Goals help to define a company’s purpose and achieve its objectives. We use them to maximise growth and distinguish ourselves from our competitors. However, more so than ever, we are realising that planning into the future comes with an element of illusion. We can never anticipate what factors may come into play or what obstacles might present themselves.
In order to maximise successful outcomes, it is important to re-focus on cultivating the right habits. Studies show that nearly half of our activity each day is repeated behaviour. They are so ingrained in our neural pathways that we often do them automatically without noticing.
“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.” – Charles C. Nobel
Choose your habits or they will choose you
Our brain’s ability of automacy is both a strength and a weakness. On the one hand, it allows us to execute complex behaviours with very little mental energy. On the other, automatising a habit that is detrimental to our lives can stunt our future ambitions without being fully aware of it.
By reflecting on our habits and how they manifest in our day-to-day lives, we can start to unravel the factors that trigger a negative habit.
Ask yourself, what cues contribute to my behaviours? In many cases, simply taking yourself out of your usual environment can help break habits because the cues and patterns of behaviour are no longer part of your daily routine.
See your habits as constantly compounding, not fixed
Despite their repetitive nature, habits are fluid and have the power to strengthen and permeate into other areas of our lives.
Small initial shifts in behaviour can kick-start a domino effect in allowing other positive habits to form. Consider the seemingly minor act of making the bed every morning. Best-selling author Charles Duhigg asserts that making your bed “is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget”.
Align your goals with your habits
Habits are the tools that we need in order to achieve a goal we have set for ourselves. By aligning them to our goals, we can set ourselves up to reach our outcomes and not be discouraged by ambitious goals.
At Breakthrough, we teach the importance of working backwards from our outcomes. Ask yourself, what habits will I need the month or week before I reach my goal? Then continue working backwards in incremental steps.
Goals are linear, habits are exponential
Goals are essential as they allow us to look to the future with a clear plan. However, as much as humans like to lean towards a linear process, this is not how our brains and habits function. The interplay of new habits can open doors to new possibilities, allowing us to exceed our original expectations.
It is important to be mindful that every future plan comes with unknown factors, making it impossible to fully control. What does remain within our control is our ability to generate a Growth Mindset, leading to exponential results.