Achieving your personal goals: habit or motivation?
Accomplishing personal goals can be both fun and satisfying and sometimes they are so significant that they can be life changing. Many people think it's only motivation that you need to accomplish these goals but to be honest you need both motivation and habit plus you need time.
You need motivation in order to drive you towards the goal, the habit will establish the wheel of consistency and produce an outcome but you need the time to actually put both into practice. By far, that's the number one complaint I hear as a coach, "I feel like I don't have time to do it all". Well, first off, you're not supposed to do it all. That's where you're starting off on the wrong foot. The most difficult is coming to terms that you actually need to delegate work that makes you unhappy and is unfulfilling but mostly not doing anything for you in the long run.
Finding more time in your schedule requires dedication for at least one week and the determination to understand where your precious time is going and how far you're willing to bat for yourself. Here are my suggestions to finding more time in your daily agenda:
1. Track your time and analyze where your time is going.
Nowadays, things are so easy, you simply download an app and viola!, you can track your time anytime of the day. Or you can keep it super old school and use a pen, paper and a watch.
2. Delegate things are taking up your "personal goal's" time and have a serious conversation with yourself.
Once you've tracked your time, you'll see where you spend most of your time. Questions to ask about your time are, "Does this bring me joy or money?" "Is this fun for me?" , "Does this produce anything for me and my life or projects?". If you know housework takes too much time and it brings you no joy whatsoever, then delegate it or put in a day where you can get to do it quickly or with your partner so you can divi-up the work. If housework is cathartic for you and it allows you to think about other projects while you're scrubbing the crap out of your shower, then it might be helpful to schedule it through out the week. I still feel that housework can be done by someone else so you can do what makes you happy and therefore keeps you inspired. An additional pain point of having to delegate tasks is asking for help or having that conversation. It sounds silly but communicating effectively and leaving out emotions is by far, the most difficult thing for many of clients to do. This leads me to the my next point...
3. Pick your battles. I started asking myself this question every time I felt the urge to do something, "Do I really need to clean (insert action) that right now?". Then followed up by, "Can this be done later or by someone else so I can enjoy my life?" , "Does this bug me and only me?" ... If so, "Can this be done later?"
I just had a conversation about this, it's easier to keep your desk clean at all times and I get it, life happens and things get messy and disorganized... but does it need to be done right now? If you need to clean or organize in order to get work done or move on to the next activity then fine, do it. If you find yourself organizing all the time, it's probably an indicator that you're a busy body and that you have forgotten how to get into your hobbies let alone your personal goals. That's when asking yourself the following questions might help identify what's going on:
"Am I just keeping busy because it's easier for me just to keep busy?"
"Does starting my personal goal or hobby take a quiet mind?"
"Is my personal goal or hobby fun for me? Why do I even want to do it?"
"Can I just drop all of this busy work and sit still enough to enjoy myself for 1-2 hours?"
I come from a long line of busy bodies. If you grew up in my home, you know there's "always something to do" and "something" wasn't a hobby or a personal goal! I practice finding time for my personal goals and hobbies (and I still find it difficult to stop myself) by asking those very questions. I set up deadlines and nonnegotiable times in my week so I can enjoy the things I like to do or projects I'm into this month.
I know you can start practicing these and this month's suggestions to start asking the right questions and begin observing what behaviors you want to change this year.
The one thing I hope you get from all of this is respecting your time is the greatest gift you can ever give yourself, so why not start now. You have all year to practice and practice is key!
Extra: I didn't talk about the habit-loop in depth but another way we keep ourselves busy is to avoid a quiet mind and sometimes, avoid having to speak with someone out of fear. It's a bad habit and the only way to break it to so just do it and see what happens but always prepare ahead of time to ensure an easy transition!
Behavior Analyst and Personal Life Coach. Changing behavior one step at a time. Keeping things simple because it's easier that way.