How to Start with Goal Setting & Habit Building

All photos are of the model, Tina Kunakey, for Elle Arabia.

Build Self Awareness

Before you begin anywhere, you must know where you are. This is the understanding that you are preparing for change. It can take 6 months of active change to shift things in your life. However, you must build self-awareness to understand what is possible first.

Here are a few posts to begin with before goal setting:

  1. Reflective Journal Questions
  2. 5 Things I’ve Done to Change My Perspective on Life
  3. Sense of Self: Find your Identity and your Code of Behaviors

Gamify your goals

What is gamification? “It is the strategic attempt to enhance systems and activities in order to create similar experiences to those who experience when playing games in order to motivate and engage users.” You have used games before to learn things in school. Social media uses similar concepts of gamification to encourage you to stay on the platforms. You can apply this same concept to your goals.

For example, the easiest way you can gamify your goal is through a reward system. Take a savings goal of 5,000. You can break it down into five different levels where each level you can choose a small reward for reaching that goal. You save up to level 1 of 1,000 and choose to take yourself out to a reasonable dinner. You build up to your next level 2 of 2,000 and choose another reward. Positive results give good results. You can apply these same goal-setting strategies to all of your goals.

Start Small

Habit building is the ultimate cheat code to life. Starting something small to do every single day will guide you into building more good habits. If you want to try working out, try going on a walk for 10 minutes daily. You are building the habit to work out and getting your habits in. However, you do not want to miss two days in a row. It begins to break the habit this way.

If you feel that you are busy with your life, try habit stacking. If you want to work out but you have to study, try walking on a treadmill slowly while reading. Trying this can help you get things done while building your habits. I would caution you to be careful with building associations with bad multitasking to do your habits. It should be purposeful to drive you to want to do it.

Track your Wins

Remember, your personal wins are an important part of goal setting. You must remind yourself of what you did, where you were, and how you are doing well. It gives you an emotional boost and charges for your next step. For example, I track my goals and wins through two apps, Notion and Todolist. Notion helps me view the monthly and quarterly goals along with any new habits, hobbies, and things I want to learn. Later, I break it down into something I can do daily or weekly into my Todolist app. Even something like working towards this goal for 15 minutes a day is a great start.

All humans need goals. It gives each one of us something to accomplish and achieve. These moments of wins help you remember the goals and habits that you are trying to build. Take it one step at a time and you will find yourself on your way.