Let This Linger- Goals vs. Habits

By Alexa Ward

Let's close with Goals vs Habits!

Goals a great for defining direction.

I spend about 2 hours each Dec/Jan reviewing the prior year and deciding what I want to accomplish. I break things down into categories, even giving myself grades for each: Spiritual, Physical, Relationships, Rest & Recreation, Vocation and Economics. I write a few sentences about each.

Habits are great for defining aligned action.

I define the weekly (or other cadences) I need based on Goals. Breaking long-term goals down into short-term habits is the most important step.

Here's an example spanning work and personal. I worked more than I planned to in 2023. Looking back, it was a combination of nutty and fun growth for BIG, along with all the hours I spent writing the book. My goal was to work ~1,800 hours, but I invested 2,199. Way off!

I realized that while I had planned enough days off in 2023, I broke into many of those because I hadn't planned something with another person. It was way too easy for me to just say, "Ok, I'll take that call or give that speech" when an opportunity presented itself.

So here's the 2024 change–Becky and I sat down on New Year's Day and aligned our calendars for the entire year. We made promises to each other that we'd spend those days together. So now, if an opportunity comes up for work, I have the wall of canceling on someone I love in the way of me saying yes. That should make a huge difference, letting me say yes to less and spend more time with Becky. Win/win/win!

One more example, just for BD. I've realized over the past few years that I'm too slow to delegate. It's SO EASY for our egos to get in the way and think, "We're the only person that can do ___." That's a lie. If you learned it, someone else can too. Our team is so strong now that they can handle nearly any BD or Delivery situation I can. It took a long time to build that muscle, but it's there now, and I need to leverage it. It's good for me, our team, and our clients.

So another habit I'm building is to define when I should get involved. This is something that needs to be written to be clear, and I'm finishing up a draft to run past the team next week. They'll see things I don't see, so we'll get everyone's perspective to refine it.

With that place, I'll add a 1-minute weekly review to my MIT process to give myself a Yes/No grade if I'm saying yes to less to hold myself accountable. It should be a game-changer. The specific and brutal question I'll have to answer to myself: Did I delegate everything possible this week? It's a little scary that I'll have to answer that each and every week, and that's good.

Let me close with this.

Set Goals.

The enemy is on autopilot, and goals are what beats it. View yourself from above and give yourself the advice a great and honest friend would. What would thrill you to focus on next? What can you let go of to get more leverage? Remember: if you learned it, others can too.

Then break your goals into habits.

The magic of habits is tracking them. Set up a notebook, sticky note, or spreadsheet to track things. Weekly is usually the best tracking cadence, and you can add quick tracking to your MIT Process. (MORE HERE). Your brain knows what every stage of the week feels like, from Monday morning to Sunday night, so it's powerful to tap into that with a weekly review and planning ritual.

If your goal is quantitative, like investing 10% of your time in BD (a good benchmark), make it your habit of tracking the number of hours in this case.

If your goal is qualitative, like if you're delegating enough, use a 1-5 score, or better yet, a brutally honest Yes/No answer to a simple question like I'm using myself above. This is wildly effective because you'll feel if you did what you needed to do or not each week. If you succeed in a week, double down, accelerating your momentum. If you fail, do better the next week.

This one-two punch of Goals and Habits creates growth. Growth in you, growth in your team, and growth with your clients.

And if you're growing, you'll thrive.

You'll soar.

Let's soar in 2024!