Creating new habits


With the New Year just around the corner, this time of year is frequently a time of reflection, goal setting and New Year’s Resolutions. Writing down goals can be the driver that moves us forward in our life, if we then follow through and do what is necessary to achieve them. Do you make New Year’s Resolutions each year only to find that shortly they have fallen by the wayside? Is there a way to be more successful? Our goals and our success in various areas of our life are the results of our positive habits, just as our various failures in areas of our life are a result of our more negative habits.

Our goals set out our intentions for our life. It is said that if you want something badly enough you will achieve your goal, because you will find ways around obstacles that may stop others. What is most important to you? Raising your children right? Making sure you and your family are healthy and happy? Creating financial wealth? Being trustworthy? Lowering your ecological footprint? Becoming the best you can be at a particular vocation, profession, sport or hobby? Finding balance between work and play? Finding spiritual peace? Once you have a goal that is powerful enough to move your soul, the next step is to quantify the goal so that you will know if you have achieved it. Many of these goals may be very long term, so they may need to be further broken down into yearly, monthly and weekly achievable chunks. This needs to be written down and modified as necessary.

Our life is essentially the sum of our habits. Most goals, whether financial, health, relationship, spiritual, career, family or friends related, require the development of new habits in order to be achieved. According to Steven Covey, habits form the intersection between desire, knowledge, and skills. So, once we have chosen a goal that is powerfully motivating to us, we must learn enough about how to go about achieving it, and we must develop the skills necessary to be able to achieve it. Seek help to learn what you need to learn. Modeling others who have achieved your goal can save you a lot of time and effort. And most importantly, we must consistently DO what is necessary to achieve it.

They say it takes about a month of consistent effort to develop a new habit. So, for that month don't take no for an answer. Expect diligence and constant effort from yourself and follow through. Reflect back on your life intention that the goal is based on and keep that foremost in your mind to help you stick with developing your new habit. After that month, it may be a bit easier to stick with it, but young habits are much more easily broken than well-entrenched ones, so reviewing your life intentions daily can give you the motivation to keep going.

There are many great books on this topic that explain the process far better than I can. My favourites are The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey and The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and
Les Hewitt.

All my best for 2008 to you and your family, and may you find success at creating good habits in line with your life intentions!

Related Tips
Courage and Persistence
An attitude of gratitude
Carefully tend the garden of your mind

Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Fireside, New York NY, 1989.

Canfield, Jack; Hanson, Mark Victor: Hewitt, Les The Power of Focus Health Communications Inc. Deer Beach FL, 2000.

Covey, Stephen R. Principle Centred Leadership Fireside, New York, NY, 1992.

Covey, Stephen R. Living the 7 Habits : The Courage to Change Fireside, New York, NY, 1999.

Robbins, Anthony Unlimited Power : The New Science Of Personal Achievement Fawcett Columbine, NY, 1986.

Copyright 2007 Vreni Gurd

1 Comment

  1. Noah Minard said,

    November 30, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

    Great tips. I think many people have trouble determing what might be an “achievable chunk” for them to break the goal down into. Many, including myself, get overexcited about our new endeave and tend to bite off too much to chew! I’ve found lists of 10 things help me out a lot. I have one for my eating habits on my fridge and I even put one on my website about reducing chemical exposure. Best to you and yours.


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