How to Turn A Goal Into Habits

By Leo Babauta

It’s a pretty simple process, but let’s go over it step-by-step:

  1. You goal should be written out very clearly. The better you can visualize your goal, the easier this will be.
  2. Think about the steps needed to get to your goal. There may be many.
  3. Can the goal be accomplished with a series (2-4) of daily or weekly actions? For example, to save money, you will need to make a savings deposit every payday, before you pay your bills. Through that regular action, the goal will eventually be accomplished. Figure this out, and that’s your habit or series of habits.
  4. Figure out the amount of the habit will need to be done to get you to your goal by your timeline. By “amount”, I mean that you have to figure out quantity times frequency to get your desired result. For example, I can run every single day but not be prepared to run a marathon if I don’t do enough miles or long runs. So if I’m going to run every day, I have to also know how far (and any other things such as different workouts on different days). If I’m going to have a savings deposit every week, I need to know how much is necessary for each deposit in order to reach my goal. Figure out this “amount” for your habit and make a schedule.
  5. Focus on the first habit for at least one month, to the exclusion of all else. Don’t worry about the other two habits (for example) while you’re trying to form the first habit. For more on forming habits, this article is good place to start.
  6. If more than one habit is necessary, start on the second habit after a month or so, then on the third, and so on, focusing on one habit at a time until each is firmly ingrained.
  7. After all the necessary habits are ingrained, your goal is on autopilot. You will still need to focus on them somewhat, but to a lesser extent. If any of the habit gets derailed, you’ll have to focus on that habit again for one month.
  8. After you’re on autopilot, you can focus on a new goal and set of habits.

“Habits are at first cobwebs, then cables.” – Spanish proverb



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