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The simple secrets of setting goals and actually sticking to them

Align your Environment

Our surroundings play a key role in shaping our motivation and willpower.

We should keep in mind that we normally choose what is easy for us, instead of what is good for us. For example: If we have a stock of chilled beer lying in the fridge, we are more likely to drink it rather than having something healthy.

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The simple secrets of setting goals and actually sticking to them

The simple secrets of setting goals and actually sticking to them

https://www.jotform.com/blog/secrets-of-setting-goals-and-sticking-to-them/

jotform.com

7

Key Ideas

Destination Goals

While we set our personal goals, we make the common mistake of setting a 'destination goal', focusing on the end result,  without considering the hardships and daily challenges.

When a few hindrances and setbacks come, we are easily abandoning the set goals too.

Life Direction

Instead of sticking to dream goals it is better to set a life Direction.

How to figure out a Life Direction? Ask yourself these fundamental questions:

  • What energizes me?
  • What do I look forward to?
  • When do I feel the happiest?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • What kind of places or people inspire me to strive for more?

Action Plan

Determine and plan in advance all the critical parts of your goal, and break it down in small, actionable tasks.

The small, divided tasks keep you motivated by providing a feeling of progress on a daily basis.

Constant Review

Keep assessing and reviewing your progress towards the goal, constantly checking upon yourself and providing self-feedback.

Good Strategies

Embrace strategies that make your goal more achievable.

  • Specific planning helps you implement with intention and drive.
  • Habit stacking: Undertaking a task repeatedly results in a habit by getting it ingrained in our brains.
  • Associate goals with other tasks to form connections.

Align your Environment

Our surroundings play a key role in shaping our motivation and willpower.

We should keep in mind that we normally choose what is easy for us, instead of what is good for us. For example: If we have a stock of chilled beer lying in the fridge, we are more likely to drink it rather than having something healthy.

Not too hard, Not too Easy

If a goal is too hard or too easy there is a chance it won't be accomplished. The trick is to work on tasks that are on the edge of our current abilities. 

Keep tasks challenging but not impossible, and you will remain invested in them for long.

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Internal vs. external motivation
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External ...

Self-Efficacy

It means believing in your ability to perform a task and achieve goals. There are 3 ways to build self-efficacy:

  • Ensure early success. When first starting out, choose activities you're certain you can do successfully.
  • Watch others succeed in the activity you want to try.  This is particularly effective if the person you're observing is similar to you (friends, neighbors, co-workers).
  • Find a supportive voice. Personal trainers and coaches are skilled in giving appropriate encouragement, as are good friends (usually).
Fundamentally Independent Thinking (FIT)

A fundamentally independent thinker understands that nothing makes a person upset, angry, or depressed; rather, what a person thinks about the world determines how they feel

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The Fresh Start Effect
The Fresh Start Effect

During the new year, our birthday or even the start of a school year, most of us have a feeling of a fresh start, a new beginning.

These 'fresh start' moments provide us with a temporary m...

Unrealistic and Sudden Goals

We decide to suddenly start to follow our new daily routine, incorrectly assuming that suddenly we have changed, and are now a completely different and new person.

It is unrealistic to suddenly change from today to tomorrow; it's better to change in a gradual manner.

SMART Goals are Not Smart

Most of the books dealing with goal-setting talk about S.M.A.R.T. goal framework - goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound.

While this is a good start, being time-bound in our new self-commitments has its drawbacks.

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Goals vs. systems

Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress. Achieving a goal only changes your life for the moment. That’s the counterintuitive thing about improvement: We thi...

Goal setting and survivorship bias

We concentrate on the people who end up winning 🥇 —the survivors—and mistakenly assume that ambitious goals led to their success while overlooking all of the people who had the same objective but didn’t succeed.

Goals restrict your happiness

The implicit assumption behind any goal is this: “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.” The problem with a goals-first mentality is that you’re continually putting happiness off until the next milestone.

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15 minutes a day for making changes
15 minutes a day for making changes

Devote at least 15 minutes a day to your change.

Even if it’s just a walk around your neighborhood, one less cigarette, reading an inspirational article, do it. Mix it up, too. No one wants t...

