June 13 2017

Why Smart Habits Beat Ambitious Goals Hands Down

This morning, I read this really great blog post about how making good habits are more important than creating ambitious goals. Here it is in its entirety.

“We all have goals, right? That’s what going further means, although it’s not always the right way to think about becoming your best you.

Last year, we discussed the dark side of goal setting. Research shows that pursuing clearly defined goals sometimes motivates people to lie, cheat, and otherwise engage in short-term thinking to overcome obstacles.

That’s the problem of focusing on results over process. In other words, allowing your ego to strive for becoming instead of doing.

For example, in the arena of fitness, we say we want to lose 20 pounds instead of focusing on the day-to-day mechanisms of eating well and exercising regularly. That’s the difference between an outcome goal and a behavioral goal.

And what is a behavioral goal anyway? It’s the desire to develop a beneficial habit that sticks. Developing the habit is what’s key, because it’s beneficial whether you achieve the exact outcome or not, and means you’ll maintain the outcome you do achieve.

Last week, Shane Parrish pointed out that the distinction between habits and goals is not semantic, because each requires different forms of action.

His examples:

We want to learn a new language. We could decide we want to be fluent in 6 months (goal), or we could commit to 30-minutes of practice each day (habit).
We want to read more books. We could set the goal to read 50 books by the end of the year, or we could decide to always carry one (habit).
We want to spend more time with family. We could plan to spend 7 hours a week with family (goal), or we could choose to eat dinner with them each night (habit).
There’s a reason why the heading of the Further About page is happiness is a way of travel, not a destination. Living your best life is all about what you do on your journey, not where you ultimately arrive.

Keep going-

Brian Clark

Love this!


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