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Goal Setting: A Scientific Guide to Setting and Achieving Goals

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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Goal Setting: A Scientific Guide to Setting and Achieving Goals

Goal Setting: A Scientific Guide to Setting and Achieving Goals

https://jamesclear.com/goal-setting

jamesclear.com

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Key Ideas

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 to achieve your goals.

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.”

Align Your Environment With Your Goals

It's very hard to stick to positive habits in a negative environment.
  • Use simplicity. When in doubt, eliminate options. It is more difficult to focus on reading a blog post when you have 10 tabs open in your browser.
  • Use Visual Cues, like the Paper Clip Method or the Seinfeld Strategy, to create an environment that visually nudges your actions in the right direction.
  • Opt-Out vs. Opt-In. For example, schedule your yoga session for next week while you are feeling motivated today. When your workout rolls around, you have to justify opting-out rather than motivating yourself to opt-in.

Measure Your Goals

Evidence of your progress towards a goal is one of the most motivating things you can experience.

The trick is to realize that counting, measuring, and tracking is not about the result. Measure to discover, to find out, to understand.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Not all goals are created equal:
  • Merely fantasizing about your goal is de-motivating – it actually tricks the brain into thinking you already have achieved it.
  • Goals that aren’t set up properly can end ...
Setting and Achieving Your Goals
  • Step #1: Take Your Emotional Temperature, around the most important areas of your life.
  • Step #2: The Neurology of Ownership: When we take ownership of something–an item, an idea or a goal–we are more committed to it.
  • Step #3: Outcome + Process: Most people set an intention or an ideal outcome and try working toward it, but that gets you only halfway there. You have to pick an outcome and a process.
  • Step #4: Identify Blockers: When we first set our goals we are super optimistic and filled with hope–and that’s great. One thing that happens, however, is we fail to identify possible blockers.
#1. Find Your Emotional Temperature

Rate these areas of your life on a scale from 1 to 5 and plot it on your Goal Wheel. (1 being extremely dissatisfied, 5 being extremely satisfied)

  • Business: How do you feel about your work, career or business effectiveness and success?
  • Friends: How is your social life? Your friendships and support system?
  • Family: How are your personal relationships? Your partner or spouse?
  • Personal Passions: Do you have personal passion projects, hobbies, or fun activities that fulfil you?
  • Spiritual: You can interpret this one any way you like. It could be your faith, mental health, personal journeys or mindset.
  • Health: Are you happy with your physical health and wellness?

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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.
Your resolve

The secret to effectively setting and achieving your goals is to have a large vision and an achievable plan.

The pursuit matters

The pursuit matters just as much as the goal.
Consider why you're pursuing your goal and how the journey to achieve it will help you grow as a person.

The right scope

People often give up on their resolutions because they set unattainable goals.

Try to set a goal that you can reasonably achieve within one year. If it is challenging to complete it in your set timeframe, you might become overwhelmed and give up. If the goal will take more than one year, try and set a benchmark for what you'd like to accomplish in a year.

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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.

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SMART goal-setting framework

Set goals that are:

  • Specific: It will be easier to see what you need to accomplish.
  • Measurable: How will you know when you’ve achieved your goal?
  • Attaina...
Locke and Latham’s 5 Principles of Goal-Setting
  1. Clarity: clear goals help with understanding the task at hand.
  2. Challenge: the goal should be challenging enough to prove motivating, but not impossible to achieve. 
  3. Commitment: involve your team in the goal-setting process.
  4. Feedback: measure your progress and seek advice.
  5. Task complexity: be careful in adding too much complexity to your goals as it can impact morale, productivity, and motivation.
Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) framework for goal setting
  • Objectives – This is what you hope to accomplish. Objectives usually take the form of broad goals that are not measurable (that’s what the Key Results section is for).
  • Key Results – Based on objectives, the key results are almost always defined with a specific number.

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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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Setting work goals
  • Set goals at regular intervals and give yourself enough time.
  • When you think you might not meet a goal, take a step back to asses the situation.
  • Be transparen...
Goals should be aspirational

If you fail to meet them, you probably set difficult ones for yourself.
Goals should inspire you to stretch yourself. If you hit all of your goals every time, they might not be ambitious enough.

Leadership and goals setting

There are many different leaders, with different goal setting styles.

Understanding which leadership style works best for you is vital in reaching success. However, when it comes to goal sett...

Autocratic leader

Interests: Making decisions by themselves, not listening to others, trusting gut feeling. Very little flexibility.

Style: Setting goals they feel are right. Demanding people to meet them.

Example: Donald J Trump.

Visionary

Interests: Big ideas that change the world. Communicating more. May have trouble executing the ideas.

Style: Setting amibitious long term goals in collaboration with others. Goals are often not met.

Example: Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX.

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Start With Your Core Values

All improvement in your life, including financial improvement, begins with you clarifying your true values, committing yourself to living consistently with them, and then aligning everything...

Align Goals With Your Values

Hold the idea of wealth and success in your mind long enough and hard enough, until you draw into your life the resources you need to accomplish it.

Your main focus is to keep your mind fixed on improving your personal finances and achieving financial independence.

Think BIG But Start Small

Keep your vision in mind, but start wherever you are.

Work back from the future to the present. Make a list of the logical steps, in order, that you need to take to get from where you are to where you want to be. Then figure out what big or small action you can take today.

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Stop following routines

Routines don’t work for most people. People with young kids, pets, people who travel a lot or work remotely, find it extremely difficult to follow the same routine every day. If you keep trying, yo...

Focus on the process

It is better to focus on the process rather than the outcome. When you focus on the outcome, you slow your growth.

Commit to consistent practice. Focus on the process of getting better every single day. 

Small progress

Most people lack success because they cannot follow a routine to achieve an important goal.

Instead of fighting a losing battle, learn to move around these tasks to start making progress when you can.