Habits vs. Goals

It is estimated that 92% of new year’s resolutions fail.  Why would something so important as a resolution, or important goal, have such a high failure rate?  The answer lies in understanding the difference between habits and goals.

Octavia Butler says, “First forget inspiration.  Habit is more dependable.  Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not.  Habit is persistence in practice.”

Here are a few examples that illustrate the difference the difference in a goal versus a habit in practice:

  • If you want to learn a new language, a goal would be to decide that you want to be completely fluent in 6 months.  A habit would commit to 30 minutes of practice each day.
  • If you want to read more books, a goal would be to read 50 books by the end of the year.  A habit would be to always carry one with you and read a little every chance you get.
  • If you want to spend more time with you family, a goal would be to spend 7 hours per week with them.  A habit would be to eat dinner with them every night.

Accomplishing goals requires a tremendous amount of will power and inspiration, which many times begins to fade after only a few weeks.  A habit on the other hand is a systematic approach to accomplishment.  Through repetition you can tap into the power of your subconscious brain which will sustain much longer than any amount of inspiration.  Charles Nobel said, “First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”


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