Want to reach your goals? Start with small changes.
We all have objectives we want to hit. This includes our personal goals and our goals for our companies. Unfortunately, most of us never draw up a roadmap for how we are going to reach our targets. When we look at why this is, it usually comes from being overly ambitious. We think we can just change everything at once, so we don’t need a step-by-step game plan. This is often why we don’t succeed. Changing your complete way of life is tough, and doing it all at once is a sure road to failure. Instead, try this approach:
Step 1: Have an enormous goal but break it down into one habit to start.
Whenever New Year’s resolutions come around, I always hear a majority of my friends say they are going to get in shape. They begin by listing all the poor habits they have, and then decide to do a complete makeover. Within a week, they go back to their old habits.
This is because they have a goal but never broke it down. You need challenging goals that you want to achieve. They should be big and ambitious. The problem comes with the next step. You should not try to change your complete way of life, but instead home in on one habit to start. Why? Because changing one part of your life is much easier than trying to do a 180-degree change in a day.
Going back to our get-in-shape example, let’s take two scenarios. The first is the most common, in which we change five or six habits at once and then after a week go back to our old ways. The second scenario is that we just focus on running every day for 30 minutes. The second scenario has a much higher chance of success, and it will allow you to begin the process of getting to that giant goal.
Step 2: Master that one habit.
Once you decide on the one habit that will help you start moving toward your goal, make sure you do it every day. According to scientists, it takes 66 days to turn an action into a habit. Do whatever it takes to get to those 66 days. An easy way to do this is to add your habit in your calendar. Let your family and friends know that for the next two months you’ll be practicing this action religiously.
Step 3: Once mastered, add another habit.
When you’ve mastered your first habit, the hard work is over. Now you can start to add more routines in your life that will get you closer to your goal. Remember to still stay with one action at a time. Our bodies will be overloaded if we try to take on too many changes at once. Also, make sure that you keep the same focus on each new habit you learn. Humans are not built for multitasking, and trying to work on a change while checking your email or texting won’t work.
Over time, you’ll find that adding more changes to your life will become much easier. As with most things, the first time is the hardest. Eventually, your body becomes programmed to adapt to these changes. This will allow you to make transitions more smoothly. As you build up these habits, your goal will start to get much closer. If I mastered running for 30 minutes, that’s a good start. After 66 days, let’s say I start to master eating healthy six days a week. Once that’s complete, I move to mastering weight training. As long as I keep going habit by habit, I will reach my goal of getting in shape. By the time I get to my next New Year’s, getting in shape won’t be a goal but instead an accomplishment.