Habits Determine Your Future
Updated: Jan 4
It might seem a little early for new year’s resolutions, but perhaps planning and preparing early could be the secret to success. Many people make their new year’s resolutions at the start of the new year, spontaneously jumping into a plan. However, most January resolutions end within a few weeks.
By the end of the year, there’s only about 9% of people that have stuck with their resolutions. Why is there such a failure rate for these goals? The only way to achieve a goal is to turn the steps necessary for completion into daily habits. By turning your goal into a habit, you will make consistent progress, working ever closer to your finish line. Almost any goal can be turned into a habit as long as you take the proper steps.
The problem with goals is they are designed to have an end point. What happens after you cross that finish line? If the proper steps were not taken while working towards a goal, more often than not, once the end is reached, people revert back to their original pattern. This is why so many people get caught in a yo-yo diet pattern. Unless steps are taken to develop healthy eating habits, steps that become part of your everyday routine, most people gain back what was lost during their “goal” period.
If, instead of focusing on achieving a specific goal, efforts were directed into forming long-term beneficial habits we would allow ourselves continuous improvement in our day to day lives. Those little step and micro changes become a lifestyle that drives the direction of your life, steering you, not just towards a finish line, but in a constant upward climb.
People often backslide while working on their goals, which can make it harder to get back on track again. When that happens the most important thing to do is ask yourself, “What am I going to do NOW?” If you work on the basic tasks that support the goal, it will make it much easier to get back on track. All goals and habits are supported by tasks. The tasks are the
little things, and doing those with skill brings the success of completing a larger goal.
Habits allow for a shift in your mindset. By slowly and steadily building good habits, once formed, those actions become automatic. Once fully ingrained, a habit can last a lifetime, and that single habit can have a ripple effect, creating more upward flow throughout your life. For example, by establishing the positive habit of setting money aside from every paycheck into a savings account you develop a mindset of saving which helps you make more frugal and well thought out decisions.
It also takes time to break bad habits. The surest way to overcome bad habits, which can slow our progress and make achieving goals much harder, is to replace the bad habit with something good. If you remove a bad habit, it will leave a hole in your routine, leaving space for all kinds of things to creep in. Be sure to focus on developing a good habit to replace the bad one before focusing on adding other new habits or goals.
Instead of having new year’s resolutions this coming January, perhaps this time you can choose to develop a good habit that can lead you to more long-term success.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle