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Goals Are Good, But Not As Good As Habits

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by Paul Kindzia in Happiness, Personal Finance
June 19, 2018

I’m not going to lie to you.  I’m big on encouraging goals and objectives in life.  Pick a goal and then go make it happen.  It’s like the saying goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there.”  This applies to many areas of life; career goals, financial goals, health goals, education goals or personal goals.  Goals are good.

But there is something even more important than goals and that is habits.  Without good habits, goals are just a pipe dream.  In addition, habits (good habits that is) are much better at rewarding ourselves mentally and emotionally over the long haul.  This keeps us motivated and in the game.

Accomplishing a big goal, especially a big long term goal is still a binary event.  It often takes years and years of work to accomplish something big.  While we are working towards the goal, it can often become frustrating (or at least make us feel very impatient) because the progress appears to be so slow (and sometimes it is painfully slow).  So everyday can often seem boring, uneventful, unfruitful, and possibly put a bit of doubt in our minds on whether or not we will ever get there or actually accomplish the big goal.

When we have good habits, it leads to good systems and behaviors.  Good systems and behaviors provide us with much more constant feedback and gratification.  Imagine training for a marathon for a moment (or obtaining a master’s degree).  What happens if you are left with the binary outcome?  In the case of the marathon, are you not happy during the journey until the moment you cross the actual finish line and collect your medal?  If pursuing an advanced degree, is there no joy until you walk across the stage at graduation and collect your diploma?

That’s denying ourselves a lot of the satisfaction of the journey.  When we have good systems and behaviors in place, we get a lot of feedback that we are doing the right things and moving in the right direction.  We know if we have good habits, good behaviors and make good decisions, then the probability of reaching our goals goes up exponentially.

So in wealth building, successful wealth builders tend to share many of the common denominators of success.  They share the same positive habits (and avoid all the wrong habits and behaviors that ruin wealth building).

If we focus on our habits, goals usually just end up being a function of time.  Further, we can take pride, be happy, and satisfied along the way because our actions are in alignment with our own sense of self.  There is no internal conflict within us because we are acting and behaving in a way that is in our own self-interest.  Good habits in wealth building could include;

  • Paying ourselves first and making savings a priority.
  • Avoiding debt.
  • Controlling our spending and having the discipline to avoid binge spending and impulse purchases.
  • Avoiding gambling and excessive risk taking.
  • Tracking our purchases and comparing against a budget.

There are a lot of habits that one could create in any important endeavor.  Wealth building has many common denominators of success that are rooted in good habits and behaviors.  Good habits provide us joy and good short term feedback that is very satisfying (thus we don’t have to wait until the very end to rejoice in personal victory).  We know in the bottom of our hearts that we are on the right path and following our true calling in life.  We are true to ourselves.

Thus, good habits are even more important than having big huge goals since big huge goals can never become a reality without the underlying habits.

Good habits lead to good behaviors.  Good behaviors lead to good decisions.  Good decisions lead to a good life.  Live by principles and choose wisely.

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