Sunday, January 17, 2016

Goals vs. Habits

I truly think every principal—every leader—should red this.  Mark Manson is a pretty smart and candid guy, and he often writes about things that speak to leaders and leadership.  Fair warning:  He offends some people because he has what he calls a “potty mouth.” Not me.  I certainly can’t hurl any stones at that glass house. 

This one, titled, “Your Goals are Overrated,” had me simultaneously cracking up and emphatically nodding my head. 

In the article, Manson speaks to the difference between goals and habits.  He discusses how “goals are a one-time bargain,” but with habits, “there is no single endpoint that must be reached.  The only goal of habits is that the goal is never over.” 

Here's the thing:  I feel like every time I set a personal goal, I fail.  I feel like I have a goal allergy.  I almost rebel against my goals—like I want to fail, almost, in retaliation for the very existence of the stupid goal.

Luckily, habits are more in my wheelhouse.  I like habits.  They work for me.  If I just do something, every day, day after day, it becomes pretty entrenched in whoever I am.  Like exercise.  I’ve done it every day since I was, like, 12.  So it’s never a struggle.  As Manson points out, for me, “it feels harder to not go the gym than it does to go.”  

Manson goes into detail about six fundamental habits to focus on—exercise, cooking, meditation, reading, writing, and socializing—because these habits provide a “nice foundation for a healthy life in all domains:  physically, emotionally, psychologically, and socially.” 


I think these things are especially important for leaders, because leaders often fall into unexpected situations in which they may easily abandon habits.  We don’t exercise right; we don’t take time to eat slowly or cook for ourselves; we don’t prioritize reading and writing and socializing outside of work.  We really need to, though.  We’ve got to just keep doing it, as purely and with the same mindlessness we give to getting up in the morning. 

There’s time for these things, I promise.  There’s always time for a good habits.

Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Manson.  

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