Goals vs Habits. Which Should You Focus on?

We all set goals. Especially at unique moments; a new year, a new month, a new week. We feel that extra drive and motivation to reach a particular target. But to a lot of us, after a few weeks or months, these goals are forgotten. Either because we get caught up in our busy schedules or we rationalise to ourselves why that goal cannot be reached.

Most times, when we sit down to set our goals, we never consider habits; creating new ones or getting rid of old ones.

The Problem with Goals

Goals are temporary
One huge disadvantage of focusing only on goals is that there is an end point. After achieving what you want, you ask yourself, “what’s next?” This makes a lot of people fall back into their old ways, especially if it is a short term goal. Assuming an individual wants to live an healthy lifestyle and sets a weight loss goal. What happens after achieving this goal? The probability of this individual returning to habits like binge eating and living a sedentary lifestyle is very likely to occur.

You don’t feel successful until you achieve your goals
Human beings are naturally inclined to want things immediately. If we don’t see results at once, there is a high tendency we give up. Still on the individual with the fitness goal. He or she could be very dedicated towards achieving this goal in the first few weeks. If there is not a visible change in size or weight, this person is likely to stop all effort towards achieving said goal.

The Benefits of Habits

Habits enable you to achieve your goal and exceed it
Habits help you focus on the bigger picture and achieving long term goals. The goal should be creating a lifestyle that you want to live. You might forget about your original goal and still see yourself making much more progress than you imagined.

Habits are easier to accomplish
A goal could either be long term or so big, that achieving it looks close to impossible. Habits on the other hand require you starting small. Doing little things everyday accumulate over time and provide a constant source of motivation.

Goals are important because they give you direction. They give you a sense of purpose. They give you the assurance that you are working towards something. They make you strive to achieve more in every aspect of your life; school, relationships, work.

Habits, on the other hand help you achieve your goals. You might spend a lot of time planning what goals you want to reach but if you do not take the steps needed to achieve them, you would remain at the same spot.

Goals and habits should not be seen as two separate things. They should both be utilised in improving the quality of our lives.

Dream big, set goals. But in the process of planning, also set measures to get there. Little steps to take. Always start small. If you want to lose weight, start by taking a five minute walk every day. If you want to learn an instrument, practice for ten minutes. In time, you would be the person you want to be and also see yourself ticking off targets set.

First we make our habits, then our habits make us – Charles C. Nobel

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