The Benefits of Habits Over Goals
Creating habits has a number of advantages over goal-setting, even if you are trying to achieve a goal. Setting out to run every day is a more effective way of achieving the goal of running a marathon than trying to stick to a marathon training program.
What are the advantages of habits over goals?
- Habits are performed automatically. Once a habit is set, you don’t have to think about performing it. You’ll just do it automatically and may not even notice when you do it (depending on the habit).
- They’re easy to complete. Once you’ve established a habit, your brain rewires itself so it’s actually easier to perform the habit than not to.
- They compound over time. Over time, your habits can become your character.
- You can start as small as you need. You can start as small as necessary: floss one tooth before bed, read 1 page, run for 1 block. Once the habit is established, you can ratchet up the habit.
- They last for life. Once a habit is set, it’s very hard to unset. For habits we set intentionally, that’s good. It means that it’ll be hard for us to undo that habit.
- You can overshoot your goal. A habit like running every day can mean you overshoot your goal of running a marathon.