Goals versus habits

I recently read the book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, all about habit building. It shed some interesting light on my #40by40 journey.

The goal is to develop habits that allow us to have time for everything we value—work, fun, exercise, friends, errands, study—in a way that’s sustainable, forever. (Location 1455)

 

Habits are the behaviors that I want to follow forever, without decisions, without debate, no stopping, no finish lines. Location 1795

I started this journey thinking about accomplishing certain goals, but in reality, as I look at my list, almost all of them are habits I want to establish permanently. She shares in the book that habits actually remove the need to make decisions – instead, you decide once and then just keep doing the thing. I really love that.

I don’t just want to eat healthy and exercise from now until my 40th birthday – I want to have an established habit of healthy eating and exercise that extends past that birthday for the rest of my life. All of this is about centering my life on the things that I value, instead of allowing the whims of the moment to carry me off. I don’t want to look back at the end of my life and wonder why I spent so much time watching television or chasing apps on my phone. I want to know that I lived based on the things that I value.

It’s a challenge every day, to choose my values over convenience. Healthy eating takes a back seat to fast food at times. Exercise gives way to laziness. Even writing on this blog gets put on the back burner.

Right now I’m paying close attention to what gets in the way of my desired outcomes, and working to eliminate the problem areas. For example, I have told myself I can blog from home when I don’t have time for it at church. Reality has shown me that I don’t tend to turn on the computer in my house. In an effort to stop skipping exercise on the weekends, I’ve shifted my workouts to afternoon/evening, and last week I worked out both Friday and Saturday for the first time!

I’m excited to see where the journey takes me. And I highly recommend the book. It has a lot of strategies on habit-formation, and has been extraordinarily helpful for me along the way.