Begin with the end in mind”
A simple statement and great advice – also known as Habit #2 from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. As we enter the 4th quarter or the beginning of the end of 2017, it is time to start preparing for what you will accomplish in 2018. Too soon? No way.
As you reflect upon all you have accomplished personally and professionally in 2017, you will inevitably conclude that reaching your goals was the result of making choices and implementing changes that lead you down the path to success. We are not a society that responds well to change that happens to us, and we often struggle to make change happen within us. That is the very reason why we should truly CELEBRATE all goals achieved in 2017. Once you have settled into your newfound success, start to lay the groundwork for what comes next.
Ali Davies, experienced Change Strategist with over 30 years in the field of personal, professional, and organizational change, provides interesting incite to her field of expertise,
“…when it comes to creating change that lasts and achieving results consistently, habits are more reliable than motivation.”
Habits are instinctual and become things you do on “auto-pilot” – small behaviors that often yield consistent and specific results. Good or healthy habits eventually provide positive reinforcement by making a direct impact on a desired outcome.
On the other hand, motivation is fleeting. Our motivation levels tend to be inconsistent and are often influenced by external factors. Therefore, if we rely solely on our motivation levels to accomplish our goals, we will walk a long and winding path towards success.
There have been numerous research studies over the years dedicated to determining how long it takes to form a habit. The latest research comes from a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology and concluded that it takes us somewhere between 18 – 254 days to form a new habit, with an overall average of 66 days. Hence, why we should start to think about our 2018 goals now.
With about 90 days left in 2017, you have time now to start forming the new habits that will help you hit the ground in a dead sprint to your 2018 goals. Use your 2017 accomplishments as your point of reference, for example.
- What did I achieve?
- What barriers did I overcome to achieve my goals?
- What do I want to do?
- What barriers will I encounter?
- What habits can I start to form now that will help me take on or even eliminate those barriers?
Forming a list of changes to be made or new habits to form can get overwhelming, FAST. If the “to-do” list gets too long, you might throw your hands up and say, “I can’t do this!” before you even get started. To prevent this activity in self-reflection from having a negative effect on your motivation level, focus on implementing ONE behavioral change that will make the biggest impact. Use the rest of 2017 to develop that new habit, and when 2018 begins you will be well on your way to the results you want. Want more on how to prep for 2018? Check out Master Coach Bennie Wylie, Jr’s 3 tips on preparing for the results you want!