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:

  1. Whatever you want to make happen, write it down.
  2. Ask yourself “What would I have to do every day to make that happen?”
  3. 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?
  4. 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.

  1. What do I want to make happen? Get more speaking gigs.
  2. What would I have to do everyday to make it happen? Make an effort to proactively seek speaking engagements.
  3. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Jonathan Mead

Jonathan Mead

Jonathan is the founder and Chief Troublemaker behind Paid to Exist. He’s passionate about content creation, personal transformation and really good beer. When he’s not scheming up ideas to help people work on their own terms, you can usually find him trailrunning, doing gymnastics or practicing Jeet Kune Do.

10 Comments

  • Yana says:

    Thank you, Jonathan for this article! It is very true indeed that people set goals that they drop midway, just because they have different habits. I did have the problem myself – I was setting goals and when in 2-3 weeks I was starting to loose enthusiasm I was thinking that I had set up the wrong goal.

    Making a new habit is exactly what one needs to do as most of our day we just follow habits. I would like to add something to that. I would say that one should not get frustrated if he/she skips the new habit work for a day or two. It is very important to not punish ourselves!

    The second thing that I would like to add is that another thing that stops people from achieving their goals might be some limiting beliefs (e.g. "I never do anything right"). So, adding a technique that clears that (e.g. EFT) to the daily routine will help a lot, too.

    Thank you for the inspiring article!

  • Yana says:

    Thank you, Jonathan for this article! It is very true indeed that people set goals that they drop midway, just because they have different habits. I did have the problem myself – I was setting goals and when in 2-3 weeks I was starting to loose enthusiasm I was thinking that I had set up the wrong goal.

    Making a new habit is exactly what one needs to do as most of our day we just follow habits. I would like to add something to that. I would say that one should not get frustrated if he/she skips the new habit work for a day or two. It is very important to not punish ourselves!

    The second thing that I would like to add is that another thing that stops people from achieving their goals might be some limiting beliefs (e.g. “I never do anything right”). So, adding a technique that clears that (e.g. EFT) to the daily routine will help a lot, too.

    Thank you for the inspiring article!

  • Thanks for outlining a simple technique to achieving goals Jonathan. What I have found is that people get to caught up in the “how” and never really focus on the “why”. If someone can get a powerful enough “why” going they will break through that dip that happens 2-3 weeks deep into the process. The how is most likely going to change along the way anyways so one should not be that attached to “how”.

  • John says:

    It seems that the best way to go in the right direction is to write down steps that you take RIGHT NOW. I mean, what's the point of having a goal if you always plan instead of actually doing.

    This is a simple system to get you goals started now and continue the momentum.

    Two thumbs up, Jonathan.

  • Maybe it's time to throw out a goal that does not excite?

  • Valerie M says:

    I definitely agree that setting concrete goals can really make people lose sight of what they REALLY want to achieve. When you're so focused on the end point you diminish the importance of the journey (and the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes with it).

    I like how you term it as "working towards a direction." It's less dependent on the end goal and places more emphasis on genuine growth. It's so much more fun and builds more awareness that way.

    Awesome post!

  • Thanks a lot for the advice, Jonathan, I like the idea of replacing your "goals" with "directions", because a goal seems like an arbitrary thing that can just sit there, but a direction implies that you are constantly moving, which is actually the case.

    I like how you say to write the things down that you need to do to achieve your goal, and to work towards it. I have always believed that as long as you take a step each day, that one day you'll inevitably reach where you are trying to go–even if it means just baby steps on days where it is hard to work on your goals.

    Thanks again, Jonathan, I enjoy reading your blog as well!

  • John says:

    It seems that the best way to go in the right direction is to write down steps that you take RIGHT NOW. I mean, what's the point of having a goal if you always plan instead of actually doing.

    This is a simple system to get you goals started now and continue the momentum.

    Two thumbs up, Jonathan.

  • Valerie M says:

    I definitely agree that setting concrete goals can really make people lose sight of what they REALLY want to achieve. When you're so focused on the end point you diminish the importance of the journey (and the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes with it).
    I like how you term it as “working towards a direction.” It's less dependent on the end goal and places more emphasis on genuine growth. It's so much more fun and builds more awareness that way.
    Awesome post!

  • Thanks a lot for the advice, Jonathan, I like the idea of replacing your “goals” with “directions”, because a goal seems like an arbitrary thing that can just sit there, but a direction implies that you are constantly moving, which is actually the case.

    I like how you say to write the things down that you need to do to achieve your goal, and to work towards it. I have always believed that as long as you take a step each day, that one day you'll inevitably reach where you are trying to go–even if it means just baby steps on days where it is hard to work on your goals.

    Thanks again, Jonathan, I enjoy reading your blog as well!

