The 2021 Challenge: Day Ten

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Day 10: Making Goals Habits

The final piece of the ever-growing puzzle: your daily habits!

It’s time to lock in your goals and make them EASY:


Day Ten: Bonus ContenT

This is the final piece of the puzzle.

It’s also the HARDEST piece of the puzzles.

It will also make achieving your goals the EASIEST process.

Your job today is to find the habits that you can make or break in order to speed up and make the tasks involved with your goals even easier. I know you’ve mapped it all out but if you can truly master your habits, you can truly accelerate towards your goals.

First thing’s first though…

What Are Habits?

A habit is a simple conscious or unconscious behaviour that you perform as a response to a stimulus or as part of a routine that you perform. For example, getting out of bed and making a coffee straight away is an example of a habit that you might already be performing.

But they’re not all positive though…

There are negative habits that will slow you down and hinder your progress towards your goal too.

A personal example of this is on the days that I’ve been working late into the evening, I tend to get a little peckish… so I get a late night snack… I know I’m doing it but it’s now become a habit in that if I’m working late, I get some food and it’s an automatic thought process.

This then harms the quality of my sleep (substantially) and then I don’t get the good quality of deep, restorative rest that I need and as a result of that, I don’t wake up with as much energy as I normally would which in turn hinders my productivity and stops me achieving my daily goals fully, which then slows down the weekly targets etc. etc. etc.

As you can see, the tiniest of habits can really make a difference.

To give a visual example of this, in his book ‘Atomic Habits’, James Clear shows a graph demonstrating the power of just 1%:

The 1% Rule from James Clear, Atomic Habits

What the diagram shows is that a daily improvement of just 1% each day will cumulate to a 37% improvement overall over the course of a year, whereas a 1% decline will leave you at little more than 0 itself.

What Does This Mean For Your Goals?

The idea is that you’re going to start using your habits to support your goal setting process and apply this compound interest approach to really maximise the benefit of any little habit that you have.

If you, like me, want to write a book, a perfect habit to start building would simply be; WRITING.

You could start building the habit of writing 500 words every morning before you start your normal day and over time, not only will you become a more proficient writer but you’ll also train yourself to be capable of meeting your writing deadlines.

This might seem like a daunting challenge on the surface but there’s a technique that James Clear calls ‘Habit Stacking’ that will definitely help.

Habit Stacking simply involves you pairing up a new habit with an existing habit. In my case, I might decide to wake up and make a morning coffee and then whilst I’m drinking that coffee, get my 500 words done. For you it might be different though the principle is still the same.

But remember, there are negative habits too – we want to break those.

In the example I gave earlier about my late night snacking, I would need to start breaking that habit and I could do it in a few ways. I could make the habit harder to perform by eliminating all possible snack options from my kitchen so that there isn’t anything I could snack on.

A better (or more practical option) might instead be to build a shut-down practice which would involve me completely switching off from work at a given time each day, regardless of what happens. That way, I’m actually avoiding the habit entirely by preventing the late night working in and of itself.

Finding Your Highest Leverage Habits

I’m a huge advocate of the 80/20 Rule (also known as Pareto’s Principle) which explains that 20% of your input should equal 80% of your output. I’m particularly fond of this approach when it comes down to habits because they truly can reap the rewards in the long haul.

I want you to start finding habits that you can both make and break that will help you make progress towards your goals.

Take a look at your big goal and consider what habits would help you to make a 1% improvement each day. These can be action-oriented like I mentioned with my writing example or these could simply have a domino-effect towards your overall output (stopping late night snacks)

It’s important to remember at this point that habits you build will be built for the long run because you’ve set goals based on WHO you want to become. In my case, becoming a writer is the identity shift and as a result, my goals are writing-focused and my habits all help me write, either directly or indirectly.

The next step is to then attach this into an existing habit and start practicing this immediately.

If you’re not sure about what habits you actually have already, that’s totally normal. Instead what you’ll need to is take stock of everything that you do as you go about your day. Humans are a ritualistic species so it’s likely that you’ll notice patterns (particularly in the mornings and evenings) with habits that you can play with and build upon.

Habits are tricky because they can take a lot of time for the behaviours to actually become habits (some sources ranging from 21-90 days) so this is something that you’ll need to take action on for yourself until it becomes automatic.

Your Commitment

A few days ago you made a written commitment to your growth. That was intentional.

Today, I want you to make that a habit too. If you can make your own personal growth an unconscious habit, imagine how much you’ll have grown in 1 year. In 3 years. In 10 years. The progress will be CRAZY.

Whether that’s reading, meditation, exercise or anything else – turn it into a habit, stack it up and make it happen. You’ll be amazed at your new potential when you start doing this.

But don’t make the mistake i did…

I tried to build and break FAR too many habits at the same time (12, to be exact).

It didn’t work.

AT ALL.

This is why I mentioned Highest Leverage Habits earlier.

80/20 your habits by finding out which habits would give you the most ‘bang for your buck’ and help you the most. Then focus on them 1 at a time. Don’t rush this. Make it easy for yourself and celebrate the little wins each and every day for the best and fastest progress.

YOUR TASK TODAY:

  • Identify Your Highest Leverage Habits (Use the 80/20 Principle)
  • Stack Your New Habits & Start (Use an existing routine or habit to start taking action)
  • Habitualise Your Personal Growth (Get accountable to it too)
  • Share Your Biggest Takeaways In The Facebook Group

That’s your mission for the day.

This is Day Ten of my complete Goal Setting Blueprint.

Master your days and you’ll master your life. This is the final piece of the puzzle.

Let’s make 2021 the BEST year of your entire life.

-Aidan


EXTRA RESOURCES

Videos

(Matt also has a collection of 30-Day Challenges on his YouTube that really explore the nature of habits and his personal results. He also founded Slow Growth Academy, and is the director of Netflix’s ‘Less Is Now’ and ‘Minimalism: Live A Meaningful Life’. Matt has fantastic content, make it a habit to check out his stuff!)

Articles

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habits are what keep you going”


– Jim Rohn