Why Habits Are So Much More Effective Than Goals

Posted on: Dec 21, 2018

Categories: Goal Setting

Happy 2019!

If you heard my conversation with my friend Craig in my most recent podcast episode, you heard the secret to making 2019 the best year of your life. (If you haven’t listened to it yet, check it out here.)

No, it’s not goal setting, and it’s not future-casting. As much as I’m an advocate for those things, Craig helped me to realize that making positive change in our lives isn’t just about the goals we set: It’s about the habits we form.

For example, Craig has written 16 books. Want to know how? It’s not because he decided to write 16 books one New Year’s Day: It’s because he disciplined himself to wake up every morning, read for 15 minutes and write for 30 minutes.

We’re not all Craig Heimbuch when it comes to sticking to habits. But whether you have lofty goals that you never reach or consistent habits that you faithfully implement, I want to encourage you this year to think more about your day-to-day habits than your 2019 goals.

Creating a habit is no easy task. How many people do you know who buy themselves a gym membership in January as part of their New Year’s resolution, only to stop going in February?

Why is this? Why is it so difficult to make ourselves do the things we claim to want to do? (And why can’t we all be Craig?)

I’d say it’s because we aren’t response-able. So many of us claim to have control over our actions, but in reality, we spend most of our time just reacting to the world around us. Too often, we let our iPhones, our laptops, our tiredness or even our family tell us what to do, hushing the inner voice that tells us what we need to do. But you can break the cycle! Instead of waking up and letting the world tell him what to do, Craig tells himself what to do. 

What can you start telling yourself to do? Rather than setting a big goal for 2019, start a habit tomorrow, and make it small. Maybe you challenge yourself to wake up 10 minutes earlier. Maybe you read for 15 minutes before you go to sleep. I’m not going to promise that waking up earlier will form a new “early bird” habit for you, but it may wake you up to the benefits of starting your day on time and not just rushing to everything throughout the day.

Who knows, you may find out that it’s nice to be able to finish your morning cup of coffee, to sit and think and prepare for your day for a moment, or even that traffic isn’t as bad when you leave earlier.

If nothing else, challenge yourself to fight against old habits this week, to be response-able. Think before you act in every moment, and you will be amazed at the life you can create.

Happy New Year!