Crush 2018 by Focusing on Habits, not Resolutions
January is here and so are New Year's Resolutions. The only problem is that over 90% of us will not succeed in hitting our resolutions. Why? Because focusing on an outcome doesn't deliver results! How about if you did something a little different this year to make sure you actually hit your goals? It's time to focus on the process, or lifestyle behaviors, that will lead to the outcomes we want.
Working towards a huge task without focusing on the underlying behaviors is the mistake that most make. At enduraLAB we believe on simplifying your goals and resolutions into systems of daily/weekly/monthly rituals or habits. They're easier to complete, set you up for small victories and can take you to your goal and beyond. Plus, they're not as daunting or stressful!
How do we set up a system of habits for our clients' goals at enduraLAB? Here are six steps to get you started.
- Reflect. Take a look back at last year and what you've learned. 2017 was a big year for us with our expansion of our business and space. We've learned a ton and plan on using that to make 2018 even better. We can't just discard our past and expect something totally different to happen this year. Understand your past...the failures, the successes...and go into your 2018 planning with that knowledge.
- Prioritize. Write down your 2-3 most important outcome-based goals or resolutions (but no more). These could be anything. Think about what you want to achieve in 2018. Maybe it's obtaining a certain body composition number, finishing a degree or certification or making a certain profit in your business. Make sure that these are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific | Measurable | Achievable | Relevant | Time-bound) For our example, the goal is running a half marathon.
- Break it down. Now for the real magic...write down 3-5 behavioral goals that will provide the system to achieve the outcome-based goals. These are your desired habits that, when completed, will achieve your goals without even thinking about them. We prefer daily habits due to the repetition (which will help the habit become automatic). For example, if your outcome-based goal is to run a half marathon one of your behavioral goals is to run every weekday morning.
- Define the trigger. In Charles Duhigg's book, The Power of Habit, he discusses that at the core of every habit is a loop consisting of three parts. The cue, or trigger, initiates a routine that delivers a craving, or reward, for the individual. Our goal is to chose an anchor behavior that will trigger our new action. Since we're wanting to run every morning we can say, "After I wake up, I will put on my running clothes."
- Create the environment. You need to make your habits so easy, that it's hard not to do. For our example, we could set our running clothes and shoes right next to our alarm (which is hopefully beyond arms-reach from our comfy bed). We also believe in surrounding yourself with the right crew. Be with people who live the lifestyle you want to live.
- Celebrate. When we tell ourselves “good job” or something else that makes us feel good, we get a hit of dopamine in our brain. Besides giving us pleasure in the moment, it reinforces our new action. Finding the right reward takes a little bit of experimentation. For our example, maybe it's as simple as posting your run on Facebook, enjoying a cup of coffee on the front porch or getting a high five from your running buddy.
Over time, which can be days or weeks, your new habit becomes automatic. Then it's time to rinse and repeat, building a collection of habits that allow that end goal, or resolution, to manifest itself. Now we don't expect perfect. You will mess up, make mistakes and find yourself off track. That's okay. Stay consistent and progress will follow!