Habits Vs. Goals and Why You Need Both


Setting realistic and long-term goals is the best and easiest way to do this if you plan to improve your mindset. (Image: Travelling-light via Dreamstime)

What are habits, and what are goals? Why do you need both? To achieve something, it’s essential to learn about both.

Habits and goals are essential to becoming successful. It is hard to become successful in life without practice to help you achieve your goals.

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If you’re in the process of self-betterment and trying to achieve something big in your life, learning to set critical goals and build healthy habits is essential.

Progress doesn’t come overnight. It could take hours, days, weeks, months, or years. The important thing is for you to have a clear direction about where you want to go and what you need to do to get there.

Rome wasn’t built in a day — it took multiple days to build Rome.

Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely. This is what defines SMART goals.
Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely. This is what defines SMART goals. (Image: Raywoo via Dreamstime)

What are goals?

Goals are simply what you want to achieve. Unfortunately, many people think they have the same goals as others when they don’t.

There is no specific metric for defining a goal since they differ from person to person. 

Some people would say their goal is to become rich, while others would say their goal is not to become poor. However, both of these goals are still valid and correct.

The problem with some people is that they don’t know how to set a reasonable goal. Some people have an idea of what they want but not a clear vision.

There is a proper way to set goals called the SMART method. Although this may differ depending on other people, setting a SMART goal will give you a better vision of what you need to do to achieve your goals.

What is a SMART goal?

Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely. This is what defines a SMART goal.

A specific goal means you must be as detailed as possible with your plan. 

Measurable means a metric must tell if you’ve achieved your goal.

Attainable means you should be able to achieve the goal, which means it is within the bounds of physics, legal, etc.

Lastly, a time-bound goal means achieving something within a particular timeframe.

An example of a non-SMART goal is to become rich.

A SMART goal would be to have US$1,000,000 in cash, own a house, own a rental property, have passive assets, and earn US$200,000 a year by 2025.

A SMART goal gives you a clear vision of what it would look like when you achieve that goal. Since you have the SMART plan, you need to start building the habits that help you achieve it.

To achieve your goals, you should build healthy habits that push you closer to your goal. (Image: Josepalbert13 via Dreamstime)

Building healthy habits

To achieve your goals, you should build healthy habits that push you closer to your goal. 

For example, you want to earn US$200,000 yearly, but your job only pays you US$20,000. What skill do you need to make US$200,000, and where can you start?

If you need a specific skill like selling or coding, you can look for a class and build habits around studying or learning.

Motivation and inspiration are good for encouraging you to do something but a lot of times, it is your habits that push you to accomplish something even if you don’t want to do it.

Habits help protect you from not working toward your goal when you don’t feel like it. The problem with relying on inspiration and motivation is it runs out eventually.

On the other hand, habits make working toward your goal your norm. So when you’ve adopted these habits, it will be harder for you to fall off.

One thing you can do when building a habit is to convince yourself “this is my norm” instead of treating the change like a big deal.

Naturally, you will seek change when the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of change.

To avoid this, you can try to remind yourself of why you are building the habit and don’t think much of yourself when you are making the habit.

The key to success is consistency, and if you want to achieve your goals, you should do what is required, whether you feel like doing it or not.

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