Are Your Habits in Line with Your Goals?
September 29, 2016 | Amy Cattaneo
Which is more important? Your habits or your goals? It’s a trick question. The important part is to make sure they are in line with each other. The best way to do that is to write them down. Yes, write it down. The reason it’s important to do this is only YOU decide how you want to look and feel. YOU get to decide how long it will take you to reach a goal and YOU decide what YOU want to do each day to get there. We are going to go step by step on this. So grab a pen and a few sheets of paper and let’s get started!
First, divide the paper into two sides, GOALS & HABITS.
Next, write down what you are trying to achieve under the Goals section.
Now, write down the habits you are willing to do. Be sure to write down what you will or are ACTUALLY doing, not what you WISH you can do. It’s incredibly important to be realistic with yourself. Think of your life as it is RIGHT NOW and what you can do on a day to day basic consistently. Don’t think about what others do or what do you have done in the past.
See the example below:
Let’s say this is a person brand new to working out and eating healthy. The habits are what she honestly feels she can handle and stick to. Looking at the goals, do you think the habits are in line and she will be able to accomplish what she wants within three months?
For the average person, they are not. In order to lose 20lbs in 3 months, she would have to lose a little under 2 pounds a week. This usually requires working out more frequently and tightening up eating habits to where you are eating only whole foods about 85 – 90% of the time. In order to run a 5k, she would need to include more running.
Even with the best of intentions it is VERY easy to not have your habits match up with your goals. It’s hard to see it when it’s not written down in black and white. So the answer is her problem would be to fix her habits, right? She needs to get her butt in gear and work harder! Not necessarily. Remember, the habits should be what you can REALISTICALLY do. If at this point in her life, she doesn’t feel she can work out more, than trying to do so may work against her. It may cause her more stress and lead her to quit working out all together. Having 6 - 7 cheat meals and Starbucks 3 - 4 times a week may seem like too much for someone who wants to lose weight but what if she was eating fast food all the time and having Starbucks daily? Now, her new habits don’t seem so bad after all. In fact, they are actually a huge improvement. Trying to push herself even further at this point in her journey may actually be setting her up to fail.
There is NOTHING wrong with giving yourself permission and time to get used to new habits. It’s going to take longer to achieve the goals but why is that always viewed as a bad thing? Is it not better to go at the pace you are comfortable with and achieve them than to push yourself to such an edge that you give up?
So her new GOAL/HABIT list would like something like this:
Now the habits and goals are better matched up. Yes it’s going to take longer but it will be more manageable and feel like a win!
In some situations, people are able to change their habits. Let’s say there was another person that has been working out for a few months and is reassessing her goals. Here’s what her GOALS/HABITS would look like:
The point of this exercise is to come to an agreement with YOURSELF with what you need and want to do and how long it will take. Some people can cut out all the "bad" choices and habits and only have the good stuff and workout consistently, no matter where they are or what's going on in their lives. They will reach their goal much faster. Someone like that can see drastic results in a three months. Other people take the complete opposite approach, adding in only one good habit a week or taking one "bad" habit out and doing that until it becomes routine. This person is obviously going to take way longer to reach their goals. It doesn't mean it won't happen for them though. It just means they have to realize it will take a long time. You just have to figure out where you land on that spectrum. And embrace it! There is no right or wrong time frame for accomplishing goals. Each of us are going down a different path with different habits. Figure out what yours are and keep working towards them!
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