We’re continuing our goal-setting series focusing specifically on how to cultivate long-term habits and achieve longer term goals. We’ve definitely already touched on this, but today we’re going to dive deeper. Click the image below to watch the latest video in our goal-setting series!
I come from a place of having basically failed at this many times before I FINALLY managed to cultivate some habits for years (instead of just days or weeks at best).
If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. You may have heard that statement before, but it’s really true. You have to get clear on your non-negotiable and give them more priority than all the other great things you’d like to accomplish.
Less is more. Again, this is something you’ve probably heard, but it bears repeating. If you set 20 complicated habits that you want to accomplish each day, it probably won’t happen. This goes along with the first point – prioritize those that are the MOST important to you.
Give yourself time. It takes a long time to cultivate strong habits. Don’t be in a huge rush. Add more slowly. Better to do a few things well than a lot of things in a mediocre or poor manner.
Focus on your strengths, not just your weaknesses. We all have weaknesses that we want to overcome, and we absolutely should work on improving in those areas. However, if every single one of your goals centers around improving a weakness instead of building up a strength, it will feel like an uphill battle. Set a few goals that focus on improving weaknesses and some that are building up strengths. If you love running, set a goal to become even better at that. If you hate exercise, but that’s a goal for you, you will need to balance it out with a goal in an area that you enjoy.
Re-examine frequently. Go through the goal setting exercises I talked about previously every few months. Instead of just “falling off the wagon” with a goal, officially take it off your list if it’s no longer super important to you.
Give yourself grace when you’re in seasons of survival mode. In the next part of our series, I’m going to go into more depth on this.
Keep on going when you mess up. Don’t fail once and then throw in the towel. This was the game changer for me personally. I thought when I messed up that it was all over and I should just give up. That’s so not true. You will mess up. It’s what you do after you make a mistake that really counts.
Let me tell you a little story about the time that changed everything for me. Some time ago, I set a goal to go to bed with a clean sink (dishes all washed) every night before I went to bed for an entire month. I created a pretty printable to help keep me motivated and track this habit. I laminated and hung it above my sink. I shared it with my blog readers and invited them to join me for the challenge. Day 1 came and, of course, I got my sink all clean before bed and drew a little smiley in the first square.
Day 2 came, and guess what? I failed!!!! I had company, I was exhausted, I got home late, and I just sunk into bed the second I got my baby to sleep without a second thought. I was SO disappointed when I realized I had already failed on day 2. I mean, who does that? Day 22, maybe – but day 2? As usual I wanted to rip that silly tracker down from the wall, throw it away, and pretend like I had never set the goal in the first place.
Then I had an epiphany. There were still 28 more days in the month. 28 more opportunities to accomplish the goal. I didn’t have to give up. So I kept on going, and I got that sink cleaned the rest of the 28 days and every day the next month and so on. Even years later, I’m still reaping the rewards of sticking with it. I still go to bed most nights with a clean sink because I got that habit so ingrained.
The most important thing is to keep going when you mess up. This – more than anything else – will help you develop long-term habits.
I hope this helps you, and I can’t wait to talk about how to stick with your goals and habits when you’re in survival mode.