Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just set your goals on autopilot, and they’d just achieved themselves? This is absolutely possible, and it is the smart way to achieving your goals.
So let’s be honest: You can’t completely have your goals achieve themselves (that wouldn’t be any fun anyway), but you can setup systems to make it nearly impossible for you to fail. (To be honest, I don’t usually like using the word “goal.” In fact, I teach people to kill their goals, and work toward directions. But I think for simplicity’s sake, it’s easier that we use a framework we all understand.)
The problem with goals
Have you ever set a goal for yourself where you were completely gung-ho, excited, and stoked that you would achieve it? Then a few days or weeks later, what happens?
Your energy fizzles.
For one reason or another, you couldn’t keep it going because the path to achieving your goal wasn’t ingrained enough in you. It wasn’t automatic. It wasn’t a habit.
Now sometimes you don’t achieve the goal because you realized you didn’t really care about it. It just seemed like a cool idea at the time, but it didn’t really have any long-term potential. Maybe it was just an ego-driven desire. You wanted to impress someone, or impress yourself.
But then there are those other goals, the ones you really care about. The ones that would make a huge, enormous difference in your life. These are what we’d call high-leverage goals. They’re the goals that have the highest return on investment. This is where you want to spend most of your time, right? You want to spend more time on a business plan that will liberate you from your cubicle than you want to spend on your pogo-sticking world record dream.
So those paradigm shifting goals are the ones that matter, and they’re the ones that are going to really transform your life.
These are the goals we don’t want to fizzle.
But it seems no matter what crazy motivational techniques we strain ourselves to do (fire-walk anyone?), or whatever hacks we try to implement, it just doesn’t last. We can’t keep up the motivation long enough to make achieving the goal inevitable.
What to do instead
Instead of walking on coals of fire everyday to get yourself “pumped,” why not just create systems that will make the achievement of your goal effortless?
Here’s how it works:
- Whatever you want to make happen, write it down.
- Ask yourself “What would I have to do every day to make that happen?”
- Figure out what habit you could create to make achieving your goal inevitable. In other words, what could you do on a daily basis that would make it impossible for you to not achieve your goal?
- Put that in your calendar, and setup reminders.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say you want to do more speaking gigs, but you’ve never spoken live before and don’t have any connections.
- What do I want to make happen? Get more speaking gigs.
- What would I have to do everyday to make it happen? Make an effort to proactively seek speaking engagements.
- What habit could I create to make it impossible for this not to happen? Create a short pitch of what I do, call five organizations a day in my field, and tell them how they would benefit from my message.
Awesome. Now, put it in your calendar and you’re done. All you have to do is follow the system and achieving your goal will be automatic. Sooner or later, you are going to get some speaking engagements, if you do this long enough. I promise you that.
Some other awesome strategies
There are some other ways you can make it even more difficult for your goals to not be achieved.
- Create an accountability group. Find a few like-minded, intrinsically motivated individuals to be a part of your group. You setup the call/meeting once a week. Each person tells the group what they are going to do next week, then they report on their progress. Make an agreement that if you don’t do what you agreed to do, you can no longer be a part of the group.
- Enroll in a seminar or course. When we pay money for something, we’re much more likely to want to get value out of whatever we invested in. Signing up for a seminar, a course, or purchasing some kind of program is a great way to make it more likely that you’ll achieve success.
- Join a club or group. Find a gathering of people that meet regularly on your interest. If we go back to the speaking example, this might be Toastmasters. If you want to workout everyday, you could find a buddy to go with you to the gym, or on runs.
These are just a few ideas, I’m sure that you can think of many other possibilities.
So, how can you make it extremely difficult for you to not achieve your goals?
I think you’ll find yourself wishing you would have tried this a long time ago.