Having Goals, Plans and Building Helpful Habits

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If you don't know where you are going then how do you know when you've gotten there?

At every point in time, you need to have a goal. It doesn't have to be a BAG (big audacious goal) or MAD-centric (making a difference) or any of those fancy terms motivational speakers use. Life is not a playground and we are not children anymore. Always trying to outdo the next guy and turning everything to some sort of competition is just both immature and wrong. If the goal that will get you to your desired point in life is a simple and easy-looking goal, then stick to it rather than complicating it to meet some high sounding acronyms.

A goal is a specific objective you want to achieve. It has to be well defined and achievable. As an example, one of my goals is to build a software company. Though it is a short statement, it is a well-defined and achievable goal.

Next is to have an elaborate plan of how you will achieve you goal. A strategy that will take you from where you to where you want to be. You don't need to burden the plan with all the technical knowledge you got from your project management training and eight sigma purple belt training. In fact, the simpler the better. You want something your mind can easily grasp and internalize. A plan you won't need to read every week to remember how it is meant to work. Again as an example, my plan to achieve that goal is to set-up a company (which I have done), learn programming (which I am doing), build software programs and sell them. It is a plan so simple that I can remember it easily, transfer it to my subconscious and estimate how far I have gone with it in reaching my goal.

Finally, you need to build helpful habits. When I say helpful habits, I mean habits that will help you reach your goal, not all good habits. The benefits of building helpful habits is like setting up an automation system, it's what I call set and forget. When I wanted to use my right brain more, after I learned from books and research papers that I am left-brain dominant, I began brushing with my left hand and writing with my left hand. I didn't keep to the writing with my left hand as the font and speed were very disappointing, but I kept to the brushing with my left hand enough to turn to a habit. Today, I still brush with my left hand even without remembering the original goal that got me started on it. That is the power of habit. And now it is the same strategy I use to get to whatever goal I am after. I do the things that will move me towards achieving my goal repeatedly enough to turn them to habits. I wrote daily until it is now a habit. I practice programming now so much that I am turning it into a habit. I also let go of habits that will take me away from my goal. I have turned to zero my social life, gotten rid of the habits that ensured I had a semblance of a social life. They weren't helpful to my goals. It sounds extreme; yours could be less extreme but the point is you will still have to sacrifice some good habits that are weighing you down. That way I am more certain of reaching my goal. 

And that's how goals, plans and helpful habits work together.


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