Goals and Habits: Why your goals are just dreams

Photo by Artur Matosyan on Unsplash

I know you got intrigued if good habits works than goals or vice-versa.

I am not saying that goals are not important but I think it was too overrated that we often forget how important building good habits are, in the context of achieving our goals.

I know you’ve been setting your goals at the end of each year, but have you ask yourself why you still haven’t achieved it? The answer is, it was simply because you most likely have a destination (you written goal) but you don’t have or created any map (clear system or habits around this goal).

A good example for this is how can someone build a house without a plan and doesn’t measure it’s progress? Can you imagine the result of the house without any plan? House can’t be built in just one day. It was built through careful planning, daily construction and monitoring of progress.

This is why you haven’t achieved your goals yet. It was because you’ve set a goal but you haven’t created any clear plan. Possibly, you don’t know your current progress towards your goal now or worst is, you haven’t acted on it yet.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOALS AND HABITS

Merriam webster, defines the following are:

Habits“a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance”

Goals“the end toward which effort is directed.”

Habits are mainly the pattern created through repetition, whereas, goals are the end or result after the efforts exerted.

This can also be translated below:

Habit = Process/Pattern created by repetition & Goals = End/Result

The following are the examples that can further help you identify the difference of the following:

Goals

  • Lose 20 lbs this year.
  • Read 5 books during the year.

Habits

  • I will do cardio work-out every day for 20 minutes.
  • I will read 10 pages everyday.

Among the above things which do you think will give you more result? I bet it is pretty obvious, but let me tell you too how it can exceed the goals that you’ve set before by just doing these good habits.

  • I will do cardio work-out every day for 20 minutes.
    • 20 minutes of jogging can burn 200 to 240 calories. Doing this for a year can result to a massive 73,000 calories. Would you think you won’t loss any weight on that? Definitely!
  • I will read 10 pages everyday.
    • 10 pages per day can result into 3,650 pages which is equivalent to 13 books for a book with an average page of 280.

This is what forming good habits significantly impacts our life. This is the result of what we called the “Compounding effect”.

WHAT IS COMPOUNDING EFFECT?

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.” – Albert Einstein

According to Ste Davies’ blog:

“The compounding principle is based on the Butterfly Effect. The notion that a butterfly flapping its wings in one corner of the world can cause a tornado in another. The air from the seemingly harmless flapping compounds to create chaos elsewhere.”

This is also similar with what Mark Mason mentioned about compounding habit and goals;

“I like to think of keystone habits as “compounding habits” because, much like compounding returns on an investment, over a long enough period of time, they can increase the richness of your life exponentially. Goals, by themselves, generate linear growth and change. Habits are capable of generating exponential growth and change.”

Building good habits follow the compounding effect rule that significantly creates  massive result in the long run. You may not notice it now but doing good habits push you closer and often far above from what you’ve set for your goals. As Mark Manson said that habits are capable of generating exponential growth and change, which is far more different than what goals can achieve.

THE DOWNSIDE OF RELYING ONLY ON GOALS

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Anonymous

I got these from Business.com and I can’t deny that these are somewhat true;

  • Goals are temporary and don’t last – Have you heard about mega jackpot lottery winners who became broke after a few years? They are these people who were very lucky to win such a massive amount but don’t have the good habits to maintain them. I challenge you take away everything from a successful businessman, try giving him only a few capital and I can bet that he can surely recover his massive wealth easily.
  • You feel you’re not successful or happy until you reach your goal – This is often what causes a lot of burnout for most of the people. We often associate goal with our happiness that we break ourselves and forget the true meaning of journey (the process), and we instead just focus on our goals, that if can’t reach it we can’t be happy.
  • Goals rely on willpower and self-discipline – “Committing yourself to a goal requires constant diligence and willpower. But that may be hard to sustain when other demands in our lives drain our energy, and the goal is put on the back burner or has to compete with other demands.” This is true. Sometimes focusing too much on what lies ahead overwhelms us and burns all the motivation, if you can just focus on what should be done today and do it consistently for the rest of the days, do you think that it will be less overwhelming and still allow you to achieve your goals? Definitely!


FINAL THOUGHTS

I am not saying that setting your goals are not important, what I am trying to say here is your goals are not enough, it has to come with good habits. Goals will always be something that you wanted but never happened if you will keep thinking that setting your goals is enough. I am challenging you, ask yourself this question; “What can I do today that can draw me closer towards my goals?” and that’s the beginning of building a good habit.

I have found other related post about goals and habits, that you can check.

  1. Why Developing Good Habits Is More Effective Than Setting Goals by business.com
  2. Your goals are overrated by Mark Manson
  3. Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead by James Clear
  4. The Science & Psychology Of Goal-Setting 101 by Positive Psychology
  5. What does it take to build new habit?
  6. How to form a habit (In 6 easy steps)

 

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