Many people struggle to stay organized and focused, which results in poor results and habits. Habits take a minimum of 21 days of consistency to build. About 90 consistent days to become a part of your lifestyle. And the longest time it takes for a habit to become a part of your everyday life is 254 days. Only 8% of people who set goals actually achieve them. If you’re reading this, I know you’re someone who wants to increase that percentage. You can do it. The majority of people fail to complete their goals because they set intentional goals, but don’t take intentional action every single day towards their goals. I’m going to share tips on how you can start to take intentional action.
Here are 6 tips to create habits that will stick this year:
1. Establish an emotional connection to your goals
When I ask my time management clients to set goals, I also have them identify an emotion they would feel if they were to achieve said goal. If you don’t have a meaningful reason to accomplish your goal, it won’t feel important and urgent enough to complete for you. Additionally, don’t just set goals that you feel you “should” complete based on society’s standards. I’ve heard so many people say they want to wake up at 5am because they think they should do that, in order to be more productive. That’s not true for everyone. Make sure that you have a logical and emotional connection to your new habit before you start taking action.
Ask yourself: What will achieving my goal make me feel? Independent, free, strong, confident?
2. Set S.M.A.R.T goals
S.M.A.R.T goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. If your goals aren’t specific, you simply won’t achieve them. If your goal is to become more confident. How will you achieve that? What’s your benchmark for success? What does the more confident version of you look like specifically? Vague goals will cause confusion, clear goals will ignite action. Here’s an example of a vague goal and a S.M.A.R.T one:
- Start a blog
- Launch a lifestyle blog on 4/1/21 that generates $5,000 in 1 year
3. Schedule time in your calendar to work on your goal
The cadence depends on you but I recommend scheduling in time to work on your goal AT LEAST once a week, to begin with. Start small. Don’t give yourself an audacious task, to begin with. If you want to wake up at 6am but you currently wake up at 8am, try waking up 15 minutes early each day until you get to 6am. If you desire to read a book a month, start by reading a page a day, then do a chapter, then two. To start exercising more, try a 10 minute YouTube exercise once a week (I love workouts by MadFit) then work yourself up to an hour-long workout a few times a week.
4. Try habit stacking
One way to create habits that stick is to attach a new habit to a habit you already do. For instance, if you want to read a book a month, try adding reading every morning when you are drinking your morning coffee/tea. Since you habitually drink your coffee/tea in the morning already, attaching reading to it would help you to associate the two and build your reading habit. Try doing the same set of actions in the same order each day to create a habitual routine.
5. Set a consistent time frame for your habit
Most of us brush our teeth at the same time daily. That habit occurs without us even thinking about it. When you’re seeking to build a habit, it’s best to choose a consistent time when you’ll complete the task. Thus, if you want to start meditating daily, set a time to do it every day. Then set an alarm on your phone to remind you as you build the habit. Habits are created by motivation, ability, and a trigger. If you find yourself struggling to implement a new habit, ask yourself, why do I find building this habit hard? Then reflect on how can you make it easier to achieve this habit. What support do you need to achieve your goals?
6. Track your progress
Nothing gets people motivated like tracking their accomplishments. Seeing yourself winning and checking in on your habits holds you accountable. I highly recommend either tracking your progress in your planner or downloading a habit tracking app like Way of Life. Having a reward for working on your habits helps your brain figure out if this particular task is worth remembering for the future.
For instance, when I worked my 9 to 5 and was building my blog, I was often tired and unmotivated to do it on weeknights. To train myself to be disciplined and actually develop the habit of working on my side business, I would reward myself with a dessert or by watching my favorite show. In due time, I was creating consistent weekly content and making money with my side business while managing my job.
Cheers to achieving our goals in 2021!! It’s time to be where the money resides. P.S. I highly recommend reading Atomic Habits, it’s a game-changer book!