Having no goals is extremely liberating and freeing. Unfortunately without anything to aim for we tend to indulge and wander a bit too much. Things happen but usually not the ones we want. Do you think anyone has ever stumbled into quitting their 9-5 job or attaining financial freedom? Unfortunately not.
On the opposite end chasing too many goals is exhausting and not to mention the slow… if at all any progress. Spreading your already limited time and energy too thin in five or even ten different directions just gets you no where.
How about just focusing on one goal at a time. This would be the ideal world, however choosing one area over the other is at the expense and neglect of all the rest. Wealth without health doesn’t work and health without happiness doesn’t work. Having all the money in the world but not having the health to enjoy that money means we’ve failed.
Having goals are good because it gives you constructive structure to progress forward.
Focussing on one goal is also good because you make much faster progress.
Having a few goals so you don’t neglect other important areas of your life is essential as well.
So many conflicting criteria, no wonder goals are a struggle.
The 80/20 Allocation
Chasing goals for many years has had its ups and downs as many of us can relate to. From chasing too many goals at once and getting burnt out, having no goals and feeling extremely free but not making much progress in the areas we’d like to just focussing on one goal but neglecting other important areas of life.
Goals have been a love hate relationship for years and it wasn’t until I started questioning them and experimenting with other methods that I started to develop a more adaptable system based on the 80/20 Pareto Principle.
Focus 80% of your time on ONE major goal and 20% of your time on two additional goals in which we will call experiments to separate them from your key focus, for one month.
As time goes by you can start experimenting with different percentage allocations. The 80/20 allocation is a just good rule of thumb and simplified guideline when approaching this task.
ONE major goal for several reasons. To make faster progress. When we have more than ONE major goal, progress is much slower resulting in loss of momentum and motivation. This means needing more energy, effort and time to fight procrastination and get things done every time. But worst of all sometimes giving up on the whole thing. Also because this is all we have time for in a busy world when working 40 plus hours a week in a corporate job or when you’re trying to start or grow a business and a million things require your attention.
Two additional experiments so we don’t neglect other areas of life and also to keep things interesting. Life would get pretty boring if we did the same thing everyday.
One month a good balance between giving yourself enough time to start making progress but also not too long to reap the rewards or end up forgetting about the whole thing like the typical one year goals.
Rigging the Game to Win Changes It All
Rigging the game to win by setting easy tasks and turning them into habits allows you to win every time.
This was what changed the whole game.
I would use to write down my to do tasks the night before in which I was committed to doing the next day. But then tomorrow would arrive and I’d end up getting so overwhelmed and procrastinated like hell every time. Just looking at the tasks physically made me freeze up. (Not exaggerating). But it wasn’t until I started to rig the game by setting an easy task and turning it into an habit by just committing to doing 25 “crappy” minutes of business work everyday that it started to really take off! This removed 90% of the procrastination and overwhelm barrier. “25 crappy minutes of business work, I can’t possibly fail!” The minimum I just had to do was just sit there and fidget with work for it to be counted. Surprisingly that was never the case. I would just continue from where I had left off and progress forward because the pressure was now off. Best of all 100% of the time I would go way over 25 minutes.
Working on my business has now become automatic for me which makes it hell of a lot easier and fun to do when you’re not fighting and kicking procrastination.
The Wake Up Call. Caveat Emptor. [Latin, Let the Buyer Beware.]
Goals take time to achieve, there are no overnight or weekend successes of starting a business. Some things just can’t be rushed and patience is necessary. It’s hard to blame ourselves for being so impatient with our culture being so fixated on instant successes overnight or in a short period of time. It’s really a marathon rather than a sprint.
Since it’s a marathon you might as well enjoy the process rather than kill yourself before you reach the finish line. Easier said than done. I know. For a very long time it use to be, blood, sweat and tears for some very delayed, long overdue gratification. My quest to any goal was to do anything that got me there. It was hard labour and not fun at all! But it wasn’t until I switched the vehicle of “doing anything that got me there” to using “a vehicle I enjoyed” that the pursuit of goals wasn’t something that caused me more pain than pleasure. I started not only to enjoy the process but make much faster progress.
Your goal is important but so is the process. You spend more time on the process therefore enjoy it. If you constantly put off fun until you reach your goal, life would be much more tedious than it has to be.
