This is way more important than New Year's Resolutions
It’s that time of year. New Year’s resolutions and setting goals for the year. It is SO important to have stretch goals - long-term visions of what you want for the future in every aspect of your life, from family to finances to career - but those aren’t New Year’s resolutions. Those are dreams and aspirations.
New Year’s resolutions describe short- to mid-term goal you have (like losing weight, finally finishing the book you’ve been working on for 2 years, getting rid of your debt). Unfortunately, most of us don’t achieve these goals. Did you know that 92% of people don’t fulfill their New Year’s resolutions? That means only 8% of people do.
How can you be one of the 8%?
Great news, the research is clear and tells you exactly what you need to do.
It’s important to have goals – big aspirations. But that’s not enough, to achieve those goals you need to change your habits. If you can create daily habits that help you reach your goals you are on a clear path to success.
Say you want to be a New York Times best-selling author (your big dream). Before you reach that stretch goal, you need to publish a book. To publish a book you need to write a book. And what do you need to do to write a book? You need to write. You need to write EVERYDAY.
This is where people often get off track. They realize what they need to do daily and then they decide to create a really big habit, “I’m going to write 5000 words a day”. Day 1 is great, they write 6000 words. By Day 4 things are slowing down and they only reach 3000. On Day 5 they feel less motivated and decide to take the day off. Then it’s hard to start back up again. Before you know it weeks have gone by and they haven’t written anything.
Sound familiar? This happens to all of us. If anyone tries to tell you that they can maintain huge ambitious daily habit like this over a long period of time, they are lying.
The key to success is to have BIG goals and tiny habits.
In order to reach those stretch goals, you need to work towards them EVERY SINGLE DAY. In order to continue to work on something daily, you need to make the daily habit really, really achievable.
Say you want to work on writing that book - instead of making a daily goal of 5000 words, instead make a goal of 50 words. Yes 50 words!!!! Some days you will go way above your 50 words, but some days you won’t, and that’s perfectly fine. In fact writing the 50 words on those days that you really don’t feel like it is actually a bigger win than writing 5000 words on a day you feel inspired. That’s because it’s easy to work towards our goals on the days we feel inspired. It’s really hard to do it on those uninspired days - but that’s how you create a habit. You work towards your goal EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Imagine your stretch goal isn’t to become a New York Times bestselling author, but instead to run a marathon - and you are starting 50 lbs overweight with absolutely not running experience. Don’t worry about how far you want to be by March, September, or December. Focus on what you need to do every single day. Don’t plan to run for 2 miles or for 30 minutes - this is way too ambitious for a daily habit. Pick something much smaller, like you want to run for 3 minutes. Yes 3 minutes.
Working towards a marathon is also an interesting goal because you don’t actually want to run daily, but the key to success is to make something a daily habit. So what do you do? You pick another physical activity to do on the other days. Since running can make your legs pretty tight, you could pick something active, but that involves stretching, like yoga. So a daily habit would be to run or do yoga every day for 3 minutes. Yes, you can always do more, but the most important part is to do just 3 minutes every single day. If you are getting into your PJs and realize that you haven’t done your 3 minutes yet, you can literally stretch for 3 minutes and know that you worked on your daily habit.
How can you achieve your 2019 goals?
As you think about what you want to achieve in 2019, stop focusing on goals and resolutions and instead shift your efforts to the one thing that predicts success - building daily habits.
Figure out what you daily habit will help you achieve your stretch goals. Then decide on a very small daily habit that is so easy to accomplish that it almost seems ridiculous. You might decide to write 50 words a day, do one pushup, exercise for 3 minutes, spend 1 minute a day meditating.
Imagine if you could change your future by committing to just 1 minute a day.