Goals and Habits

When setting goals, many of us think about what we wish to accomplish in our days, years, and lives. We then write those goals down in hopes of eventually crossing them off our

list. However, there are very few who do actually accomplish their goals. Dear ego, this is an observation, not a judgment. People will tell you there are many reasons why their goals go unfinished, but the only real reasons are: fear, bad habits, and lack of planning. Wishing is never enough.

No doubt, we are well intentioned when we set our goals. We all want better careers, better bodies, better lives, better everything. Although, the only way to achieve any of this is with planning and follow through.

“The stimulus for growth is discomfort.”

My least favorite time to hit the gym is every January, at least for the first two weeks of the month. The place is flooded with mass amounts of people ready to take on the new year and create the body they dream in their minds. Everyone there wants to get fit, that is until they realize the amount of work they need to put in to achieve their goals.

Then, a couple weeks later, they simply quit. Those New Year’s goals are pushed aside and then justified with excuses similar to, “Hey, I tried, it just wasn’t for me.” Something always gets in the way, and if that isn’t enough, the internal shaming and guilt cycle begins all over again…until next year. Thanks for the extra parking, but I am saddened by your lack of commitment to yourself.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Common Quitter Responses:

  1. It’s too hard
  2. I don’t have the time
  3. It hurts
  4. I’ll do it later

If this sounds anything like you, then please keep reading, not for my sake, but your own.

  1. Nothing is so hard that it cannot be accomplished.
  2. You will always have time for the things that are important to you because you will make the time to do them.
  3. Life hurts, but we learn and grow from pain.
  4. There will never be a “later” – the only time is now. It is called the present because it truly is a gift!

We are habit based creatures. Despite this, the only way to break old habits is to create new ones. It is not difficult, though it does take some work. According to Charles Duhigg, Author of “The Power of Habit” there are 3 steps to creating new habits, which you can find in the chart below or here.

As my therapist once personified, thoughts, habits, and our responses to those elements are simply electrical signals in our brains. Change your responses and you change where those signals go. You cannot erase your previous thoughts or habits, nevertheless, you can mute them and replace them with new responses.

“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”


Consider how you react to situations. Most of your reactions are learned behaviors (in this case, bad habits). Whether from your parents, friends, or society, it is best practice to understand where your reactions come from in the first place. Only then can you figure out the best possible ways to react in the future. Talk about growth!

As you can see, goals and habits go hand in hand. Bringing awareness and honesty to the forefront will help you to develop good habits. In developing these good habits, just watch how many goals you can, moreover, will accomplish.

One important note: This is a practice, so do not get discouraged if you do not see immediate results. Keep working at it every day, and you will eventually come upon the person who only existed in your mind.

BestGentleman’s Guide to Goal Setting:

  1. Set Short-term and Long-term goals
  2. Set Goals that are achievable and at least one that scares you
  3. 2x – 3x/year assess your goals and the progress toward each one (ex. New Year’s, June (6 month mark), and your Birthday)
  4. Create a plan to achieve each goal (stick to it and modify when necessary)
  5. Congratulate yourself on what you have accomplished
  6. Continue working on your unfinished goals
  7. Repeat

By Nicholas Lucin