In my last blog I discussed decision fatigue, what it is, how to manage it and how these management techniques can be applied to goal setting and goal kicking. One of the management techniques I suggested was creating positive habits. In this blog I will look at how to create habits and what habits can we build to encourage a positive life of goal kicking.
FIRSTLY, WHAT IS A HABIT? Wikipedia defines a habit as “a routine of behaviour that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.” (Click here for reference) (accessed 28/9/2019). Jason Gillikin “Habits & Goal Setting” (Click here for reference link) (accessed 28/9/19) notes “Goals and habits are two sides of the success coin. Good goals provide a sense of direction, and effective habits provide the mental discipline to achieve those goals--and one without the other often leads to frustration and failure. Fortunately, there are several techniques people can study to improve their goal-setting skills and to form lasting good habits." His article provides a short discussion of this link between goals and habits. It would be fair to say habits not aligned to your goals can be a barrier to achieving your goals (let’s call them bad habits or unaligned habits) and habits that are aligned to your goals can be powerful accelerators for success (let’s call then good or aligned habits). As Gillikin notes the “alignment of values, goals and habits provides motivation to make it through the tough times.” I would say the motivation and the tools.
Another interesting article on the power of habits is Farnam Street “Habits vs. Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systematic Approach to Life” (Click here for reference Link) (accessed 28/9/19) and while I don’t agree with a lot of what the author has written I do agree that habits can be powerful.
So, it is my view that routines, made up of daily aligned habits added together, can deliver big results. The idea is to try to get rid of bad or unaligned habits and to create good or aligned habits.
I like to start the day with a simple routine to set myself up for a successful day of goal kicking. It’s said that if you win the ‘morning’ or ‘first hour’ of the day, you win the day. This is getting more and more airtime lately, or perhaps because I’m focused on it now, I have a much better morning routine that suits me and helps me get more out of the morning.
ROUTINES IN THE MORNING that set you up feeling your best give you the best base to take on challenges. They also help you stay calm, be clear of purpose, feel strong and confident and help you make the best choices.
Insight Timer above is the one I LOVE and use daily (Nope, we get no kickbacks at all, we are just about sharing the best things for you to live your best and most fulfilling life) Click on image for link to download.
I like to start the day with a 10 to 15 minute meditation (I use Insight timer which is free and has over 30,000 to choose from! So I recommend that - link above if you click on the pic) that helps me focus, centres me and makes me aware of myself, my environment and my goals for the day. As most of you are probably aware, I carry my goals and weekly actions on my phone as my screen page. This helps them stay top of mind through the day, so in the morning I check to make sure they are still relevant. I then like to exercise for 30 minutes to an hour. I like to cycle but it is better to cycle in a group so if I don’t have someone to cycle with, I also really enjoy running. I have been running through the rolling lanes of Tuscany the last week and it has been superb. Back home I love to run along the beach from Elwood. If it is raining, I hook my bike up to my Wahoo Kickr and ride on Zwift with my friends in the virtual world. My goals have included cycling Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo and hence building fitness has been directly aligned to these goals. By the way I have ticked off Stelvio and Mortirolo but Gavia was closed due to landslides so it looks like one day I will be back to Bormio to complete the trifecta.
Imagine that you added to your routine a daily walk/jog for 30mins every morning. This gets your brain invigorated with oxygen, your body fuelled with serotonin and endorphins that already have you feeling so much happier than if you went to work without it. Day in day out, you have this in your routine and before you know it, it’s a year later and you’ve built a community of friends/neighbours that also join you, you have seen more of your neighbourhood than you had, you are more alert for the hours of 9-11am rather than waiting for your 2nd coffee to kick in. And not to mention, you have now lost 10kgs from this daily exercise in your routine.
So, to build a routine like this where it’s something that may take a bit more encouragement to get you with your joggers out runnng around your neighbourhood, (let’s face it, you otherwise would have perhaps been doing it! If it was as easy as me or someone else saying it’s a good idea for a positive happy healthy life) FIND A FRIEND TO COMMIT TO START WITH and support each other.
- Maybe your neighbour has wanted to start running and needed someone else’s encouragement!? Well, that sounds familiar! Bingo bango
- Is there a running club near you? “Can Too” running Group? Community running group or learn to run?
- Do you have a friend that maybe doesn’t live near you, that you could work with as each other’s Accountability buddy? So, every morning at 6am you text each other with a good morning and reminder they should be about to leave to run. Then a picture of your 30min run tracking on your phone or watch at the end.
My neighbour and I after our first long (20km) run. I told him we were JUST running to the coffee shop (sort of!).
One of my clients setup a 15,000 steps challenge with her friend. Every day before bed they had to text the other person a record of their 15,000 steps. Winter/summer, work time or holidays, it didn’t matter. They needed to do this day in day out, no matter what was going on. The person that didn’t complete the challenge, had the most number of missed days or had the least amount of steps at the end of the 3 months paid the other person $300.
The best thing about FINDING FRIENDS TO DO FUN CHALLENGES WITH with is it puts the attention onto something other than perhaps what your direct goal is which is to lose weight. When we focus too heavily on that, it puts huge pressure on every little movement and can see us become bored quickly. When we focus on the fun with our friend, or seeing our neighbour every morning, or keeping up with our check ins with our accountability buddy that we send our screen shot too every day.
NIGHT TIME ROUTINES can also be useful to help you recap the lessons of the day, wind down and help you get sufficient sleep. I like to put my phone on sleep timer so an alarm goes off 30 Minutes before I need to go to bed. I then have a chamomile tea, pack up for the day, set the alarm for the morning, turn my phone on to flight mode and ensure all other devices are turned off. I then use the rest of the time to reflect on my day and what I am grateful for. This provides a sense of accomplishment, an opportunity to learn from things that didn’t go so well and an appreciation of how great life is.
I hope these ideas are useful to you and that you can create aligned habits that help you in your journey to your dream life.
Goal Kicking Wishes To You,
Ange Ritchie, Head Goal Coach and Founder