We’ve all been there.
That moment when you commit to the new goal or habit that is going to improve your life. You are excited and motivated to create a long-lasting change.
It might be writing a book or reaching out to 5 prospects a week. It might be a new weight loss goal or starting a meditation practice.
You are ready. It feels good to commit. You’re a little nervous about sticking with it but mostly you are excited to be moving forward.
How You Move Forward
A Time Warrior you jump right into action.
A Time Commander jumps right into planning.
A Time Magician does a little planning before diving into action or a little action before stepping back to plan.
A Time Philosopher wants to think a bit more before moving forward.
Regardless of your time type this new focus has given you a surge of energy. You start talking to people about it and publicly declare your goal. You begin to see progress.
What Happens Next
A few weeks go by and you’ve had a couple of delays. You got sick and then the family went on vacation. You had an unexpected deadline come up at work that threw your whole schedule off.
Not to mention the endless amount of “life” that is ever-present. Bills to pay, field-trips to attend, errands to run and paperwork to file. How does anyone find “extra” time for something new?
The constant minutiae that life offers is enough to drive any well-intended new goal into the ground.
You continue to stick with it until the next wave of “life” throws you off course.
After a few months of this back and forth the amount of time you are "off track" widens until you've let this new habit go entirely.
There Is Another Way
I’ve been through this cycle roughly 1 million times myself. I’ve read dozens of books on habit formation and the process of change. I’ve spent many hundreds of hours coaching other people on how to work through this process in their own lives.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
You need systems for the minutiae or it will eat you alive. If you don’t have a process of bill-paying, paperwork, errands, etc it will take every last minute of your day and then some.
You need to protect your priorities with strong boundaries. Give yourself persmission to make your new goal as high a priority as possible in order for you to do it. Communicate what you need from others in order to put yourself first. Schedule the time and protect it.
You need a long-range view. It is a myth that new habits take 21 days to form. Recent research indicates it is more like 2 months and for many, many people it is closer to a year. Impatience for immediate results will kill any chance of this habit growing strong roots.
You need prepare for being thrown off track. "Backsliding" is a critical piece to developing a new habit. When life throws you off track it is your opportunity to learn your process for getting back on.
You need regular support. Be it your spouse, friends, accountability buddy, mastermind partners, therapist or coach it is far, far more likely that you will create this change when you have someone to regularly check-in with.
Now it's your turn. What do you do to stay on track with your goals? Be sure to share your comments below.