I recently read a fantastic book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. The subject matter centers around easy and proven ways to build good habits and break bad ones. From my experience, I’ve found that it’s easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, writing a book, winning a championship, or achieving any other goal, we put pressure on ourselves to make some earth shattering improvement that everyone will notice, but reality tells us that improvement by 1% – although not particularly notable (and sometimes not even noticeable) – can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run. The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding.
The math works like this: If you can get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up 37 times better by the time you’re done. WOW! The book describes how goals are about the results you want to achieve, but systems are about the processes that lead to those results. So to get better results, focus less on setting goals and more on creating and working your system instead. The author provides this example: ” Rather than focusing on the goal ‘save money for retirement,’ focus instead on creating a system that trims your ongoing spending so that savings happen automatically.”
I began thinking about that relative to my beliefs around goals and habits. I have always been a goal setter and typically create action plans to achieve those goals. Think of them as a breaking down a goal into bite-sized pieces. What I have realized is that the steps in my action plan provided me a “road map” to follow, and eventually led to the creation of a workable system that led to some of my best habits that I still maintain today. One of those good habits is working out on a regular basis. I don’t really enjoy it (who does?), but I began an intensive workout regimen (action plan step) in order to be fit enough to summit all fifty-eight 14,000′ mountains in Colorado (the Goal). Now even though I have long since achieved my Goal, I maintain the habit to keep myself fit and healthy as I age…and so I can continue my passion of mountain climbing.
Getting rid of bad habits begins with calling them out. For example, I am constantly checking my email as opposed to time blocking and looking at it every few hours, which is much more efficient. Whenever an email comes in I get an alert, so to break this habit I might start by turning the alert off. Then make incremental changes every day or week. Maybe the first week I check my email every 10 minutes; the second week every 15 minutes; the third week every 20 minutes, and so on until I get to my stated objective of every two hours. You might do this by setting an alarm each day. If you fall back into your old ways; don’t scold yourself, just get back on the track where you left off. Eventually, it becomes second nature. Sounds easy, but like everything else, it takes commitment and discipline to be intentional about it. Just remember to focus on the 1%.
Speaking of habits, we appreciate you for being in the habit of calling and referring The Family Mortgage Team when you are anyone you know is looking to buy, sell or refinance your home!
Happy Home Buying Season!