Most who pursue goals never achieve them. According to a University of Scranton study, only 8% achieve their goals. Why? Because in order to achieve your goals you must first change your habits. And habits are not easy things to change.
Old school habit change requires the expenditure of willpower. The brain hates it when you use willpower. Willpower is the conscious exertion of self-control. Your consciousness resides in your neocortex (aka new brain or upper brain). The new brain has only been around for a few hundred thousand years and is not as efficient as the old brain (limbic system and brain stem), which has been evolving over millions of years. Willpower saps the brain of brain fuel (glucose and oxygen). After thirty minutes of sucking up precious brain fuel, the brain starts fighting back by lowering Dopamine levels (the happiness neurotransmitter) to make you unhappy while engaging in the habit. It’s hoping that by making you miserable, you’ll stop engaging in the new habit. And 92% of the time, it works, which is why we fail in achieving goals.
But what if there was a way to create sticky habits around your goals? This would put you on autopilot for successfully achieving your goals. This would also make goal achievement an effortless, unconscious process. In order to do that, you need to tap into your old brain, specifically the emotion center of the old brain. When you tap into the emotional center of your old brain, you no longer rely on willpower to forge habits. Those who rise from poverty or the middle-class, have figured out how to do just that. From my Rich Habits research I uncovered the process self-made millionaire use to convert their goals into daily habits that tap into the emotional part of the brain and transform their daily habits into sticky habits, immediately.
Step #1 – Focus on the Big Picture
Converting goals into habits is a process that requires you to first create a vision of your ideal future life. Inside this vision are things called dreams. Your ideal, future life is really nothing more than the realization of all of your dreams. Think of your vision as something similar to a blueprint for building a house. And think of the dreams as the components of that house, from the basement to the roof. Think of goals as the construction crew that goes to work making each dream come true. Just like each component to a house requires that you accomplish multiple things, such as putting down a floor, putting up walls or wiring for electricity, each dream requires that you complete multiple tasks. Each of these tasks is what we call a goal. When all of the goals are achieved, dream realized. When all of your dreams are realized, you have your ideal future life. So how does this vision thing work? Write a script of your ideal future life. The script should be no more than 1,000 words and it should cover the following areas of your life:
- Your soul mate
- Your ideal career
- Your perfect health
- Your dream home
- Things you want to do and
- Stuff you want to own.
You can customize your script to include more than what I’ve listed above, but this will give you a foundation, at least, to build your script around. When you define each one of these areas of your life, you are actually defining each one of your dreams. Example: my ideal career is to become a successful author. So, one of my dreams is to become a successful author. Another example: my ideal home is a house down the Jersey shore. So, I found another one of my dreams, a Jersey shore house. Once you have identified each one of your dreams, that’s when the fun begins. Now we start to build goals around each dream.
Step #2 – Focus on the Details
In order to realize each one of your dreams you must define the goals you will need to achieve for each dream. Defining each one of your goals requires that you become very specific about what physical activities you need to engage in, in order for that goal to be realized. Each dream may require the accomplishment of numerous goals. Example: my dream is to become a successful author. In order to become a successful author I need to achieve each one of these goals:
- Write a book that people will want to read
- Promote my book to the media and everyone on planet earth
- Do speaking engagements at libraries, schools, business groups, etc. talking about my book
- Write every day because practice makes perfect.
Once you have defined your goals, now you want to build daily habits around each goal.
Step #3 – Create Daily Habits Around Each Goal
Each of your goals will require that you create certain daily habits that will get you closer each day to accomplishing your goal. Example: the first goal above was to write a book that people will want to read. What daily habits will you need to engage in?
- I need to create an outline for the book I want to write. I will work on this outline 20 minutes every day until I have an outline I am satisfied with
- I will need to write 1,000 words every day until I complete each chapter and have a draft of a manuscript
- I will work with a professional editor every day for two weeks to edit my draft manuscript
- I will solicit 5 traditional publishers every day until I find a publisher who will publish my book
- If I am unable to find a traditional publisher who will publish my book I will find a self-publisher to help me publish the book. I will research 1 self-publisher every day until I find one that I am satisfied in.
In the last bullet point is something called a pivot. When you pursue goals, oftentimes life will not cooperate. When insurmountable obstacles get in the way, that is the time to pivot. This will require that you change your goal habits in order to get around the obstacle that is in your way. Trust me on this, when you are pursuing any dream you will have to pivot often. It’s just part of the process.
Once you accomplish your first goal, you move on to your second goal, creating goal habits around that second goal. You keep at this process until you have achieved all of the goals for that dream. Then you move on to the next dream and repeat the process over and over again until you realize all of your dreams. When you are done realizing all of your dreams, you will have the life of your dreams.