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How to stick with your goals this year.

Table of Contents


We have all tried to ‘change something’ within ourselves – and – it is hard work right! We might want to ‘be better – be stronger – be more resilient – be more patient – be fitter – be more insightful – be a better colleague/friend/partner/parent’ – whatever it is… it seems easier said than done – even when we are somewhat inspired to do so. We often start out doing things differently – yet – then struggle to stay the course for one reason or another. We find ourselves – within a year – being and doing what we were doing before. So what gives?


I have a very close friend – and he has high ‘social awareness’ and is great at connecting with others at business networking events. His skills go well beyond just being able to connect with others – recalling who they are – what matters to them – what they think/believe.

At a recent function, one his colleagues who struggles at the very same events, made particular reference to his ability to which he just remarked – “Yeah – I guess I am one of those people that is good at ‘connecting with others’ easily.” Ok – pretty obvious right…

The insight for us is that the feedback affirmed the ‘character identity’ that my friend had been working towards. So – if you’re trying to start a new habit, then the research and our own experience suggests it would be far better to start with an ‘character based goal’ that aligns with who you want to be – your identity.

Remember – Performance/Process goals and Result goals are a vital part of the equation – our point is that the Character/Identity goals are most often missing. The interior of habit change and building better habits is your identity. Each action you perform is driven by the fundamental belief that it is possible. So if you just slightly adapt your sense of identity [ the type of person that you believe that you want to be ] then it is easier to change and stick to your planned actions.

The reason why it’s so hard to stick to new habits is that we often try to achieve a process/performance or appearance/result–based goal without adapting our sense of identity. Most of the time we try to achieve results before proving to ourselves that we have the identity of the type of person we want to become. It should be the other way around.

.01 Design who you ideally want to be. Decide the muscles of Character that clearly define your identity.

.02 Use small habits that will prove to yourself that you can be true to this identity.

NOTE // At PERIPHERALVISION – our view is to be fanatical and focus on only small actions / few steps / simple behaviours that are repeated often – not trying to create wholesale change from the get go.

Want to be a better leader?
Character Identity: Disciplined – I will always be on time for team meetings and complete my action commitments.

Process Habit: Schedule 15mins space between ‘back to back’ meetings to finalise preparations, be on time and carefully schedule commitments from previous meeting.

Want to lose weight?
Character Identity: Energised – I am the kind of person that moves more every day.

Process Habit: Buy a ‘fitbit’. Walk for 15 mins before work every day. Next day – walk 20mins – increasing 5 mins each day over the month building to 90mins.

Want to be a better team mate?
Character Identity: Respectful – I will understand the needs of my team mates/stakeholders at all times.

Process Habit: Connect deeply with one team mate -and- a key stakeholder each week. Repeat and revisit the process habit every 3 months.

So – who will you be this year coming?

As always – I’m keen to hear your views and ideas for building your Identity and Character Muscles.

// Regards
Glen Fisher