Recall, from the last post that you have spent some time to consider what you find most meaningful to you being on this planet. This single point of focus is your purpose and you’ve whittled it down to a succinct idea that you came up with yourself.
Now we need to turn that purpose into something more actionable.
And that next step is goal-setting.
With goal-setting, what milestones are you going to set that works toward honouring your purpose?
Examples of purpose and goal-setting:
Purpose: to live a healthy and good life with my family
Goal: go to the gym at least 3 times per week
Purpose: be a better person than yesterday
Goal: read 10 books per year
Try not to get too washed away with defining a perfect goal for your purpose. Like purpose, goals will need to be reviewed regularly and updated if necessary. Think of them not as mountains, immovable and permanent but rather as icebergs that can shift and change depending on the circumstances in your life.
Now that you have a goal set. We shift our focus to the system – the journey rather than the destination.
Our main system for taking action on our purpose is the concept of habits.
From James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, we breakdown what a habit is into 4 parts – they are:
Let’s take for example of a new habit we want to start that helps us becoming a healthy person.
Example of a new habit: going to the gym first thing in the morning everyday
The cue we need to initiate to go to the gym when we wake up in the morning could be something like putting your gym shoes right next your bed so when you step out of bed, they are right there reminding you of your commitment to yourself.
Sometimes, this is enough for you to get going. But other times, like during the dead of winter, may not be enough to break the inertia.
So you’ll have resistance. This is the 2nd point – craving – except when it comes to making a new habit that is not inherently fun, it’s also known as resistance.
This is a critical juncture; overcoming inertia. Your brain will come up with all sorts of reasons to not want to go to the gym: the traffic is especially bad today, your stomach isn’t feeling that great, you’re still sore from the last workout, you have a busy day at work – and endless amount of excuses! If you can take a deep breath and ask yourself – will this action take me one step closer to my goal, hopefully, it will release enough energy for you to take that step.
Do keep in mind, that whatever you decide to do then, will have a snowball effect. Tomorrow you will likely do that same action again.
Lastly, reward yourself if you did the action. The reward can be an intrinsic reward. An intrinsic reward is a feeling that makes you feel good for simply showing up and accomplishing that task. That for me is usually enough. Extrinsic reward could be to check social media for 10 minutes or to have a piece of dark chocolate.
Remember, building a good habit is VERY DIFFICULT – especially if it is a sustainable one. It takes tremendous discipline and self-control. It’s ok if you mess up – just try again. If you keep messing up, then perhaps you need another strategy.
Stay tuned for the next blog on other strategies to kick-start living the best life for you!