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7 Bad Habits That Derail Your Goals

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I’m staring down the barrel of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  Depending on your religious preference, you can toss in a few more holidays too.  

It’s time for me to dust off last year’s goals and see how I’m doing.  

Here’s a list of a few of my personal goals, followed by some bad habits I’m looking to break.

2010 Goals

  1. Effective time management, planning and focus
  2. Creating high value content at outposts such as Flickr, YouTube, etc.
  3. Family Time
  4. Speaking gigs
  5. Reading
  6. Charity
  7. Fitness

….you get the point.  I’m doing well on some, and not as well on others.  Looking back, my goals were reasonable but I carried forward some bad habits that slowed me down.  

Bad Habits to Break in 2011

  1. Waiting till the last minute to book travel: For example, book your holiday travel between September 30th and October 15th.
  2. Read a book a month: A good reading goal is not the completion of the book, but put putting the principles into action.
  3. Scheduling meetings to end on the hour: Give your attendees 5 or 10 minutes to dust themselves before their next meeting.
  4. Checking email and social networks too frequently: Dedicate an hour in the morning for email and social networks.  Allot 3 to 4 times during the day to connect for 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. Eating once or twice a day: Eat healthy every three to four hours.
  6. It’s all about me: Publicly recognizing the work of other people, even those not in your industry
  7. Social Irresponsibility: Weave in a charitable component into your work at every opportunity. 

While these are not all of my bad habits, I chose the ones that seem to have the most universal appeal.  This isn’t a post about how to set goals, lots has been written, and since it’s September, lots more is about to be written.

The point is to look at what is holding you back from achieving your personal and professional objectives.  In my view, the majority of the blockers are self inflicted.  In 2011 I’m going to place less emphasis on how to set goals.  The focus will be on removing the self imposed distractions which act like “detour” signs.  The signs seem to lead to complacency.

To be honest, it’s easier not to work out, eat once or twice a day and check email.  It probably feels easier until you look back at the last nine months and wonder where all the time went.  I think that writing down your bad habits, and looking at them as blockers, help to reframe the conversation.  If you’re driving from point A to point B, you light up your GPS and swiftly move around traffic jams, accidents, road closures, etc.  No matter what, you get to your destination.  Pretend like your goals are a destination you’re driving towards.  Swiftly remove the blockers and by week’s end, month’s end, year’s end, you’ll get there.

What say you?

Photo Credit: duncan

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  • Pbrannigan

    Very good point about “what is blocking you from achieving your goals”. Chances are it is a bad habit. If you are annual goal writer and perhaps follower, my bet is if you look at a goal that continues to show up every year on a list. The reason is probably a bad habit. Find the bad habit that is killing your ability to succeed. Often it is a really tough one. Tackling this Thousand pound gorilla can ultimately drive results across your all your goals and open doors in your professional and personal life. Reminder it takes thirty days at least to either establish or break a bad habit at minimum. – Good luck with the last quarter realizing 2010 goals and putting careful thought towards 2011. Maybe your list of goals should be simplified to one or two bad habits that impact the goals?

    • https://twitter.com/DavidBaeza David Baeza

      Great feedback. I like the idea of listing blockers (aka bad habits) next to my goals as a reminder. Thanks.

  • Anf

    #4 – guilty as charged. Ironically (or not) that’s how I found out about this post i.e. through facebook!

    • https://twitter.com/DavidBaeza David Baeza

      As long as you found it ;) Thanks for commenting

  • Guest

    I’m a big fan of setting simple goals and revisiting over the year but I’d not thought of looking at the problem of bad habits.

    FWIW last year I came across Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week book and while the examples don’t apply to me, some of his time control ideas work beautifully. Like checking email at set times every day (Ferriss says 2x a day but every 1-2 hours dramatically reduced my stress and increased my productivity). But the most interesting was his observation that reading fiction at night leads to deeper sleep than reading non-fiction before you pass out. I use my iPhone and Stanza reader and Project Gutenberg books and average about 2-4 novels a month and sleep well.

    • https://twitter.com/DavidBaeza David Baeza

      Thanks for the great tips. I’ve read 4-hour work week and much of it is very useful. I find that reading magazines before bed really helps. The articles are short so I don’t go to sleep wondering what will happen next.

  • http://twitter.com/BertaArt Clara Berta

    You have great tips on setting goals and breaking bad habits. I agree with you it’s best to answer emails in the morning and evening and focus on real work. I also love that you mention charity work should be included in our daily lives. I enjoy helping others and sharing my art work with charities that I support. Great meeting you at #140conf last night.

    • https://twitter.com/DavidBaeza David Baeza

      Hi Clara. Glad you enjoyed the post. #140conf is not to be missed, but I missed it! I love that conference and hopefully I’ll see you at future events. Thanks.