have goals for your health and fitness, for your family or for your finances. These principles are true for any desired outcome.
What are you striving to achieve this year? Do you have a plan in place?