HABIT CHANGE AT THE CORE

You drift and before you realize it, you’re dreaming.

A bright orange flag ripples slightly in the morning breeze as a white sun climbs a sea of blue. You can’t see it clearly; it has been driven into the soft soil hidden in the thick brush some distance from you. You decided where the flag would be planted and you’ve committed to taking hold of it. Time moves forward and you’re constrained by the passage of it—you’ve got to get started.

As you take a step forward the ground in front of you gives way to an overwhelming rush of frigid, muddy water that extends into the distant horizon. You spend the time you’ve given yourself staring into the angry rapids, occasionally wading into the current to test its strength against your own. Its unyielding surge overcomes your commitment to feeling the soft orange cloth between your fingers and you retreat to the safety of the shore. Your motivation won’t get you across and discouragement sets in. It’s too difficult to reach the flag to claim your victory so instead you lay on the damp earth, defeated.

 

We all share this story in our lives. At one time or another we’ve felt the defeat of not reaching our goals. But what are goals, really? Aren’t they just destinations we’ve rarely or never been to? Since we’ve never been we don’t know how to get there and the steady flow of our current habits keeps us from reaching our new destination.

That’s the importance of habit change being at the core of setting and achieving goals—your motivation is rarely sufficient to cross the rapids of the habits that stand in your way. And what’s more is that your future self won’t have enough motivation either. Defining and developing new habits that create a bridge to your destination is the only constant way to achieve your goals.