Fork over the truth

Behavior modification teaches us that we repeat behaviors that make us feel good. What’s your payoff for not changing? 

Until the goal becomes larger than the payoff, you’re always going to choose feeling good over feeling uncomfortable.

Set realistic goals

Start with one behavior at a time.

Instead of concentrating on losing 20 pounds in 20 days, for example, make a goal to simply begin by eating five fruits and vegetables a day.  

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Goal setting
Goal setting

Is the act of selecting a target or objective you wish to achieve.

Goal setting is not only about choosing the rewards you want to enjoy, but also the costs you are willing to pay t...

The Rudders and Oars Metaphor
It helps clarify the difference between SYSTEMS and GOALS:
  • Your goals are like the rudder on a small rowboat. They set the direction and determine where you go. 
  • If you commit to one goal, then the rudder stays put and you continue moving forward. 
  • If you flip-flop between goals, then the rudder moves all around and it is easy to find yourself rowing in circles.
  • If the rudder is your goal, then the oars are your process for achieving it. While the rudder determines your direction, it is the oars that determine your progress.

Example: If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.

How to Set Goals You'll Actually Follow
  1. Ruthlessly Eliminate Your Goals. Consistently prune and trim down your goals. If you can muster the courage to prune away a few of your goals, then you create the space you need for the remaining goals to fully blossom.
  2. Stack Your Goals. Make a specific plan for when, where and how you will perform this."Networking: After I return from my lunch break, I will send one email to someone I want to meet."
  3. Set an Upper Bound. Don't focus on the minimum threshold. Instead of saying,  “I want to make at least 10 sales calls today.” rather say, “I want to make at least 10 sales calls today, but not more than 20.”

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How to Develop Habits
  • Focus on just one habit, for 30 days.
  • Put it on paper, together with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Commit fully, pr...
attributed to Aristotle
attributed to Aristotle
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Confucius
Confucius
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”

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The essence of motivation

Every choice has a price, but when we are motivated, it is easier to bear the inconvenience of action than the pain of remaining the same.

In other words, at some point,  it becomes more...

Active inspiration

Motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Getting started, even in very small ways, is a form of active inspiration that naturally produces momentum.

The Physics of productivity

Newton’s First Law applied to habit formation: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. 

Once a task has begun, it is easier to continue moving it forward. In other words, it is often easier to finish a task than it was to start it in the first place.

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The Stages of Change
  1. Precontemplation: Not ready. Not now.
  2. Contemplation: Maybe soon — thinking about it.
  3. Preparation: Ready, taking small steps.
  4. Action: ...
Short-term thinking

Most of us imagine that we engage in some form of long-term thinking; after all, we have goals and plans. And basically we are in denial about this because it is hard to have perspective about our ...

Unintended consequences

Because we mostly react instead of think, our actions are based on insufficient information. We grab for a solution without thinking deeply about the context of the problem: e.g: We try to cheer up a depressed person by making her realize that her life is not that bad and that the sun is shining, only to find out we have made her even more depressed. She now feels guilty about her feelings, worthless, and more alone in her unhappiness.

Tactical hell

You find yourself embroiled in several struggles or battles. You seem to get nowhere but you feel like you have invested so much time and energy already that it would be a waste to give up. You have actually  lost sight of your goals. Instead it has become a question of asserting your ego.

You need some detachment and perspective. Remind yourself that winning an argument or proving your point really gets you nowhere in the long run.

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Re-evaluate and reprioritize

There was likely a reason you gave up on your goals. Think about why you lost momentum and what you truly want to accomplish next. To set new goals:

  • Make sure this is the right goal t...

“Sometimes resolutions are made because you feel you have to. There’s the obligation with the new year, and they don’t get done because it’s not the right goal at the right time.”

“Sometimes resolutions are made because you feel you have to. There’s the obligation with the new year, and they don’t get done because it’s not the right goal at the right time.”
Use the deadline as motivation

At the beginning of the year, you had a blank slate of 12 full months ahead of you. Now, you’re on a downhill run toward the end of the year. Use this as your deadline.

With a more limited time frame, now you need to be more specific about what you want to accomplish–and realistic about what you need to let go for now.

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