Hey friends —
It is that time of the year where our mind starts to make plans on starting the new year by setting various goals to lead better lives or break a few bad habits that you are trying to stop since forever. We decide on habits/goals that make us better people and have a healthy life. We write down goals for the year, tell people that this is going to be our new year resolution and we think to ourselves
Starting January 1st - I will be better in whatever I choose to do.
Then, January 1st arrives, we feel energized, motivated and start doing more than what is required. Take me for example, last year I thought I will read more and write more. In reality, I just couldn't write or read. I would sit in front of my laptop and be gone to the deep ends of YouTube and Twitter(yes, I enjoy Twitter a lot more now.)
So, around mid-June 2021, I decided to take a step to listen to Audiobooks because of the goal I had in mind to read more. With this in mind, I purchased one of the audiobooks and started to listen to this book that I really enjoyed. It is called the Atomic Habits. It is a book by James Clear, who has been an entrepreneur, then a writer at jamesclear.com with over half a million subscribers to his newsletter, and now an author who sold millions of copies of his book. In the book, James talks about how to build systems rather than setting goals. There is a beautiful quote from the book that explains why we keep failing at building new habits or breaking the old ones.
You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems - James Clear, Atomic Habits
He states that having goals will only keep us momentarily motivated, whereas we don't have motivation every day to do the task. Hence, James says we must have a system, that helps us do work every day.
I loved this book and I wanted to learn more from James and I looked him up on YouTube and one of the things he said which really hit me hard was the fact that all you need to do is show up.
James explains this by saying that one of his subscribers used to go to the gym every day for 6 months. At first, he would just show up to the gym, look around for a few minutes and then leave, without even working out a single rep. People around him thought he was a lazy guy trying to lose weight but can't because he doesn't put in the work.
What James learned from that subscriber later was after a few weeks of just him showing up and leaving he started to notice a change in his thinking. He(the subscriber) thought to himself that I'm coming here every day let me do some exercises for a while, this soon turned into him putting in the reps and finally achieving his fitness goals.
James mentions that the subscriber first was mastering the art of showing up. He went every day and made himself feel okay to come to the gym and sooner his own thinking asked him to do something while he shows up.
Any habit starts with Cue, Craving, then we Respond, and get Reward. By mastering the art of showing up, we are manifesting the Cue part of the habit.
If you are unfamiliar with the Habit Loop, I would suggest you read the Atomic habits. Habit loops are how habits are formed and it is being researched and tested for years to come to conclusions which James has nuanced by adding the craving part of the loop.
I used to set goals that were just ridiculous. I would say to myself I will write every day and that's it. At first, I was writing lots of pieces but when things got a little slow, I was out of ideas to talk about or I wasn't feeling to write, I would stop and never get back to it. That changed after trying to just show up.
I would just sit in front of my laptop, even when I wasn't feeling like it, and write the topics that would interest me in my own words. Doing this for at least 10 mins took care of the goal of writing every day and also had me learn something.
In order to become a pro at something or you want to set your new year goals, I would recommend you take the art of showing up first and foremost after deciding on the goal. For example, these past three months I set the goal of writing at least 5 minutes every day. I started with writing about UX Design, then a few blog posts, then daily journaling, and finally took the 50-day writing and started writing notes of that workshop.
So, here's my 2 cents on goal setting that you can take seriously for the year 2022.
- Set goals that are achievable over time: Sometimes, we tend to set goals that are huge and after a few weeks, we just stop doing because of a mammoth task ahead.
- After setting an achievable goal - master the art of showing up: The goal setting is just the warm-up and we must be prepared to show up every day. Showing up every day ticks an imaginary checkbox that you set for yourself to identify as an individual. Writing every day is a checkbox for my identity as a writer. Building better habits starts with you and me showing up to work at the goal in the first place.
- Some days you just can't show up - It's okay: One day something happens that stops you from doing the task for that day. Then, the next day we feel tired. We think let's do it from tomorrow and that tomorrow never comes.
If you failed to show up today, make sure you show up tomorrow.
Just say it to yourself and show up the next day. Don't get fixated on the thought that you missed a day. Acknowledge it and continue showing up.
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