When we make our goals fun they become more achievable. In the book “The Power of Moments” by Chip and Dan Heath, they recommend breaking big goals into computer game style mini goals. This provides as many victory moments as possible to keep you interested in your bigger task.
To break your goals into a game, think in terms of levels. Each goal helps arm you with skills and knowledge you need to beat the big baddie at the end of the level. In this way, your weight loss game might look something like this:
Challenge 1: ditch the processed and packaged food from your cupboards
Challenge 2: learn to make 3 new healthy meals each week for a m
Challenge 3: become known as the ‘soup for lunch kid’ at work
End of level mighty challenge: Invite your friends around for a healthy 3 course dinner cooked entirely by you.
According to some psychologists, people rate experiences based on the peak and the ending of any event. This is called the “peak-end rule”. While many other aspects of a given event may be forgotten, the most intense part and the ending will be remembered best. The game playing method is effective because it provides scope for lots of peaks and then a big happy ending.
When you look back on the ‘game’, you will be reminded of a series of brief but memorable moments and then the final success. This will encourage you to take on the next challenge.
Well, that's the four methods. Break down your goals in time blocks, in difficulty levels, in life segments or as a game.
Regardless of which of these four methods you use to break down your goals, keep each goal to a manageable timeframe with the opportunity to relax, reward yourself, reassess your current health status and next desired change. The desire is to make the new habit become part of your lifestyle, not a mission to be accomplished at all costs. Set your 3-7 weeks timeframe at the outset and keep a diary so you know when to give yourself that high five.
In the next set of articles, we'll look more deeply at why habit is just automatic so you truly understand the importance of these methods in changing one subconscious process for another, healthier, subconscious process.