How to take action with goals and habits

How to take action with goals and habits

In this post, I explore how goal setting and habit tracking can help you take action!

In this post, I explore how goal setting and habit tracking can help you take action!

Action requires a driving force. By this I mean it is challenging to take action if we don’t know why we want to achieve something. Action for action’s sake is not as powerful as action with purpose. This is why I believe the first step in any goal setting exercise is to define your “why”.

Why do you want to achieve this goal? Asking this simple question before you set a goal can be the difference between achieving it or not.

Achieving any goal is challenging. It requires commitment, focus and determination. It can be very easy to quit striving for a goal when obstacles arise, so it is important to have a reason for wanting the achieve the goal – this will keep you going on the tough days! So, the next time you look at your goals, ask yourself why you want to achieve each one, and, even better, write the reason next to it.

If you are familiar with goal-setting strategies, such as SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals, you will already know that one of the most successful ways of achieving your goals is by breaking them down into smaller, actionable steps. By gradually chipping away at a goal, step by step, you create momentum and a feeling of accomplishment when you complete each milestone.

For example, the journey from the couch to running your first 5km race requires more than one run. This goal will require multiple runs, of increasing distance over time. For goals that require consistent effort over a period of time, I find creating healthy habits is the most successful way of achieving this type of goal. This is where a trusty habit tracker will become your new BFF!

I like to print a monthly habit tracker, which I insert into my journal to review each day. You can of course opt for shorter and longer habit trackers, such as a week, quarter, 6 months, or a year, depending on how long you require to complete your goal.

It is ideal to display your habit tracker somewhere where you will see if every day. Because I journal every day, keeping it with my journal works for me, but you might prefer to keep yours on the fridge, bathroom mirror, or even behind the toilet door!

The habit tracker I use has space for 13 habits, which is a lot to track every day, but some of the habits I track are smaller and quicker than others, such as taking vitamins and flossing my teeth. On average, I am probably tracking around ten habits per day. I am also ok with not doing each habit every day. For example, I have ‘running’ and ‘exercise’ as two separate habits. It is a bonus if I do both on one day – usually it is one or the other, which I am happy with. The key is making your habit tracker work for your lifestyle and the time you have available.

I have included a link to my habit tracker in the shownotes, which I encourage you to download and try out for yourself.

One of the biggest learnings I have experienced with goal-setting is not tackling too many goals at once. Whilst you might have a long list of goals you want to achieve this year, I strongly recommend tackling no more than 3-5 at once. It does depend on how long it takes to achieve your goal, but let’s say you set three goals per quarter and achieve these. You will feel like a Rockstar because you’re making consistent progress throughout the year.

I hope this post has encouraged you to take action by reviewing your current goals, and/or set some goals for the next quarter, as well as break down how you might achieve these goals using a trusty habit tracker.

Now it’s your turn for a little reflection. Here are some questions to ponder – feel free to record your answers in your journal to help you reflect and gain more clarity:

  1. What goals have you achieved so far this year?
  2. What goals are still on your list to achieve? Are there any new goals you would like to add to your list?
  3. What 3-5 goals are you going work on this quarter? Why do you want to achieve these goals, and how can you break these goals down into smaller, actionable steps?

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
– Confucius