Sometimes, we make concrete plans about what we intend to achieve now or in the future. However, if you don’t anticipate obstacles and remove them, you may not go far in achieving your goals.
Some of these obstacles could be personal, financial, relational, or habitual.
I may not cover all these points, but I would like to point out how our habits can prevent us from achieving our well-planned goals.
Habits are hard to break for everyone, including me. I remember the first year I arrived in the Netherlands a little over four years ago. In my bid to restart my life and business, I attended a lot of networking events. However, I was always the last to attend any meeting.
This pattern of attending meetings late is a habit I picked up from my roots. Where I come from, it’s called “the African time”, where it is common for events to start later than stated. In the Netherlands, this is not the case, so I was always the last to every meeting. At some point, I felt very embarrassed but couldn’t just wish it away.
One day, I decided to make it a primary goal to attend meetings on time. Why? So that people would take me more seriously and so I would stop feeling embarrassed. Also, I missed out on a lot when I arrive late to meetings.
Today, I arrive early for meetings. I have mastered the art of punctuality because of what I’m sharing with you in this post.
A good example is, if you recognise that you have a pattern of starting things and not completing them, it means you may not be able to achieve your goals. Identifying such a pattern may lead you to engage with people who will finalise the aspects you don’t usually wish to do.
There are also habits of procrastination, which sometimes shows up as a symptom of fear.
Below, I present a list of what has worked for me in the past.
Follow these steps to create and maintain new, healthy habits or personal growth to help you achieve your goals:
- Start by listing habits that limit you in different areas of life.Consider your habits that relate to work, finances and relationships. Be as specific as possible. For example, punctuality was at the top of my list because it affects my work and personal relationships and therefore indirectly affects my finances.
- Write down how these habits prevent you from accomplishing your goals. For example, whenever I’m late for a meeting, I feel uncomfortable and don’t feel confident enough to do good business.
- In the book ‘The Power of Focus’, the authors advise that you identify 2 to 3 action steps that will propel your new behaviour.Include these actions on your daily to-do list. For example, I had to set an alarm clock that would ensure my punctuality. I also checked in advance how long it would take me to arrive at the destination. I set out my clothes the day before my meeting. You may feel free to share your daily progress with an accountability partner. Just be sure to work toward your goals every day.
- Record your victories each day, regardless of how large or small.This practice will encourage you to keep going, while also improving your self-confidence. Try writing down these victories every night, while you review your daily tasks and prepare your agenda for the following day.
- Celebrate your victories by giving yourself a treat. You’ll keep yourself motivated when you incorporate periodic rewards.
Remember, getting rid of an old habit isn’t easy. The longer you’ve repeated a bad habit, the harder it will be to break, making the first steps feel daunting, challenging and frustrating. To maintain momentum, you must take full responsibility for your goals and actions.
When I decided to manage my time better, I spent two years struggling to maintain and update my calendar. Instead of doing this each night, my calendar updates were sporadic. At one point, I even gave up. But eventually, I decided to try again. And just three years ago, I finally mastered time management. Since then, my life has been without stress, daily frustrations and forgotten appointments, including dentist appointments for my children.
In the meantime, stop only wishing for the results you want. Make change happen with a concrete plan. Use this same process in any area that may limit you from achieving your goals. You may wish to invest in a mentor or courses that could help you develop in areas that you may be struggling in reaching your ultimate goals.
Now over to you. What habits have been stopping you from reaching your goals? Feel free to share your story on the comment box below.