How I’ve conditioned myself to reach my goals in 20206 min read
You may have read it in my New Year’s Resolution post, or in my tweets, or… well, pretty much anywhere else: I want to make 2020 a year of creativity and productivity! Yet… as James Clear says it in Atomic Habits:
“You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”
So, I decided to improve my systems, to condition myself to reach my goals this year, without relying on motivation or chance. Build the right habits and find the appropriate methods so that every new day gets me closer to my dreams. Here are the main areas:
1 • I defined my goals clearly (+ I experiment)
The first step was to be clear about my goals. I don’t want to just spend the next 350+ days randomly going through my daily life, hoping that some change will magically happen. I want to create that change. So, I gave a “mood” to my New Year’s Résolution: I want 2020 to be a year of creativity.
This year I want to create more and stop letting my anxiety get the better of me. I want to:
- Build and launch a web app
- Publish 52+ posts and send as much newsletters.
- Improve my health – I want to learn Spanish
So I experiment to see what are the best methods. For example, I noticed that writing every day helps me to be more creative. Why? Because it relieves me of the anxiety to “reach perfection” directly. If I know that I’ll be back tomorrow to write, I can just play around today and let my creativity flow, not stressing to make it perfect.
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2 • I just show up everyday
In Habitify, I track all of the habits I build (coding, writing, sleeping early) and take a wild pleasure to check them off everyday. I show up, and I try to stay as consistent as I can.
“I shall then make sure I feed my creativity by exercising it everyday” (excerpt from my Personal Mission Statement)
As this point, I don’t even care about the intensity or the quality of my work. As long as I showed up, I’m at peace. Better go to the gym and do 10 push-ups than not doing any push-up at all, right?
And in the event that I do miss a day in my schedule, then… so what, does it mean it’s not worth it anymore? Of course it is, so it’s important to get back on track as soon as possible.
3 • I don’t try to reach perfection
I’m a perfectionist by nature, so you can imagine that it’s not the easiest for me. Yet… when I get down to one of my goals, I just remember that on the long run consistency will be worth way more than intensity.
I would rather write a post everyday, however good it is, than to write the most amazing post ever ever 8 months. In the fields where I have to learn and remember things (Spanish, code), I don’t try to learn anything by heart, I know that “I’ll get there and I’ll understand everything” on the long run. All I need to do is keep showing up.
4 • I document everything and I show my work
I really think it is important to keep track of our achievements. That’s why I use Habitify and that’s also why I tweet, write and post as much as I can about my progress, what I learned or created.
- If I ever am on the verge of giving up, taking a look at all of my achievements, might get me back on the right track.
- And, sometimes the Internet has got your back also! People that are on the right path as me, or just like what I do, might just give me the motivation I need to continue.
- Finally, people might actually learn from this, and get inspired or motivated! I get to contribute and be a part of the community 😊
5 • I learn from others
Speaking of learning from others… What’s the point of reinventing the wheel?
Thousand, maybe millions of people have been on the same path as me in the past. I won’t be the first writer, language-learner or web developer so I might as well save some time by learning from others. That’s why I read books and follow the right persons, so I can learn from their expertise and experiences.
This is only a projection of my system as I’m writing this post. I know (and I hope) that it is going to change. If it does, it will only mean that I learned and made progress: either or I’ll be more efficient because I found better methods or I’ll have defined more clearly my values by ditching some habits and behaviours. Either way, I win!
More ressources on Habit Building :
Actually, I have quite a few ressources to recommend if you’re on your path to build new habits and reach your goals. I’ll be talking extensively about this during the year, but so far here is what I’d suggest:
- “Atomic Habits” by James Clear • This book is an absolute gem and… I actually have a review on it up on the blog. Check it out!
- “Three ways to make your habits stick” • Matt D’Avella’s latest video when it talks about his 12 30-day challenge experiments to build lasting habits.
- “A Better Way to Track Your Habits” • A very immersive and interesting video by Thomas Frank of College Info Geek on how to build and track habits.
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That’s all for today, I hope that you have enjoyed this post. Now, what about you: what are some habits are you going to be implementing to get closer to your goals?