Goals are garbage.
Goals can create stress and heartache.
Goals can make you feel worthless.
If you have a goal to lose 50 pounds and only lose 45, will you consider yourself a disappointment?
If you have a goal to walk 10,000 steps a day and only reach 8,500, have you bombed?
If you have a goal to have a career, house, wife, and a family by age 30 and you managed to have a house, spouse, and family but your career is slow getting off the ground, is it futile to carry on when you are 31?
Hitting the goal post doesn’t count in any game.
Goals are dreams with a deadline. Nope, goals are nightmares that handcuff us to perceived happiness. Once I reach X goal, then I’ll be happy. Or rich. Or skinny. Or accomplished.
➠ Then how are we to accomplish anything? Aren’t goals, directions? Roadmaps?
What if you decided half way towards your goal, that it’s the wrong goal? Are all your efforts then a waste of time? In my books, that was the best time spent as sometimes figuring out what we don’t want is more important than wondering what we do want, but some would consider that effort a failure to reach your goal.
So what do we use instead of goals, to realize our ambitions and dreams, and to move forward?
Habits. Habits trump goals each and every time.
If your goal was to lose 50 pounds, why not change that to wanting to become healthy? If you change your habits, if you become healthy, the weight will automatically drop off, with seemingly no effort whatsoever. And you will still be the winner even if you drop 35, 42, 47 or 49.5 pounds.
The very definition of habit is something we do unconsciously.
To lose 50 pounds, and keep it off, you have to change the habits that got you to where you are 50 pounds overweight. Normally that’s because, over time, you consumed more food than your body needed.
But too many drastic changes of habits are also doomed to failure. That’s why extreme diets, cold turkey quitting smoking or starting an exercise plan of going to the gym every day for an hour never work. Your subconscious mind is stronger than your willpower and you will revert back to your destructive habits. And that’s why it’s so important to concentrate on changing your subconscious mind habits.
The secret to obtaining each and everything you have ever wanted is small, consistent, incremental changes in your habits, not setting goals.
Want to lose weight and keep it off? Today, start with eating less. Eat what you want, when you want, but less of it, even if it means every time you eat, eat just one less bite.
Leave one bite of the donut. Leave one chip in the bag. Leave that one bite on your plate. Leave that last gulp in the cup. Order the small fries instead of large. Maybe don’t go for seconds. (Note: Throw out the part you don’t eat. Don’t keep it to tempt you later.)
Once that becomes easy or habit, leave two bites, two chips, two gulps.
Once that becomes an easy habit, leave three bites, or ¼ of the serving.
Continue the process – a little bit at a time – until it becomes a natural habit to eat ½ (or less) of everything you are eating now. Still have pizza, but now one slice is just as satisfying as two. Or two as four, if that’s your case.
Do you not think your body would respond and create a weight-loss situation?
And more importantly, without a goal, there is no end to this habit improvement. You can continue this habit until you are healthy, happy, and content that this is where you want to live for now. You simply stop improving the habit, with no worries of reverting back to your previous unwanted habit.
Whether that takes a week, or two, or a month or six is up to you; don’t believe the hype of ‘it takes 21, 30, 60, 90 days to change a habit.’ The only thing you have to do is improve your new habit a little bit every day, consistently.
Maybe once you’ve solidified the quantity habit, then you move on start to make better food choices if you haven’t naturally done so already. Maybe as you lose weight, you feel like walking or moving your body a little bit more.
➠ Does this feel like success to you? Does this feel doable? Doesn’t this feel better? Doesn’t this feel easier?
The choice is yours, but you must make the changes small, consistent, and incremental. And build on each habit change.
I promise you, if all you do is this one change of habit, of quantity, you will eventually make a difference in the shape of your body.
How else could you implement this in your life?
Quitting smoking? How about cutting out one cigarette in a day, the easiest one to cut out, the one you wouldn’t miss that much. Once it feels natural that you don’t miss it, cut out another one. Live with that until it feels natural, and repeat the process until you are down to a few cigarettes a day. Quitting completely from this point will be much easier, don’t you think? Or you may decide that smoking a couple of well-timed cigarettes a day is fine.
Want to stop watching so much TV? Spending a lot of time on Facebook? Use your timer to slowly, incrementally, shave off minutes.
Get your finances in order? What’s one item you can cut out this month? Netflix? Now next month? Bring one lunch a week to work? And the month after that? Review your cable package? In a year, you will have shaved off twelve items; think of the money you will be saving! But if you did that all at once, a sense of lack would set in your subconscious mind and it would be very painful.
I know it’s easy to forget because it seems so natural now, but every unconscious habit you have now, evolved over time. You weren’t born brushing your teeth. You weren’t born overeating. You weren’t born smoking.
You weren’t born turning on the TV immediately after work. You weren’t born drinking too much alcohol, doing recreational drugs, or biting your nails. You weren’t born overspending.
All habits are a process of training the unconscious mind, no exceptions. Some habits were implemented quickly, such as a drug addiction and smoking, but most evolved over time. You didn’t start eating three donuts; it started after one, for whatever reason, wasn’t enough so you reached for the second, which then eventually became a three-donut habit at coffee break.
Habits will get you to anywhere you want to be and keep you there.
And all the places we don’t want to be.