Are Your Goals Preventing You From Achieving Them?
Learn how to set goals that create momentum instead of stalling them
You are someone ready to try something new in your life, maybe a blog or a fitness Instagram account, so what is the first thing you should do?
Create a goal, of course!
The reason for the “of course” is that everywhere you look and watch, people are telling you the key to achieving your dreams is setting goals.
Goals are great when they are done right, but when they are done incorrectly, I think they can actually be the main reason you don’t achieve them.
People set goals every day, but according to a study by the University of Scranton, 92% of people don’t achieve them. Is it because we are lazy? Is it because we are too busy?
Maybe, but I think the more significant reason is that we don’t set our goals correctly. This is not going to be an article about SMART goals, there are plenty of those out there. I don’t think we need another.
If you resonated with any of this, then keep reading. I will outline the strategies that I used to subscribe to and then outline the approach I am using now that has increased my website views over 500% and my Medium views over a 1000% in less than 3 months.
The Old Way
Big, Vague, and Unattainable
So whenever I try anything new, if it was starting a blog or trying to code, I would follow the big, vague, and unattainable strategy.
Big, I have heard people like Grant Cardone say whatever you think your goal is 10x it! I would do that.
Vague, instead of saying I want to get better at coding, I would say I want to get better at Python. That’s specific, right?
Unattainable, last year around this time, I told my friend that in a year, I wanted to be the most prominent financial blogger on Medium. Actually, not a terrible goal, but the problem is I set it for 1 year, which was the nail in the coffin.
Goals like this were motivating at first, but then quickly became a burden. A burden that I wasn’t strong enough to carry. For others, goals like this aren’t motivating but actually deter them from evening trying, which is also unfortunate.
The New Way
More Feedback Loops The first part of my new goal-setting strategy is increasing the speed of the feedback loops.
The term Feedback Loop comes from the popular book, The Lean Startup. Mainly, you want to spend as little time thinking and more time doing and getting feedback from your customer.
So, instead of setting goals that are for one year or a couple of months, set them for a week. This will allow you to try and execute on your strategy and then evaluate if your plan is actually working.
Rule of thumb your deadlines for your goals should be proportional to the amount of time you have been doing the craft.
Example: You have been blogging for a month. Your long-term goals can be for 2 months. No, sense-making a year goal when you haven’t even been blogging that long.
Measure What Matters
Social media has caused us to measure our success based on likes and views. Once you reach a certain level, you can use these metrics, but when you start out, these metrics will be incredibly discouraging.
When I first started blogging, I would base my progress and success purely based on article views and Instagram post likes. The numbers were terrible. Ten views on Medium and five likes on Instagram.
This caused me to question whether I should even waste my time writing. Luckily, I had some people in my corner telling me to continue writing, so I did. But I changed what I was measuring.
Instead of tracking likes and views, I started tracking my output. The number of articles I was able to write and post. Getting comfortable with creating content and putting yourself out there was the key for me. You will not get comfortable creating content if all your articles and social media posts are in your Google Drive and Camera Roll.
This strategy is useful for any kind of goal, not just social media-based ones. Set goals based on your effort, and then as you get comfortable, you can reorient them to more subjective measurements.
Stick to One Goal
This is the toughest one for even me to follow. Limit the number of goals you are going after. When you start anything new, it is easy to put a lot on your plate and assume the excitement will give you the energy and focus to do it all.
There has actually been a lot of research done around multitasking and task switching. A stat that I just read in a recent book is that 28% of the workday is wasted because of multitasking and task switching.
I get it. The excitement is real, and we should harness that excitement. My suggestion would be to have a Google Doc that you can easily access so you can capture all your ideas on when they pop into your head. But stick to one objective at a time.
One of the benefits of having shorter goal time-frames is that you won’t have to wait long before finishing one goal and moving on to the next.
Starting anything new is tough. Especially when you start handicapping yourself with poorly structured goals.
Next time you are setting out to try something new, remember the principles laid out here:
More Feedback Loops — The length of your long-term goal should not be longer than you have been currently working on the craft. The shorter the time-frame of the goal, the more strategies you can try.
Measure What Matters — When starting out, don’t use performance metrics, instead use effort metrics. Instead of Likes and Views, Focus on your output and consistency.
Stick to One Goal at a Time — Focus on accomplishing one goal at a time, and since your timelines are shorter, you will be able to try out many different goals.
Hopefully, you found this valuable, and if you have any comments, questions, or need support in your next endeavor, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
Thank you and until next time!