How do you decide which habit to work on first?
In other words, if your life is not exactly where you want it to be right now, and you know you need to work on your fitness, your finances, your health, or some specific health problem you have…where do you even start?
For me, what I do is follow a very simple system for reverse engineering success, based on my end goals.
That’s what I want to share with you in today’s video.
Figuring Out Where on Earth to Get Started With Habits
How I Chose What Habit to Work on First in my Own Journey
The way I actually choose what my day to day goals are is pretty simple.
I choose the daily goals based on the end points that I’ve listed on my goals sheet that I’ve talked about here before.
What I do is I pick a maximum of three goals for each year, and the reason I only pick three goals is because the more goals you pick, you’re less likely you are to actually get there.
It took me a few years of being really ambitious to realize that even if we may have the time to work on five or ten goals, the mental bandwidth is the limiting factor (and it gets really stressful).
This year for example, I have an audience growth goal, a fitness and health goal, and then a personal life goal.
My personal life goal is a new one, which is to make new friends, since I just moved to a new coast of the country and don’t know anyone.
It sounds crazy, but that’s one of my three primary goals for the whole year, up and through next summer 2017.
So the way I actually choose what my day to day “Master the Day” habits are is by figuring out what the end goal is, then trying to figure out what I can do every day to get there.
The ultimate question I ask myself is simple:
“What simple, daily habit can I do that will virtually guarantee I reach the goal after a few months, or a few years?”
The reason this question is so powerful is that it doesn’t leave anything up to chance, and it very quickly draws you back into the zone of action where you think about what the next steps are.
Let’s be very tactical, and I’ll share exactly what I’m personally working on, and how I reverse engineer each day to know I’ll get there.
How To Reverse Engineer Your First Goal
This is what I look at on a daily basis, my combined fitness goal, my audience/book writing goal, and then my new goal of making more friends.
The first goal is a growth goal for my audience.
The way I chose that is based on the goal of a certain audience figure – there’s a certain sized readership I want to have here, for my own goal of having an impact.
Now of course, the million dollar question is where we bring it back to asking the following: rather than asking how to get there, I ask myself, what daily habit(s) do I have to do to get there?
In business, this is often called a “lead measure” or “lead metrics” approach.
A book called The 4 Disciplines of Execution really breaks this down well when it comes to achieving a goal.
In the process of achieving any goal, there’s the end goal you want (the “lag goal”), and there are the things you do daily to get there (the “lead measure”).
The lag goal would be to lose 30 pounds, but the lead measure is the thing you do daily to guarantee you’ll arrive.
Typically, that involves tracking food or tracking calories.
For me, my lead metric, my daily thing I can control is the number and quality of pieces of content I produce, for you.
So the first daily habit is the number (and the quality of) the pieces of content I produce (blogs, videos, etc.).
How to Reverse Engineer A Fitness Goal
Now for my other goal, for my fitness goal, my personal goal is to gain another ten pounds, because that puts me in my own “dream body” territory.
I know the end goal, the lag goal, according to this 4 disciplines philosophy is 180 pounds, for example.
Then we bring it back to that critical daily question:
What do I have to do daily to get there? How do I reverse engineer that into a daily habit?
Well, for me the daily habit is essentially tracking my calories, right?
If I know I’m eating enough protein and enough calories I know I’m going to get there.
For example, working out does not guarantee that I’m going to get there, because working out doesn’t guaranteed cause me to gain weight.
I have to track my eating to make sure I’m eating enough, because by nature (my natural level of food intake) doesn’t help me gain muscle or slightly gain weight.
Lag goal: gain ten pounds of muscle.
Lead measure: track daily calories to (X number of calories a day).
How to Reverse Engineer a Life Goal
The third goal for me this year that I mentioned is that I want to make more friends.
Because I just moved to the west coast, I don’t know a single person, so I want to make this a priority until I feel socially more stable.
Again, let’s bring it back to the golden question here: What could be one daily habit that I do, that guarantees that in a couple months or in six months, I’ll have a huge friend group?
What I eventually concluded was, if I bring it back to the day-to-day goal, the one daily habit would be reaching out to two people each week and inviting them out to lunch or to drinks.
You see what I’m saying?
First, I give myself a maximum of three major goals to work on (typically in different aspects of my life, not just fitness/finances), next I ask myself that key question to figure out what the daily habit could be, and then finally I pick one daily habit I think will work, and track it visually on a board.
Your Tiny Daily Habit For Today
Okay, so how do you figure out what habit to work on first to change your body or life?
First, it comes down to your vital priorities – what change do you really want to make this year in your life?
Is it just fitness related?
Is it your relationship?
Some aspect of your finances?
Even though I talk about weight loss here all day long, I always personally set goals in more than one aspect of my life to maintain some kind of balance.
Then ask yourself that key question: what is the daily habit that you could do that would eventually get you there?
What’s one of your biggest fitness and life goals this year? Comment below.
Image: Woman running, goals, from freedigitalphotos.net