As New Years approaches, all of our feeds will soon be filled with goal setting ideas, new year new me posts, and plans for how to stick with our 2021 intentions.
This is our yearly tradition – make goals in January that at least one third of us will have abandoned by March.
I have an idea this year. Why don’t we finally ditch the goal setting…
..in favor of habit tracking!
At first glance, there’s only a minute difference between the two, right? This difference can have a HUGE impact on success, though. It’s the difference between “I want this plane to be flying” and “I’m going to start the engine and begin taxi-ing.”
Habit tracking is monitoring and altering the small details of our daily lives in order to magnify real change, and it can be applied to nearly every New Years Resolution you can think of. As with any goal setting, breaking the process down into bite sized actions is the quickest way to get started achieving. Keeping track is also important. This can be done in an old school calendar or spreadsheet, or with one of the numerous apps available like the Momentum Habit Tracker.
Instead of setting your 2021 goal of finally writing your book, decide to write 1,000 words a day. Check in daily and then weekly to see if you’re accomplishing this smaller task. If not, scale it back to 100 words until you are experiencing success. Making time in your schedule for daily writing is the habit that is vital to actualizing the goal. Once this activity becomes a habit, increasing the difficulty (word count) is a lot more manageable.
It also helps if your habits are additive rather than subtractive. Instead of making a weight loss resolution, consider tracking your exercise with the intention of being active three times a week, or challenging yourself to add a veggie to each meal. Positive pre-framing really makes a difference in your attitude and therefore your probability of success.
I can tell you first hand it works as once you get going you don’t want to break your streak. Want another example of someone who successfully used this approach – how about Jerry Seinfeld, famous comedian. Some people even call this the “Seinfeld Strategy.” To learn more about his method, click here. To learn more about habit forming, I am a huge fan of Atomic Habits by James Clear and have just started reading it again.
Why not ditch the list of pie in the sky goals this year and focus instead on the immediate path ahead? The tiny ripples we make on the daily will build into waves of development down stream.
“You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” James Clear
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