Like most entrepreneurs, many of my clients have established some lofty goals this year. Typically, we must change or add certain behaviors to achieve our goals. When we add new actions to our routine, we must get in the habit of performing them.
When entrepreneurs demand too much of themselves by neglecting to form a realistic plan--and the practices to support it--success is unlikely. I see this problem too often. As an entrepreneur, you were born to think big, but you may not know when (or how) to turn it off and think in smaller doses.
Successfully reaching your goals is the direct result of your habits.
If you habitually overbook your day, for instance, you won't have the time to move your goals forward. You may need to change the habit of thinking you can squeeze more into your day than 24-hours allows. Overbooking may also be a sign that you have a difficult time saying no, and you may need to get into the habit of enforcing firmer boundaries.
BJ Fogg is an experimental psychologist who founded the Stanford University Behavior Design Lab. Psychology Today quoted him as saying that tiny (micro) habits help you scale back bigger behaviors into really small behaviors. You then sequence them into your life where they can be easily accommodated. "These micro habits rely less on willpower and motivation and more on redesigning your life little by little, so over time, these small shifts create dramatic results," he said.
Do your daily habits support the results you want in the future?
I once had a client who wished to add cold calling to his marketing activities. He had never made a cold call in his life yet wanted to start with a commitment of 10 calls a day. Week after week, he came into our sessions without having made a single call. At last, he agreed that his goal was overly ambitious and cut back to two calls every other weekday. In the following session, he was able to report in with a record of complete success. Once he had developed the habit of picking up the phone, it became second nature, and he was able to reach his target goal until he was able to outsource the task.
Entrepreneurs are born to think big, but in this regard, thinking big can impede progress. An overly aggressive approach to most goals will most certainly backfire on you.
The way to achieve your big dreams is to start small.
Think about what it takes to develop the muscles in your body, for instance. No one begins by lifting heavy weights seven days a week; they start with light weights and build muscle over time.
To create a micro habit, you divide an ambitious goal into small, sustainable actions over a more extended period of time and get in the habit of performing them. Instead of aiming directly for your big goal, you aim to create micro habits that support the completion of your goal. These habits are so small that many of them can be done in just minutes.
It may sound easy, and it is--that's the whole purpose of it. How long have you been promising yourself that you'll take serious action on a particular goal? Had you begun forming the micro habits to support your efforts, you may have reached your target by now. As you create your goals, remember, think small to grow large.