2020: Goals Vs. Habits


As we bring in the New Year, we all tend to think about setting “goals” for 2020. Goals are another way of saying “I want”.  “I want” means you want something you don’t have, and this creates an unhappy or unbalanced perspective.

If we are living in the moment, we don’t spend our time thinking about what we want, we spend our time being who we are. Being here now is a far more peaceful and powerful mindset than wishing for something to happen in the future.

This is why habits are a more powerful way to catalyze change and growth than setting “goals”. Setting goals is a mental exercise that emphasizes what we don’t have, while habits make us consider a series of real actions that will lead to a genuinely better life.

It is easy to set goals, but habits are one of the most effective ways to get us from A to B. If goals are the map, habits are the engine. Without the engine, you will go nowhere, regardless of what the map says.

Habits are powerful because through a relatively small but consistent effort, we can achieve great growth over the long run. Habits help us develop a positive routine, which can lead to personal transformation.

One way to approach new habit building is to use the idea of mini-habits. Rather than trying to make several big changes at once, we start with very small changes and create a habit around that very small effort. Mini-habits are simply a very small time commitment focused around a specific action.

So if our “goal” is to lose weight in 2020, we might create a new habit that will move us toward our goal. But rather than making a huge commitment – like 5 hours per week at the gym – we might commit to 5 minutes of exercise per day. Once we start those 5 minutes of exercise, there may be days when we decide to continue for a full 30-60 minutes, but if we at least commit to those 5 minutes, we create a positive habit and a sense of achievement.

If we make a large commitment – say 5 hours per week at the gym – but then quit after one month, we are back to zero, having made no real tangible change in our lives. And since we “failed” at achieving our goal, we end up feeling guilty about it and probably end up gaining weight rather than losing weight. In other words, one mini-habit well executed is worth 1000 goals we set but never reach.

Mini-habits can be applied to nearly any part of our life. We all have 2 minutes or 5 minutes per day to do something positive for ourselves or for others.

So let’s make 2020 the year of Mini-Habits!