What is your goal in life?
For some, it is to get into shape or to get rich. For others, it is to see the world. Now, what is your daily goal? The daily goal is far more important than the overarching goal – at least if you really want to achieve the things that you’re dreaming of. And why is that?
Goals Are Often too Vague
The big issue is that for many of us, our goals are much too broad and much too vague. Even if you have a ‘specific target’ like losing 5 stone in a year, this is still much too broad and vague.
Losing that amount of weight is not entirely within your control. There are lots you can do to increase or decrease your chances of success. Of course, you’re mostly responsible… but there are other factors at play here too like your health or metabolism.
What’s more, is that having a goal that is that far away can actually make it all too easy to cheat. You know you have a year to lose the weight, so what does it matter if you eat a bit of cake today?
Daily Goals Fix All That
But daily goals fix all that. Start with a vision – a very abstract vision of what you want – and then break that down into the smallest possible steps that you can execute every day or every week.
In the case of losing weight, your goal might be to eat no more than 1,800 calories a day or to go for at least a 10-minute run every day. That’s a small goal but it’s perfect for sticking to because it is completely within your control.
If you don’t manage to run just that little bit, then you only have yourself to blame. There are no excuses to be made – it’s pass or fails. But at least tomorrow you can try again.
And guess what? If you keep accomplishing those smaller daily goals, they eventually add up. Eventually, you manage that big goal.
And the same goes for every other type of objective too. The best way to earn money is to build a business a little every day. And the best way to write a novel is to write a page every night!(Source)
Every success is made of good habits. Every failure is made of bad ones.
But, if you really want a new habit to stick in good times and bad, you have to practice it enough for it to become automatic. Your new good habit should become so automatic, that you no longer even need to think about it – you just do it.
And that is easier than you might think, it just takes a little time. According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes an average of 66 days for a new habit to become automatic.
It’s sort of like when you learned to drive a car – at first, it was difficult but, as you became more practiced at it, it became easier.
Now when you get in your car and drive somewhere, you probably don’t even have to think about when to brake, or change gears, etc. In fact, how many times have you driven somewhere without even noticing how many times you had to stop, for example?
Your goal should be to make your new habits as automatic as that. Let’s say, for example, you want to go for a run every morning. Imagine how easy it would be to maintain that schedule if you made it a habit.
That way, all it would take to get you into the mood for the run would be to start putting your shoes on.
Making a habit automatic is simple. Decide on the habit that you want to instill – in our case, running every morning. Next, decide on when you are going to work on the habit. Our brains love to work within a set routine. The more set the routine, the easier it is for a habit to become automatic.
So, set the same time every morning to go out on your run. If you make it the same time every day, the habit is more easily engrained. Next, set up a trigger action that lets your brain know that it is time to run.
This is something that you will do just before the new habit so that your brain associates the trigger with the habit. In our case, it could be something like putting on a pair of socks and shoes. Or you could play your favorite song. Now go out and run.
Commit to doing this every day for the next 66 days and follow through. Run every, single morning for the next 66 days so that the habit is instilled. It might not take as long as that for you but keep at it, and your new habit will become firmly engrained.
And, once you have succeeded with one habit, start working on the next one to keep the momentum going.
Step 1 – Have a Vision
First, have your vision. This is your picturesque ideal future and it’s what you really want your life to be. If you have troubles thinking of it, then consider thinking about what has made you happiest in the past, or looking to other people who have lives that you would like to live.
Step 2 – Express a Mission Statement
Take this vision and express it as a mission statement. As yourself what the most important parts of this vision are and what the underlying emotion is that makes you want to achieve that.
Step 3 – Create a Plan
Now you need to create a plan to make that happen. That means that you’re going to think how you’ll satisfy your mission statement in the most logical, realistic and strategic way possible considering your circumstances. This doesn’t have to mean focussing on your career!
Step 4 – Set Goals
Step 5 – Don’t Break the Chain!
Give yourself a tick every day that you complete your goal to avoid breaking the chain. If you are struggling to motivate yourself, then focus on the vision and connect it back to that in your mind. Focus on what doesn’t work too!
Step 6 – Get Help From Others
Don’t tell everyone your goal but tell a few people and get them to introduce some real stakes for you so that you can’t skip your goals so easily. Likewise, look for other people to help you by joining your cause!
Step 7 – Support Your Goals
Look for ways to change your lifestyle to support your goals. That means lifestyle design and thinking how to pick a career, location etc. to help you get the things you want from life and achieve those goals.
Step 8 – Assess and Review
Constantly assess and review your goals in order to make sure that you are really getting the most from them. Address failure points and find ways to improve your chances of successful.
Step 9 – Appreciation
And one final thing that is absolutely fundamental to achieving goals is to remember to appreciate them. This is something that we forget all-too-often and it ultimately can end up making the whole pursuit meaningless.
Imagine it: you finally have that best-selling novel published but then you start to fixate on all the things you didn’t quite manage in that first book. You stress about sales and work on that but meanwhile you start writing your next book immediately.
You’re highly successful, you achieved your dreams but now you just feel stressed! Not ideal. And it makes it all too easy for us to lose the enthusiasm for that original goal.
So make sure that you take the time to enjoy your achievements too and that you factor this into your actual plans. Tony Robbins recommends starting each day by reflecting on what you’ve accomplished and how that makes you feel. Start every day by thinking about the things you’re grateful for – whether that’s a roof over your head, your great health, or maybe your success so far in your career.
This will keep topping up your energy and your optimism and to help you to keep moving forward! You’ve already achieved so much! Keeping that in mind should remind you just how much you can yet achieve.
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