Stop Setting Goals. Instead Change Patterns And Upgrade Your Habits.

You know it already — success is about mastering the small things. Big changes come as the result of small changes. Changes that seem insignificant at the time. Like a waste of your time.

But that's how success is earned.

It's romantic to think about pursuing big goals with a giant burst of superhuman brilliance and effort. But, that’s just not it happens.

You might think that you need to convince yourself to temporarily change who you are in order to achieve results that could change the rest of your life.

  • That for a little while you're going to work harder so that you can make enough money so that you don't have to work at all.

  • That for a little while you're going to be nice to others so that you don't have to feel guilty — so that later you can just go back to doing whatever you want, however you want.

But that just doesn’t work.

The remarkably consistent quality of successful people is that they level up continuously.

They look for any small way to improve, and then make that improvement. It's about quick wins earned every day.

Doing that comes down to adopting a new mindset. The mindset of who you really want to be.

You might be overweight and struggling to drop the extra pounds. Instead of planning to go to the gym for 5 hours a day for the first few weeks of January, think about something a lot smaller — like going for a 15 minute walk each evening.

Throughout the day ask yourself what a healthy, in-shape person would do.

  • What would they eat?

  • What would they say to others?

  • How confident would they be?

It might seem silly to spend time focusing on thoughts and feelings when all you care about is the extra weight you're trying to drop.

But it is those feelings and thoughts — the inside parts of you that no one else can see — that ultimately determine how long you stick with your diet.

How long you stick with your fitness plan. Whether you become that healthy, in-shape person or not.

Behind any discussion about success is another more important discussion about habits.

A discussion about better habits. Habits that get you from where you are to where you want to be.

Your current habits have gotten you to where you are right now. You have successfully evolved and adapted to be the person you see in the mirror each day.

And if you want to change that, you need to change your habits — in a thousand tiny, seemingly insignificant ways.

Take a moment to think about all the subconscious behaviors that “just happen.”

  1. Why do you suddenly “need a snack” when you walk by an open bag of chips?

  2. What excuse do you make when others ask you why you didn't do something?

Take a moment and dig deep into the inside parts of you that you take for granted most of the time.

You are remarkably resilient. Every fiber of your being is focused on a single purpose, to keep you alive.

You aren't wired to be efficient or especially critical of yourself. Mainly, just to stay alive.

As you pull back the layers of your activity you realize that what you do isn't an accident. It's the result of a series of habits that have formed almost accidentally over the years.

To change your habits, and ultimately realize better results, you have to consciously rework the patterns in your life.

If your goal is to lose weight, you might need to move your workout clothes to the most popular part of your house. Seeing your clothes reminds you to work out. That small reminder creates a new pattern that leads to a healthier you.

The same is true with small emotional rewards like checking social media. What if you did 2 push-ups just before you checked your Facebook feed?

You've just created a new pattern. Your body get stronger and your brain enjoys a little entertainment.

These patterns are everywhere already.

They're so tiny that they are often overlooked. You call them luck or chance, rather than what they truly are — the habits that create the patterns that lead to breakthrough results.

It's the small things that create the big things. Don't let those small things go overlooked.

If you don't like the results you see in your life right now, take a moment to notice the patterns that keep showing up and your daily life. Turn the subconscious into very conscious. Make the accidental, intentional.

Dan Waldschmidt