Once you have your goals for the year, the essential next step is to identify the habits that will get you to your goals.
De Bono’s Simplicity makes the point that our brains seek simple routines to run through. Maintaining a habit is easier than making good decisions over and over.
But a habit requires that same, simple path. When my Wii Fit disc quit working, my morning No excuses exercise also quit working. I was able to realize and articulate the truth that I had many other options for 30 minutes of movement first thing in the morning. But I was not able to rebuild the habit. Even knowing that I could do so, I haven’t gotten it done yet.
I bought a new copy of the disc. After thousands of days of Wii Fit, I am confident that I will slip right back into the habit.
I am developing a new habit. I am taking a tea break with a little treat and a big cup of tea at 4:00. Then I work till 6:00 p.m. and have my mindful dinner. No snacking in the evening. By creating a satisfying ritual in the afternoon, I am able to replace casual snacking with tea time followed by dinner — with a net reduction in there eating of sweets.
That habit will help me with my goal of minimizing my sugar intake.
Last year I swapped the habit of doing a little shopping when I first received my paycheck with the habit of making an extra payment on debt. This year, I’m restructuring my food shopping to add a bit more to my debt payment. This habit change will get me to my goal.
Every goal requires a habit or a set of habits that will realize the goal. Then we work hard on the habit until it is… well, a habit. Over time, the habit makes the goal real.
I am currently aligning my goals for the year with supporting habits. I’ll use ritual and discipline to build the new habits into my life.