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  • Mary Foley

To Make Your Goals a Reality, Start by Quitting

Crafting New Year goals is easy.  Creating the new habits and behaviors to make your dreams come true is hard.  More than 21 days hard.  If you really want to make your goals a reality, start with quitting a bunch of stuff that’s not working.

Making Goals a Reality Takes Time

Fact is, the belief that it takes 21 days to create a new habit is a myth.  “The 21 day myth may well come from a book published in 1960 by a plastic surgeon” says psychologist Jeremy Dean, author of Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don’t, and How to Make Any Change Stick.” 

That plastic surgeon, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, noticed that amputees took, on average, 21 days to adjust to the loss of a limb and he argued that people take 21 days to adjust to any major life changes.”

But, according to a study, it takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit.

And if you’re going for “mastery”, then expect it to take 10,000 hours, which turns into 5 or more years.

So, somewhere between 66 days and 10,000 hours and you’re good to go!

Bottom line:  Creating new habits to make your big goals happen takes lots of effort over time. Chances are your life is beyond full already. Where are you going to get the time and energy to do the real work of making your dreams come true?

Start By Quitting

“Quit the wrong stuff, stick with the right stuff, and have the courage to do one or the other” states Seth Godin in his short, powerful tome The Dip:  When to Quit and When to Stick.

Quit the things that no longer work or do enough in your life.  Maybe they used to, maybe at one time you were more interested and engaged.  Now, it’s just a drag. Like…

The book club that’s really a wine club and you don’t like to drink.

The networking meeting that’s mainly small business owners and now you are working in a large corporation.

The volunteer committee for a loved charitable organization, but the meetings no longer fit your schedule.

Let go. Quit. It’s not only okay, it’s good.  Very good.  For you and for everyone else touched by your involvement.

Not only do you get the time back you need to put towards your goals,  everyone else is freed up to discover new ideas, new people and create what’s best for their lives right now, too.

Quitting Takes Courage

More courage than creating big goals.  Because it feels uncomfortable to change your own behavior and awkward to say no.

I like Charlie Gilkey’s approach to quitting who “recognizes there are some obligations that we have that we really don’t want, but that it’s nonetheless important to see them through.” 

So, you see through your commitments without over-doing it, and then don’t renew.

Bottom Line

By quitting what’s no longer working and simply zapping your time, you open up space in your heart and head to focus on what you really care about, what you really have the passion to achieve, what you really love. Your big dreams are worth your best effort.

Quit what’s getting in the way, but don’t quit you.



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