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  • Nitin Fernandes

Building habits and achieving your goals

At the start of a year or perhaps on your birthday, you often feel like you should turn a corner in your life. At times, you set goals and look to achieve them over a period of time – usually a year. While some people achieve these personal objectives, some don’t. But are the final results the only thing we should be looking at while setting these goals?

In his best-selling book Atomic Habits, author James Clear writes: “Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.” That’s a very interesting way to not only achieve your goals but also live your life. Setting up a system, in which you build habits is what’s key.

For example, you set a target of reading a particular number of books in a month or a year. The best way to go about achieving that is by building a habit of reading. Once you spend a certain amount of time reading every day, it becomes a habit, and you’ll reach your goal comfortably.

Something else you can keep in mind while building a habit is to start on a smaller scale. Say, you want to read three books in a month and that requires 30 minutes of reading every day. It’s easier for you to begin by reading for even 5-10 minutes on day one and then work upwards over time.

In his aforementioned book, Clear also writes about the “two-second rule”. Essentially, following this rule helps you get started on any habit. The first step to reading is opening a book or by switching on your Kindle. Once you do that, you are likely to read a few paragraphs at least, instead of procrastinating.

Of course, while there are good habits, there are some bad ones as well. In the modern world, it’s often considered that spending too much time on your phone or watching a lot of television are examples of the latter. But these might not necessarily be the case for everyone. There are people who benefit favorably by spending time on their phones or television.

Therefore, it’s important to identify what habits are beneficial for you and what aren’t. If you can do that, then you will probably head in the right direction towards achieving your goals. Again, it’s essential to remember that much like building a good habit often takes time, dropping a bad one might also take a while.

At the beginning of this article, it was mentioned how people tend to try to change their lifestyle at the start of a calendar year or on their birthdays, but that shouldn’t be the case. It’s always great to start today rather than tomorrow or the day after.

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