The key to setting and achieving your goals is to create some healthy habits that will help get you to where you want to be.
We often set ourselves audacious goals like, “I’m going to run 5 kms a day”, without really thinking about what it takes to achieve it.
The reality is, aiming to run that 5 kms is an amazing goal to have, but it’s important to think about what it’s going to take to get there.
For example, if you’re planning to achieve a fitness goal, have you thought about the mechanics required to achieve that goal? Think about how much sleep you’ll need, if you’re going to bed early enough, are you making sure you’re not going to bed with a full stomach, what time you’ll need to set the alarm, making sure your running gear is ready and then, going on that run.
Setting these small achievable goals, and making sure to repeat them regularly, is how we create ‘habit mastery’.
Setting SMARTer goals:
What I like to do is set an overarching goal of say being able to run 5km and then breaking it down into all the little habits that will help me achieve that goal. Goals should be:
Specific – Have a clear purpose and goal that you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it
Measurable – Set achievable milestones along the way so that you can measure your successes as you go
Attainable – make sure your goals are something you can truly achieve, otherwise it can be hard to stay motivated if your goals remain out of reach.
Relevant – Does your goal align with your purpose? For example, the goal might be to run 5 km, but your purpose is improving your fitness, or running in a race.
Timely – Give yourself a timeline and a date by which you want to achieve your goal. Think about why you want to achieve this particular goal and when you want to see the benefits. Plan out the mechanics of achieving the goal and decide what habits you need to create daily to make your goal a reality.
For example, you can say, ‘I’m going to run every day ‘, but the reality is, running every day is a lot. It is more realistic to say, ‘I will run 5 km by the end of the year’, but then breaking that down into key milestones.
If you can repeat the habits, which are the daily actions you’re going to take, eventually you’ll achieve the goal.
You can then set milestones. Maybe start by going for a walk and deciding, ‘Ok, I’m going to walk for this long, and run for this long’, and by swapping between walking and running over a distance, you’re going to improve your stamina, and find that you’re walking for less of the time and running for more of it.
Eventually, you’ll find that you can run for entire time. This is known as progressive milestone-based goalsetting.
That’s what habit mastery is about; it’s not about fixating on the end goal, but more about fixating on each of the actions you need to turn into habits, that will help you achieve that goal.