Ever wondered why you constantly seem to be “starting again” and “trying again”, over and over again? Why are our goals, which really do mean something to us, so hard to hit?
One theory is that our desires to be better are too strong; sometimes, we are so afraid to fail that we don’t try to succeed. Another notion is based on impatience and our notorious tendency to want things done “yesterday”.
Of course, having goals and dreams gives you a sense of purpose and direction, but they can easily seduce you into biting off more than you can chew.
How many of you have been inspired by a heroic sporting event, such as the London marathon, vowed to be in the line up the following year, only to work yourself to such an extreme that you’ve ended up in worse shape than when you started out?
How many of you have finally felt that urge to write that book you’ve always dreamt about, spent the following few days penning your page-turning ideas and then left your “best-seller in progress” to gather dust on the shelf?
You get the picture.
What we intend to do and what we actually do can be two very different things.
In order to reach our end goals, we must acknowledge, and more importantly, accept that we can’t run before we can walk; we can’t allow our goals and desires to drive us into a frenzy where we attempt to achieve everything at once. And we can’t let a fear of failure stop us from trying to succeed.
In order to achieve consistent change, we must start with small, new routines.
Consider the actions – good and bad – that you do every day without having to think about them. Brushing your teeth, pouring milk into your coffee and biting your nails are all good examples.
These types of actions have become so “routine” that you no longer have to focus on doing them. You simply carry them out automatically – tiny actions that have become daily habits.
So wouldn’t it make sense that the best way to start a new habit is to make small changes that your brain can quickly become used to and automatically repeat?
Start breaking major goals into small, achievable behaviors that will more easily become daily habits. That marathon you promised yourself you’d run doesn’t have to depend on a superhuman injection of willpower but from the development of a series of small habits that you can implement every day. That novel you’ve been dreaming about writing will become a tangible achievement from getting into the habit of writing one or two chapters per week.
A builder doesn’t find it difficult to lay one brick at a time that eventually makes a house.