It's the third week of the new year - about the time we start "retiring" those optimistic resolutions.... putting them back to sleep, so we can revive them hopefully again next year.
Why is it that a few around us seem to succeed at their goals - be it learning the piano, or losing weight, or writing a book, while the rest of us seem to be stuck in an endless cycle of self-help books and futile attempts at scaling our personal peaks?
At Habitat - we asked ourselves one question - what do people who succeed at achieving their goals have in common, and can we apply those same principles to help the rest of us? What we discovered wasn't surprising, but it is worth noting here:
1. Excellence is Habit: We are what we do repeatedly. Simple everyday habits - done consistently, as part of a routine - all add up eventually to success.
2. Inspiration is optional: There was no need for those "eye of the tiger" inspiration moments everyday. Making things habitual helped people just "show up and do", without emotion (positive or negative) messing up the narrative.
3. Consistency matters, Intensity follows: If it's not something you do everyday, chances are, you're probably not going to do it successfully. If you can focus on being consistent - and establish "hooks" in your existing routine - it gradually becomes easier to up the intensity and the quality of the effort.
4. Accountability helps, but is a double-edged sword: Having a coach or trainer to hold you accountable often helps - but only if you know how to leverage their help. Often, there is a tendency to feel ashamed about not "living up" to your coach's expectations, or putting them on a pedestal. This is counterproductive, and doesn't quite help. What's useful if you can use another person to help you stay informed, motivated, and consistent, without any associated value judgements. It helps if this person is an expert, but it is just as powerful, if this person can help you stick to an evidence-based framework to help you practice behaviors.
5. Failure is a given, Persistence is key: The ones that eventually break through and see success, have fallen off, stalled, detoured, given up multiple times - they just tend to underplay this part of their victory narrative. But they kept persisting without having an "all or nothing attitude". They were obsessed about "maintaining a perfect streak" but weren't so hung up on it that they let one bad day or week derail their journey.
6. Believe in process, not outcomes: Ultimately - success wasn't an end-point or a number - but the creation of the habit and routine in itself. We tend to associate success with outcomes, but it's really a function of effort. This seems to be true for anything - whether it's playing the piano, or losing weight. Losing weight was just a consequence of the everyday habits around exercise and nutrition (among other things). Excellence in playing the piano - was a consequence of habit. It all comes down to regarding the journey as the destination - as cliched as that sounds!
Okay... the sermon's over. Now what? The next self-help book? That inspirational video on youtube? Back to hope and despair??
Fear not! We're building a service to help you these principles into action. Our first area of focus is healthy living. For all you busy bees out there - we're going to be your trusty sidekicks on your journey to awesome health and fitness - helping you make steady consistent progress towards your goals.
We're in private beta mode right now. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to be added to our waitlist.