Are You Working Toward A Goal or Developing A Habit?

Jazz Half

As most of you know who follow this blog, last year I decided to get in shape and run a half marathon. During the calendar year of 2013, I ran 22-5K’s a 10-k and completed the Jazz Half Marathon in New Orleans on October 12—three days before my 48th birthday.

I was a running fiend. Or so I thought.

During the training process I dropped about 35lbs and was in the best shape I’d been in years. I felt great and was really looking forward to putting those 13.1 miles behind me.

I won’t bore you with all the details but the day of the half marathon was in the 70’s with 90+% humidity. Even though I’d been training in the heat, I’m not sure I was ready for the humidity. My original goal was to run it in around 2:30:00. About mile three or four in I changed my mind and decided to shoot for 2:45:00.

Between mile 8 and 9 both calves started cramping and I hurt in places I didn’t even know existed. My pace slowed way down so I called my wife who was waiting at the finish line and told her not to freak out when I wasn’t there before the 2:45 mark. My goal now was to just limp across in less than three hours.

“There are people passing out at the finish line,” she said. “And they’re in a lot better shape than you. Just finish.”

My official time (you can look it up by googling Jazz Half Marathon 2013) was 2:59:53. I made it by 7 seconds and I was beat. Exhausted.

Then it began. I quit running. I had achieved my “goal” of running the half marathon so I thought I could stop.

Wrong.

Since then I’ve put back on that 35lbs and a few more—simply because I didn’t look at running as a habit; I was too focused on the goal.

This past weekend I ran my first 5K of the year and have another next weekend. My time was horrible but I’m prepared to start over and do it right this time.

The question is: are you doing this in your business? Are you so focused on having a good year that when January rolls around you quit doing what made you successful? Or do you follow a great month with a bad month for the same reason?

Develop habits that lead you to the goal and focus on the habits, not just the goal.

Starting over hurts. I know. I’m going through it right now. I’m disappointed in myself for how far I’ve “fallen”, but I’m eager to take on the challenge.

When you’re successful in business it’s because you have a goal, but also because you develop good habits and skills and processes along the way. Once you reach the goal, don’t fall into bad habits and abandon the processes that were successful.

Trust me on this one. I’m living proof.