An important component of goal setting is getting used to new habits. Sometimes it means overriding comfortable old habits that we’re programmed to default back to. We let bad habits continue after learning them because they bring ease and benefit to our lives, but new habits can do the same – and help you get things done.
A new, healthier habit is always a welcome addition to a productive life, especially a life that is looking to improve in quality. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Focus on what you want
Know your “endgame” before you commit to achieving something. Rather than just saying, “I’ll submit my art to a gallery,” do your homework and narrow down a list. Work out a reasonable timeline that you can work with that will force you to remain on task.
2. Share your goals
Whether it be with your closest friends or complete strangers on an internet message board, tell somebody who you know will be supportive. They can help you stick to your goal by checking up on you, asking about your progress, or even motivating you when you start to slack off.
If this isn’t possible, you can consider starting a journal where you log your progress as a tangible reminder of what you’ve done and what you’ve yet to do.
3. Reward yourself
A great way to keep up with good habits is to reward yourself in ways that won’t derail the progress you’ve made. This can be something simple, like for every week you spend more time on a project than you pledged to, you buy yourself a nice lunch or go out to a movie. This can help ward off burnout.
4. Be patient
Maya Angelou said:
All great achievements require time.
Good or bad, habits don’t develop overnight. Even the habits you’ve had forever come so naturally to you because they’ve survived years of reinforcement. So don’t panic if you don’t experience overnight change, as long as change does not elude you.
Once your mind and body start to see the benefits it reaps from the good habits you’re steadily developing, it will become easier and more ingrained in your routine.
5. Appreciate what you’ve done
Sometimes a simple look over your shoulder is all it takes to get yourself out of a rut. Think about your life before you committed to artistic achievements, or how much you’ve done in the last 5 years. If you’ve finished a project, that’s reason enough to assure yourself you have everything you need to do it all again.