Goals take time. Don’t get so focussed that all you do is chase your goals and forget to smell the roses and enjoy life. Have that long dinner with friends, take that weekend trip to recharge or simply have the staycation to do anything you want other than work. If you constantly put off fun until you reach your goal, then you’re totally screwed! As most people who have reached their goal say, it’s not as exciting as expected when you reach your goal. Life doesn’t have to be so tedious!
New criteria is that now both my goals and process have to be enjoyable. Of course this does not mean, give up or not do the work when the going gets tough. Two totally different things.
So What’s a Good Goal?
To keep it simple something you really want and gets you excited no matter how big or small, realistic or unrealistic.
Can be a thing, doing, being, seeing, having etc. As long as it’s something that makes you go hell yes.
Questions and Actions
“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.”
– Earl Nightingale
Now the fun and hard part.
1. What do you want that excites you?
Write down all the things you dream of having, being, doing, anything that comes to mind that excites you no matter how big or small, realistic or unrealistic.
Do not filter anything or limit yourself by concerning yourself with how you will accomplish them.
2. Why do you want it?
Goals without a purpose are meaningless.
Write down big enough and compelling reasons as to why you want to achieve your goals and even experiments. What would that mean for you?
And also what would it mean if you did not achieve them?
There’s two sides of the sword. One is pain and the other is pleasure, which are both powerful leverage you can use to get yourself off the couch.
3. 80/20 your top 3 goals for the month
Doing everything at once, gets nothing done at the end of the day. Therefore we’re only going to focus on the key goals that excite you the most.
Choose ONE major goal and two additional experiments that you’re going to work on for the next month.
Allocate 80% of your time to your ONE major goal and 20% of your time to your two additional experiments.
80/20 does not mean allocate 24 hours. Start with what time you have to work on these goals. If you don’t have time, make time. It’s the only way you’re going to get from where you are now to where you want to be. TV or social media shouldn’t be part of the equation when you’re complaining about not having any time!
4. Turn your top 3 into actionable one month goals and experiments
For example, Financial Freedom. What does that mean? What figure would you need to be earning to attain that? $10,000/month or $20,000/month?
For your ONE major goal remember to make it exciting, even though it may mean out of your comfort zone.
Goals and potential pay-offs need to be inspiring, exciting or big enough otherwise you won’t have any reason or motivation to even move after the third day.
I would walk across fire for an island escape trip to Europe but won’t give up coffee for a weekend trip interstate.
Even though your goals may be big and unrealistic now, it’s much more likely that you’ll reach them compared to realistic goals because you’ll be willing to put in more effort to attain them.
For your additional experiments, make these simple, easy wins so you don’t get distracted and overwhelmed by these.
For example, learn how to surf. An actionable, easy win experiment would be, “Spend 3 hours every Saturday to learn how to surf”.
Or “Get fit” to an actionable, easy win, experiment would be “Run for 15 minutes everyday”.
“What! 15 minutes isn’t enough to get fit!” Remember this is not your major focus for the month. We want to make it simple and easy as possible so you don’t focus too much on this experiment. And how many times have you gone to all that trouble to get up, get dressed and workout to only do it for 15 minutes? Very few. You always ended up doing more.
5. Create habits, the antidote to procrastination
Turn your ONE major goal and two additional experiments (if it makes sense to do so) into habits.
Consistent action and consistent focus is the key to success. Work on your habits everyday no matter for how short of a period of time (preferably 15 minutes minimum), to create momentum and habits.
$10,000 / month as a habit would be 25 crappy minutes of business work everyday.
Spend 3 hours every Saturday to learn how to surf is fine as is.
Run for 15 minutes everyday is already a habit.
6. Plan and schedule your habits to make them happen
Success starts the night before by writing down and reviewing what you’re going to do the next day.
- Reminds you of your habits and goals so you don’t forget
- Gets you into the habit of reviewing how the day went and seeing your progress each day to create momentum and the domino effect
- Gets you taking consistent action and being consistently focussed. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Step-by-step.
Write down your goals, experiments, habits and time. Review them at the end of every day and first thing in the morning. To save time, download the template here.
Schedule your habits. Best time is earlier in the day or first thing in the morning where your willpower and energy levels are the highest. As the day progresses these usually decline or life gets in the way resulting in not taking action.
6. Take your first step
Do something now no matter how big or small, as tomorrow becomes never.
Take your first step now!
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