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The Progress Trap: Why you shouldn't track your progress on your goals

https://alifeofproductivity.com/the-progress-trap-why-you-shouldnt-track-progress-goals/

alifeofproductivity.com

The Progress Trap: Why you shouldn't track your progress on your goals
Takeaway: Tracking progress on your goals can actually make you less likely to achieve them. The fix? As you reach milestones toward achieving a goal, view your actions as evidence that you're committed to a goal, and always remember yourself why you want to achieve it in the first place.

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Counterproductive goal tracking

When you make progress toward your long-term goal, your brain – with its mental checklist of many goals – turns off the mental processes that were driving you to pursue your long-term goal. 

Then, it becomes more focused on getting satisfaction from indulging, because your brain feels like it has met its goal.

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How to combat The Progress Trap

How to combat The Progress Trap
  • View your actions as evidence that you are committed to your goal.
  • Always remind yourself why you want to reach your goal, especially as you reach milestones along the way.
  • Look at your accomplishments to see that you really do care about your goal.
  • After you make positive steps toward a goal, ask yourself: “How committed do you feel toward that goal?” 

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Completion bias

It's where your brain specifically seeks the hit of dopamine you get from crossing off small tasks and ignores working on larger, more complex ones.

Small wins and motivation

Out of all the things that can boost our mood and motivation, the single most important is making progress on meaningful work.

Just like we love crossing small tasks off our to-do list, being able to see that we’re even one step closer to a big goal is a huge motivator. The problem is that these “small wins” are hard to measure.

“Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss.”
“Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss.”

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Goal setting gives focus

Life is designed in such a way that we look long-term and live short-term. We dream for the future and live in the present. 

Setting goals provides long-term vision in our lives.

Practical goal setting

  • Evaluate and reflect. Regularly write down where you are right now, and if you are happy with your current level of satisfaction.
  • Define your dreams and goals. What do you want? Schedule some quiet “dream time” and think about what really thrills you. Then prioritise those dreams.
  • Make your goals S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive)
  • Have accountability. Find someone to hold you accountable to your goals.

Goal-Setting

Any goal or project will usually have these basic qualities:

  • A general ambition or motivation. (e.g. learn French)
  • A specific target. (e.g.  speak fluently)

Goals To Start In The Middle

When a goal has high uncertainty as to what level is achievable to reach within a particular time-frame, it is better to set specific targets in the middle of the process.

Plan your goals with the variables you do have: overall direction, time-frame, level of effort and strategies.

Reasons To Postpone Goal-Setting

  • Uncertain goals should be set in the middle. This will enable you to set the correct challenge level to maximize effort.
  • Some research shows that for very complex tasks, goal-setting can hinder effectiveness. This is because complex tasks are cognitively demanding in the beginning and can be frustrating because you can't perform adequately. To add on more tasks can impair your performance.