Being three months into the new year with our resolutions, let’s talk about those goals you may have set. Most goals are a fixed point desire like, lose 30 pounds; learn to speak French; achieve 10% profit; reduce expenses by 5%. Business and Personal goals all need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive. So, why is it that we often don’t achieve by December what we set out to in January? After years of personal experience, watching other people, having some success and some dismal failures, I’ve come to believe that the underlying foundation is creating habits.
How do you create habits that help you reach your goals?
Simply put, the goal is what we want to achieve by a specific time while the habit is the skills and techniques that will keep us on the path to achieving the goal.
Habit: noun. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary; a dominant or regular disposition or tendency; prevailing character or quality; addiction.
Goal: noun. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.
Breaking our goals down to “what habits do I need to develop to make this goal reality” would likely help us reach our new year’s resolutions handily.
- If we want to lose 30 pounds by year end, we will have to create a habit of eating right and exercising more. We will have to monitor it regularly (getting on the scales) and tracking the weekly or monthly results. If we set the goal in January, change no habits we will likely get on the scale in December and discover no change or change in the wrong direction.
- If we want to have 10% profit margin by the end of the year we will have to increase sales or decrease expenses or some combination of the two. We will have to make small habit changes to achieve this goal. Building a habit of deliberately reviewing expenses, evaluating before spending and reviewing monthly takes a different mindset than doing the same thing we did last year and expecting different results.
Those two examples should give you some ideas as to how your business goals or personal resolutions can be tweaked at the beginning of the second quarter (April 1) to achieve the results you desire.
I’ve often heard that doing something for 21 days creates a habit, I find that creating new habits can be a lifelong project that takes continual review, corrections and motivation.
What have you found that makes helps your goals happen?