Put your goals on Auto-pilot
14th July, 20120 Comments
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle
It doesn’t matter whether our goals are big or small, we still want to achieve them as quickly as possible, with the minimum effort.
If we are truthful, we would really like our goals to be so easy, we hardly need to think about them at all!
Wouldn’t it be great to have a ‘goal alarm clock’ that went off every time we had to do something towards our goal? No? You wouldn’t like that? Ok, I’m only kidding, it would be a bad idea to have the harsh, tinny sound of an old-fashioned alarm clock rattling around your head. Think more on the lines of a gentle nudge, an intuitive squeeze, something that makes you look at your watch or calendar to check.
My point is that we can only change our habits by making those changes bit by bit, day by day, and forgiving ourselves for having an off-day. We are only human, and this kind of thinking helps us to pick up where we left off and carry on practicing our new habits.
Following this practice, we will find ourselves steadily making progress and getting results, until we hit the 30 day milestone. After this point, our brain has accepted our new habits and has almost completely put them on auto-pilot. This change happens to enable us to respond and give attention to other new or more urgent day-to-day issues. You won’t need to rely on reminder notes or alarms to get your new habit to stick (though you may feel you ought to keep these, just to make sure).
Here’s my personal experience. About a year ago when I wanted to do extra study, I decided that if I woke at 6, I could listen to a half-hour information CD followed by an hour of reading before starting my day. I set my phone alarm plus a second alarm in case I slept through the first one! It worked well, and I enjoyed the freedom and the uninterrupted, focused quiet time.
But even though I haven’t needed to wake early for a long time and I cancelled the alarms, I still wake around 6am so if I need to take that time for some other project, I can. I must admit though, it’s also very nice to check the time and slide back under the duvet for an another hour!
My point is, the habit is still there, and this also goes for bad or unwanted habits. They will always be there, so we have to take extra steps to prevent them from kicking in by setting a really great new habit in its place, so that it over-rides the cue that sets off the old habit. Often people under stress will revert back to drinking or smoking patterns, because they are a familiar comfort zone - even though this isn't a wanted reaction.
Not even the most successful people can take short-cuts to getting rid of an old habit or learning a new habit. You need to trust in yourself, believe in yourself, be proud of your achievements.
There are several keys to this kind of success.
Keep on keeping on. You will be successful, guaranteed.
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