I was reading Leo at Zen Habits post on goals. It’s an excellent post explaining how he works on his goals, one at a time.
I have been completely mystified by the One Goal rule – how can I choose? And how can I work on just one goal to completion? My current goal is to create a coherent, high-quality body of work, but that could take months if not years. How can I not work on something else during that time? After all, I have to pay heed to family goals too.
Finally, after reading Leo’s post, I get it. It’s not that I should work only on One Goal, I should focus on developing one habit that will get me to that goal. Such as the habit of getting up early and working in the studio for an hour every day. Once that is an ingrained habit (which takes about a month) then I can choose another habit to work on, which can be for another goal.
Say, for instance, I have some 2008 goals to write a blog, create a body of work and run a half-marathon in under 2:15 (those are some of my actual goals). Well, to do these I need to focus on habits that make them inevitable, rather than specific actions. Habits such as a fixed studio time, running 3x a week, a daily writing time. Once I have a habit of getting into the studio every morning I just have to adjust that habit if I need more studio time – getting up earlier for instance. To speed up my running I am adjusting one of my running sessions to involve speed work.
It might all sound totally obvious to some people but it was an ‘A-ha!’ moment for me as I realized that his is how those super-organized people get so much done so effortlessly (and still have a clean house). They simply have habits, like working every morning, or writing every lunchtime, that mean progress towards their goal is inevitable.