  • Great article – thank you. Yes it is all about passion persistence & discipline and taking action. In Napoleon Hills book Think & Grow Rich he talks about this being the success formula – the formula that all successful people have followed. They love what they do – the never give up and they take action. They never look at a failure as a failure – they see it as a feedback to correct the course they are following. Doing this requires discipline. Good advice about putting this into your calendar or any other reminder tool. Bill Bartman – the multimillionaire who went from sleeping on the street to become the 25th richest person i USA use the word PROMISE instead of goal. Why? because he says that is a more powerful word – something you probably would feel stronger about. So, promising oneself to achieve something can be a good way to start. Thanks again for the article. All the best, Camillo :)

  • Great article – thank you. Yes it is all about passion persistence & discipline and taking action. In Napoleon Hills book Think & Grow Rich he talks about this being the success formula – the formula that all successful people have followed. They love what they do – the never give up and they take action. They never look at a failure as a failure – they see it as a feedback to correct the course they are following. Doing this requires discipline. Good advice about putting this into your calendar or any other reminder tool. Bill Bartman – the multimillionaire who went from sleeping on the street to become the 25th richest person i USA use the word PROMISE instead of goal. Why? because he says that is a more powerful word – something you probably would feel stronger about. So, promising oneself to achieve something can be a good way to start. Thanks again for the article. All the best, Camillo :)

  • Noelani Leaaetoa says:

    I am so impressed with your article Jonathan. I just happened to read it & l am so glad that I did. This motivates more now to continue with my goals of losing 10kg in 3 months before my 40th b'day party in Oct.

    I have just started walking with a work colleague last Wednesday(22/07) for 30-45mins and I can tell you, it is not easy. I would say to my colleague, I can't wait to get back to work, not thinking that I should enjoy the journey in order to achieve my goal….& I am more determine to reach my goal/target………..I will keep you informed with my progress…..PS. keep up the good work

  • This is a great article, and I am proof that if you take these steps you will indeed reach your goals!

    Stephanie Kathan

    Master Key Coaching

    Cranberry and Sage of Vermont

  • Enoch says:

    Thanks for putting it so simply and yet surely it’s really all we need to focus on. Sometimes, I lose track if the process seems too complicated or arduous to follow through. What if we dislike the actions that we have to take in the direction that we pursue? Will the why be strong enough to overcome the reluctance to take action? This is my current challenge now and everyone seems to be talking about working on the subconscious. Is it really worth the time and effort?

  • Shosh says:

    Thank you, Jonathan, for your great article. I'm going to implement it, starting right now. I'll keep you posted.

  • Noelani Leaaetoa says:

    I am so impressed with your article Jonathan. I just happened to read it & l am so glad that I did. This motivates more now to continue with my goals of losing 10kg in 3 months before my 40th b'day party in Oct.
    I have just started walking with a work colleague last Wednesday(22/07) for 30-45mins and I can tell you, it is not easy. I would say to my colleague, I can't wait to get back to work, not thinking that I should enjoy the journey in order to achieve my goal….& I am more determine to reach my goal/target………..I will keep you informed with my progress…..PS. keep up the good work

  • Noelani Leaaetoa says:

    I am so impressed with your article Jonathan. I just happened to read it l am so glad that I did. This motivates more now to continue with my goals of losing 10kg in 3 months before my 40th b'day party in Oct.

    I have just started walking with a work colleague last Wednesday(22/07) for 30-45mins and I can tell you, it is not easy. I would say to my colleague, I can't wait to get back to work, not thinking that I should enjoy the journey in order to achieve my goal…. I am more determine to reach my goal/target………..I will keep you informed with my progress…..PS. keep up the good work

  • Noelani Leaaetoa says:

    I am so impressed with your article Jonathan. I just happened to read it l am so glad that I did. This motivates more now to continue with my goals of losing 10kg in 3 months before my 40th b'day party in Oct.
    I have just started walking with a work colleague last Wednesday(22/07) for 30-45mins and I can tell you, it is not easy. I would say to my colleague, I can't wait to get back to work, not thinking that I should enjoy the journey in order to achieve my goal…. I am more determine to reach my goal/target………..I will keep you informed with my progress…..PS. keep up the good work

  • Mike says:

    It proves to me, “you always get what you want when you need it”. It was simple yet brilliant, and something I can use right NOW! Thank You!

  • This is a great article, and I am proof that if you take these steps you will indeed reach your goals!

    Stephanie Kathan
    Master Key Coaching
    Cranberry and Sage of Vermont

  • ABHAY SHAH says:

    Dear Jonathan,

    very simple but very right article,easy to follow and keep us associated with our goal ( direction) ,which is most most important to fulfill it.Hope this will benefit many.Please keep it up.

  • ABHAY SHAH says:

    Dear Jonathan,
    very simple but very right article,easy to follow and keep us associated with our goal ( direction) ,which is most most important to fulfill it.Hope this will benefit many.Please keep it up.

  • Laurence says:

    Very great article and it is so simple.

  • Living on your terms isn't all hype. It's another level of discipline and creating systems to put all pieces of the puzzle into play, allowing your goals to be achieved – inevitably.

    Awesome stuff Jon!

  • Nick says:

    Well written and easy to understand and much easier to impliment than establishing "goals" and "resolutions". Vishen at Finer Minds suggested this article and I'm glad he did. It has supplied a piece of my present puzzle that stimulates my creativity, which is never a bad thing, especially if the approach is unique and based on my strengths, intuition and viewpoint – not what somebody else says one "must do". Thanks again. Namaste.

    Blessings, Nick

  • Nick says:

    Well written and easy to understand and much easier to impliment than establishing “goals” and “resolutions”. Vishen at Finer Minds suggested this article and I'm glad he did. It has supplied a piece of my present puzzle that stimulates my creativity, which is never a bad thing, especially if the approach is unique and based on my strengths, intuition and viewpoint – not what somebody else says one “must do”. Thanks again. Namaste.
    Blessings, Nick

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