“To sustain the behaviors that helped you reach a goal, think about the achievement as a journey rather than a destination.” - Patrick J. Kiger
What’s the key to maintaining positive habits?
There are multiple ways to develop habits, but research has shown the power comes from reflecting on the journey while working towards your goals.
First, you need to set a goal. Let's assume you have one.
From there, you work hard to achieve that goal. Let's assume you accomplished that goal!
Finally, reflect on the steps it took to achieve it - and to think metaphorically about the entire effort as a journey, rather than a destination.
Meaning, instead of focusing only on the goal that’s been attained, think about the process it took to achieve it.
Here are two studies that were done by Stanford University that show this in action. They took over 1,600 participants to analyze and track their health and fitness goals. I break them down below.
This study was done between three groups.
Group 1 was asked to reflect on their fitness goal as a journey.
Group 2 was asked to see it as a destination.
Group 3 was given no reflection exercise at all for their fitness goals.
Later, the participants were asked to choose between a free online home fitness program or a free comedy program.
Those who had described their success as a journey were much more likely to pick the fitness program, which would help them maintain their healthy habits moving forward.
They also reported that they felt greater personal growth and were more likely to continue their fitness program compared to the other two groups.
In another study, they designed a 14-day walking program.
Volunteers downloaded an app to track their steps.
They stated their walking goal, tracked how far they walked, and then they were given the opportunity to continue tracking their steps for three more days when they reached their walking goal.
The people who were guided to think about completing the program as a journey walked close to 5,500 more steps during the three additional days than did those using a destination metaphor.
That’s a 55% increase in steps!
Once again showing us how thinking about our goals as a journey will help us maintain positive habits and behaviors.
When people weren’t instructed to adopt the journey mindset, they often fell off their positive habits and routines.
Why? Because there was a lack of consistent reflection and engagement.
Because when people think about their success as a destination reached, it leads to disengagement and relaxation.
Switching to the journey mindset may require a deliberate process, involving techniques that involve reflection and growth mindset.
While it can be beneficial to think about the destination to help us gain clarity and stay motivated, once you accomplish a goal it’s important to take time to reflect on the process - and allow yourself to learn from your experience.
This will help you develop more self-awareness and increase consciousness to help you make better decisions about your habits and behaviors.
For example, making the choice to incorporate a daily reflection practice will help you sustain your habits, which will lead to higher performance.
We walk you through 12 weeks of 1-on-1 coaching to help you reflect on your journey to high performance and positive well-being.
Don’t let your bad habits hold you back from making the positive change you desire!