When you set a goal for yourself, you might be tempted to picture an end result that you want to achieve. While ambitious, that also leaves quite a few steps out. Instead, focus on building habits that get you there.
Photo by Dafne Cholet.
As productivity author and podcaster David Kadavy explains, ambitious goals are nice but it’s easy for us to give up when they get hard. Say you decide you want to write a book in a year. Well, who could blame you for failing to do that? Books are hard to write! However, if your goal is to write, then set a smaller goal aimed at building a habit. For example, write 100 words every day:
This works because you’ll feel ridiculous if you make an excuse that you can’t write 100 words. Your ego isn’t that good at hiding. It will be like a grizzly bear behind a bamboo stalk.
But something happens as you start to build your ridiculously easy habit. You start to feel good about it. When you feel good about it, you start to enjoy it. When you enjoy it, it’s easy to do.
When you miss the smaller, habitual goal, it isn’t because it’s a monumental task. It’s just a regular imperfect day. Tomorrow you can try again, because it’s so easy there’s no reason not to. As you start to succeed at writing 100 words every day, it becomes normal. So, eventually you can move up to bigger, more ambitious goals.
Build the habit first [The Mission]