Focus on Your Daily Systems (Habits), Not a Future Goal

In the long run, making a goal could be the thing that stops your daily progress

I have been studying my own progress into health, and I have learned that setting a health goal can be frustrating. When you set a goal, you are saying, “I will be happy once I achieve ______________  (fill in the blank).”  Or, “Once I achieve my goal, then I will consider myself successful.”

When I was on my weight loss goal to lose 40 pounds, I went from over 210 pounds to 169 pounds. I pushed and pushed myself until I made the goal. But once I made the goal, I thought, “Hmm…now what?”

I rewarded myself by eating a whole bunch of saltine crackers with lots of peanut butter and honey on each one. I ate and ate until I was stuffed. I made my goal, but was that the best thing to do?

A lot of folks who want to lose weight by running will set a goal of running in a 5K or marathon.  They train hard for months to get ready for the big day. But after the big race, they often stop training because the big focus was on the “event,” not on the daily system (habits).

In the long run, making a goal could be the thing that stops your daily progress. I am talking about lifelong habit change, not a 30-day or 12-week program.

Fall in love with the process – your daily system – not a goal

Let me give you an example. One of the daily exercises I do is pushups. I use a chart to write down what I do each day, covering 45 days at a time. Now, I don’t have a big huge goal of 1000 pushups every 45 days. I never think about a big number that I want to accomplish. But I encourage and motivate myself with the daily system that I chart.

Focus on your system

My “goal” is not some big thing that will happen in the future, but I have fallen in love with my daily system. My focus is on my system, not on something that will happen on a date in the future (since, as you know, most of those “goal dates” never happen).

The reward of focusing on a system instead of a future date goal is that it takes all the pressure off you and gives you daily happiness. You are not waiting for something great to happen.  Focusing on your daily system brings you daily satisfaction.

Success leads to more success

Self-esteem is created when you have accomplished something. Self-esteem does not happen by saying you are going to do something. After 45 days my chart is full and I can see what I have done by focusing on my daily system. When you experience success, it will lead you to more success. My chart does not have a number or future date that I need to hit, but it does keeps me focused.

I encourage you to design a simple daily system (small habit) that you can do each day and fall in love with your system (habits) and not a future date goal. When you do, your self-esteem will grow and your success with your health will increase.