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  • Writer's pictureBuffgandhi

Habits Over Goals

Prevailing wisdom claims that the best way to achieve what we want in life—getting into better shape, building a successful business, relaxing more and worrying less, spending more time with friends and family—is to set specific, actionable goals.

For many years, this was how I approached my life. I set goals for the grades I wanted to get in school, for the weights I wanted to lift in the gym, for the profits I wanted to earn in my business. I succeeded at a few, but I failed at a lot of them. Eventually, I began to realize that my results had very little to do with the goals I set and nearly everything to do with the habits I followed or more specifically the systems I put into place.

If you’re a coach, your goal might be to win a championship. Your system is the way you recruit players, manage your assistant coaches, and conduct practice.If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal might be to build a million-dollar business. Your system is how you test product ideas, hire employees, and run marketing campaigns.If you’re wanting to lose weight, your goal might be to lost 20 pounds. Your system is eating a vegetable at every meal, working out 4 times per week, and taking your lunch to work instead of eating out. 

Now for the interesting question: if you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your habits, would you still succeed? For example, if you were a basketball coach and you ignored your goal to win a championship and focused only on what your team does at practice each day, would you still get results?

I think you would.

The goal in any sport is to finish with the best score, but it would be ridiculous to spend the whole game staring at the scoreboard. The only way to actually win is to get better each day. In the words of three-time Super Bowl winner Bill Walsh, “The score takes care of itself.” The same is true for other areas of life. If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your habits/systems instead.

What do I mean by this? Are goals completely useless? Of course not. Goals are good for setting a direction, but habits are best for making progress.

I define a "habit" as a small task to complete that forms part of a larger, strategic set of actions. By doing these habits daily (or as often as possible), people practice changing. 

They act themselves into change, rather than just imagining or wanting change.They also practice change itself - having the experience of trying something different.Your habits will ultimately define your successes. What you do everyday will impact the end goal. When it comes to change, action is more important than information and doing is more important than knowing. No matter how much people know, or how much they want to change, only consistent, daily action creates change. 

This is where focusing on your system and your habits trumps your goals. Is it routine? Absolutely! Think about this; if I wanted to cut down an oak tree and hit that oak tree a thousand times in a thousand places, what would happen? Nothing. However, if I hit an oak tree a thousand times in one place, what do you think would happen? I bet that damn thing falls over. Routine, actionable, daily habits create results. 

John Wooden knew habits were more important than goals, that is why he never let his players know who they were playing in the next game. It didn't matter. All that mattered was they were practicing THEIR brand of basketball. It would be up to the other team to stop their game plan. They understood habits and how paramount they are to success. Wooden was one of the of best coaches in all of sports. He was a habit based coach. 10 NCAA championships says it all. 

Habit-based coaching works. 

Plain and simple. It works better than anything else. You'll get to their goals quicker and easier.You’ll maintain their results better.You’ll be able to do it within the context of a real human life (with its distractions, complexities, and surprises).If you have weight loss or physical fitness goals we would like to help you. With a habit based approach to your nutrition and streamlined approach to your fitness we can help you achieve what you need/want/desire. All it takes is to break down your big goal into a smaller, more manageable habit and system.

For more information on our Online Nutrition Coaching or our One on One Personal Training, you can hit reply to this email and let us know what you are looking to achieve and we will do our best to help you get there. 

Thats all for now.

Yours in Fitness,


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