How to Make Change Last: Turning Goals into Habits

We all have aspirations for the future. Whether it's saving for a new car, going to the gym every day, or trying to hang out with friends once a week, many of us struggle to make our goals a lasting part of our lives. One of the most important keys to success is developing habits that support your goals. Habits are things we do regularly and automatically, without having to think about them. Many people set goals but struggle to turn them into habits. Habits are the key to success, so it is important to find ways to make goals part of your daily routine. Here are a few simple steps that can help you turn goals into habits.

  1. Write it Down
  2. Break Goals Down
  3. Start Slow
  4. Create Accountability 
  5. Don't be Hard on Yourself 
  6. Plan for Mistakes
  7. Reward Yourself
  8. Surround Yourself with Success 

    1. Write it Down

    The first step is to put your goals into writing. Take out a notebook and create a detailed plan for what achieving your goal will look like. Do you want to be able to bench press 100 lbs. or get to the gym at least three days a week? This makes your goals concrete and less easy to forget about or ignore. Better yet, write down your detailed, achievable goal, and under that write down every time you do something to work towards that goal, this will help keep you motivated towards the result.

    2. Break Goals Down

    Trying to overhaul your entire lifestyle overnight is bound to lead to failure. Instead, break your goals down into small, manageable pieces that you can focus on one at a time. For instance, if you’re trying to repaint all the rooms in your house, start with just one room and then keep picking away until you have the whole downstairs, then move upstairs. This way you don’t feel drowned by all the things you have to do and can just focus on completing one easy task at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be at your goal!

    3. Start Slow

    Once you have your goals all mapped out, take things slowly at first. This might mean just going to the gym one day a week and building up to five. Or walking down the street and then running around the block. Trying to do too much too soon will only lead to frustration and burnout. Creating a habit is a process that takes time, don’t rush it.

    4. Create Accountability

    Find a friend or family member who will hold you accountable for your goals. Even just writing down what you did each day to work towards your goal will give you a sense of responsibility. This can help you stay on track when you feel like giving up.

    5. Don’t be Hard on Yourself

    Making lasting changes is hard; there will be inevitable setbacks along the way. Instead of beating yourself up over mistakes, embrace them as part of your journey. Maybe you didn’t make a home-cooked meal this week like you wanted to. Realize that is okay and just part of getting to your ultimate goal. Feeling guilty or like a failure will only attach negative emotions to your habits and make you less likely to do them in the future. Lighten up on yourself.

    6. Plan for Mistakes

    Speaking of mistakes, it’s important to plan for them. Expect that you will slip up from time to time and have a plan in place for how you will get back on track. Maybe you only went for a walk two days out of the week instead of three. Go four times the next week to make up for it. Having a set goal makes slip-ups part of the process. Instead of getting upset with yourself, you already know what you have to focus on to make it up to yourself. Thus, increasing feelings of accountability and accomplishment- two things that are essential in creating a habit.

    7. Reward Yourself

    Don’t forget to celebrate your successes. When you reach a milestone, take some time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. This will help you stay motivated to keep going. Maybe you stuck to your workout regime for the entire month, so you buy that outfit you’ve been eyeing for months. Working towards your goals can be hard, don’t be afraid to treat yourself for a job well done.

    8. Surround Yourself with Success

    Working toward a specific goal is a great time to begin noticing all the wonderful things you accomplish in your life. Take a moment at the end of every day and list everything you achieved that day. Be thankful for the things you have in your life. You will find that your attitude and feelings towards yourself improve. A positive attitude is an essential component of achieving your goals and forming habits.

     

    Achieving your goals is not always easy, but it is possible with the right habits and mindset. Remember that success is often the result of hard work and perseverance. By turning your goals into a habit, you will increase your chances of achieving your wildest dreams.

    What are your goals? We’d love to hear about them! Let us know in the comments!


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