Transitioning From Goals to Habits
I have always been goal oriented. I haven't always had the self-discipline to follow through with them.
In the past, I was always excited at the start to a new year. I claimed with pride that I didn't believe in new years "resolutions." I would instead set measurable goals for self-improvement. I was gung-ho to get started, writing the goals out on paper and making sure they were "SMART." For the first couple of months, I was diligent at working toward the goals and tracking my progress. After about month two or three, life would happen and my goals were put on the back burner. December would arrive and I hadn't accomplished much of anything that I had intended. This became a yearly cycle - excitement for the new year, setting goals, then disappointment in myself for not reaching them.
At the start of 2021, I decided I wanted to try out a new concept. I like to read articles and books as well as watch videos from others about forming habits. Wanting to create some healthy habits for myself, I came to the realization that maybe this would be more effective than setting goals that I never see through. So, this is me sharing with you my experience so far in transitioning from goals to habits. I am listing my process. I have also created a free workbook you can use to follow the process for yourself. See the link at the end of the blog.
The very first thing I did was sit down with pen and paper and list out areas in my life where I wanted to improve. Here is what I came up with:
Be on time
Budget every month
Cook more at home
Take control of laundry
Keep the house clean
Drink more water
Build relationships with friends and family
My next step was to write down what I must do to make these things happen. I decided to write it out in the sentence form of "In order to ..., I will ..."
In order to be on time, I will:
Wake up on time.
Set out clothes I will wear the next day before bed.
Pack my lunch for the next day before bed.
In order to exercise, I will:
Plan for it in my day.
Walk the dog around my neighborhood.
Use my Apple watch.
In order to budget every month, I will:
Schedule a day on my calendar dedicated to it.
Track my bill that are due.
Track my spending.
In order to cook more at home, I will:
Meal plan for the week.
Keep the kitchen clean.
In order to read more, I will:
Schedule time in my day to read.
Choose 12 books I want to read throughout the year.
In order to meditate, I will:
Schedule time in my day to meditate.
Use the Calm app.
In order to take control of laundry, I will:
Plan for it in my day.
Create a system.
Do a load every day.
In order to keep the house clean, I will:
Create a cleaning system.
Do a little every day.
In order to drink more water, I will:
Buy a water bottle with time stamps to use each day.
Take the water bottle with me to work every day.
In order to build relationships with friends and family, I will:
Say yes to invitations from friends to socialize.
Offer invitations to friends to socialize.
See my doctor about my anxiety affecting my relationship with my husband.
From this list, my next step was to identify some habits I needed to create to make it become reality. Not everything listed above became a habit. Some items were put on a get-done list. I chose to organize the habits into daily, weekly, and monthly habits.
Get up at 6 AM (daily)
Set out clothes for next day (daily)
Pack my lunch for next day (daily)
Set out meat to thaw for dinner (daily)
Walk the dog (daily)
Exercise for 30 minutes 3x per week (weekly)
Set my budget (monthly)
Track my bills/spending (weekly)
Shop and plan meals (weekly)
Empty dishwasher (daily)
Load/start dishwasher (daily)
Read each night before bed (daily)
Buy a book to read (monthly)
Do 10 minute meditation (daily)
Start a load of laundry (daily)
Fold/hang and put away laundry (daily)
Spend 15 minutes cleaning/decluttering (daily)
Spend an hour decluttering one item I have been procrastinating on (weekly)
Spend 1 hour deep cleaning a zone of the house (weekly)
Drink 64 oz of water (daily)
Have a date night with my husband (weekly)
Invite friends to eat lunch (weekly)
Call my parents (weekly)
Call my sister (weekly)
Plan a visit with my family (monthly)
Now that I had my habit listed out, my next step was to write out my daily routine - morning and evening. For weekly and monthly habits, I scheduled them on my calendar. My daily routine would be something I purposefully do every single day.
Get up at 6 AM
Start a load of laundry
Set out meat to thaw
Clean toilet and wipe down bathroom counters
Evening (when I get home from work) Routine:
Put laundry in dryer
Walk the dog
15 minute cleaning/decluttering
Evening (after dinner) Routine:
Fold/hang and put away laundry
Pack lunch and fill water bottle for next day
Lay out clothes for next day
10 minute meditation
So, how is this going so far? I am happy to report that I am farther along with getting things done than I have ever been before. I am a linear thinker and this process really helped me break it down and get specific about what I needed to accomplish and how to do it. I set reminders for myself for my habits in my Reminder app on my phone. I schedule on my Calendar app things that need to get done weekly and monthly.
Click on this link for access to my free workbook that will walk you through this process. I would love to know your comments about how I might improve it or if it helps you.
Workbook: Commitments to Habits to Routines