Turning your goals into a daily habit
Most of us struggle to work through everything we need to do every day to keep up with our social media marketing.
I totally get that.
Every time I do my weekly planning, I shake my head about how many of the social media things I wanted to do that week just didn’t get done. And then I transfer them into the next week thinking, this time I’ll get it done. This week I’ll get to cross them off my list.
But this whole social media marketing thing is more than just writing out your social media to-do list in your weekly planner. It’s about getting them done and finding a way to turn them into a daily or weekly habit.
The actual definition of a habit is as follows:.
When I look at the definition broken down like this, the words ‘acquired behavior’ jump out at me. And that sounds pretty cool but how do I ‘acquire these behaviors’ to help me get more done with my social media stuff?
You’re probably thinking that it’s some big detailed step-by-step system where you need to purchase some 4-week program. Before I discovered this process, I was thinking the same thing too.
Seriously, it’s a lot easier than you think it is. It’s about creating a process called Habit Tracking.
What’s a Habit Tracker?
A Habit Tracker is a visual reminder to help you track your habits so you can see your social media growth.
There’s something really powerful about seeing your progress in a visual format. It can be anything from an X on a calendar, a checkbox on a list or just the words “YEAH” written out in your weekly planner.
Monitoring yourself as you continue to do your social media action items is one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable. You start to get excited seeing all those X’s in your calendar. You may even find yourself feeling a bit disappointed when you see your visual reminder showing when you stopped doing these things.
Before you start scanning Pinterest looking for a cool printable or downloading a Habit Tracker app, take a few minutes and answer these questions:
1. What’s your reason?
It’s not enough to say, “I want to get more done.” That’s not going to keep you motivated to stay on track.
Think about why this matters to turn these action steps into a habit. How will this habit help you grow your social presence or any other habit you want to create in your world?
2. Know your goal
Be specific about what you’re trying to achieve. Use specific numbers like “I want to increase my Twitter followers by 10%” or “I want to post in my Facebook Groups 3 times a week.”
The more specific you can be for your goals, the easier it will be to track your progress with your Habit Tracker.
And don’t forget to add in milestones! Add in a marker or a number to show how you’re making progress towards your goal.
3. List your action items
What are the steps you need to take to get to your goals? Make a list of all the things that you need to do and prioritize your list.
Once you’ve completed all these steps, add your answers into the following phrases:
I want to create a habit to do _______________________ with my social media marketing
because I want to ______________________.
My goal for this habit is to create/develop/grow ________________________
by this amount: ___________________________ .
To accomplish my goal, I need to create the following items into a habit:
Creating your Habit Tracker
When you’re ready to pull everything together, you’ll need to decide how to set up your Habit Tracker.
If you’re a ‘gotta write things down’ kinda person, you can use something as simple a calendar or a spreadsheet. I’m one of those people who like to put pen to paper so I use a blank calendar printable where I can fill in the dates every month.
I post it on the wall in my office so I can constantly view my progress, make notes to myself about where I am and underline three times and circle in red when I’ve reached one of my milestone markers.
If you’re more in the digital camp, check out these Habit Tracker apps and see if one of these will help you stay on track:
1. Strides: this app allows you to set up a tracking program for each one of your goals. It has an amazing dashboard but it’s only available on the iPhone platform.
2. Habit List: this is the digital version of my printable calendar. This Apple-based app let’s you track the number of times you accomplish your action items and you’ll get a visual trend of how you’re progressing with your goals.
3. Rewire: Similar to the Habit List, this Android app let’s you visually track your progress as well as sends you reminders if you’ve stopped checking in with the program.
4. Habit Bull: Another Android app that includes visual reminders and a community to connect with others for encouragement.
How to use your Habit Tracker
Whether you’re using a digital version or a paper calendar, the process to use your Habit Tracker is the same.
After you’ve worked out your goals and the specific action steps you’ll take to get there, follow these steps:
1. Work on one habit at a time
To really turn your daily or weekly actions into habit, concentrate on just one social media goal at a time. If you try to add too many goals to your Habit Tracker, you’ll lose your focus which can throw you off track.
It’s easy to get excited when you start a new goal setting program. You’re thinking, “This is so cool – I’ll increase my Twitter followers and grow my Facebook fan page and increase the number of times I post to Pinterest and … and … and”
I call this thinking “And And And.” Expecting too much from yourself is the best way to create a great big fail. Your habits will all compete with each other for your priority and when the frustration sets in, you’ll just stop doing any of it.
Pick one big goal and work through the process before you consider adding in a new social media goal.
2. Plan them into your day
Just having your Habit Tracker app on your phone isn’t enough to motivate you to do the work.
To make sure those action items get done, add them into your weekly planner, post sticky notes on your laptop or whatever you need to do to make sure that you see your goals every day.
3. Stack your habits
The secret sauce to turn a behavior into a habit is to create something called a trigger.
A trigger is an action that you’re already doing. It’s something that’s already a part of your workday like checking your email at a certain time of day.
You can take one of your social media habits that you’ve built into your day and use that as a trigger for your new action item. Let’s say you log into Facebook every day at lunchtime to respond to comments in your fan page.
If your goal is to increase your engagement in your Facebook Groups then your fan page engagement becomes your trigger. You log into Facebook, check your fan page (your trigger) and then head over to your Facebook Groups for 15 minutes to spend some time networking (your new habit).
When you’re first starting out with this new process, your existing habit acts as trigger until one day, logging into Facebook becomes 15 minutes with your fan page and then another 15 minutes for Facebook Groups. It becomes second nature to do these two things in a row.
Once you’ve gotten into a routine to stack these two social media habits, you can add in a third.
Maybe another goal is to increase your connections by commenting on other fan pages. So now when you log into Facebook, you’ve got a stack of three habits – checking your fan page, Facebook Groups and commenting on other fan pages.
Each Facebook habit acts as a trigger to do the next one until it becomes part of your daily (or weekly) routine to do all three of habits together to grow your Facebook presence.
It works when you work it
Habit Trackers only work when you use them.
They’re visual reminders to show us that more often you do your habit, the more natural it will become a part of your day.
The more often you do it, the faster you’ll do it. It’s just human nature. Once we inherently know the steps, we go through the motions quicker, get more done and we can add more actions to grow our social presence in our day.
And the more automatic it becomes, the more often you’ll be engaging in your social sites. You’ll be able to stay on track with your social media plans and eventually, all of those habits will help reach your social media goals.