Lou Holtz once said:
If you are bored, and you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things, you don’t have enough goals.
Some years ago, I was like that. I didn’t wake up burning. I didn’t have any goals and didn’t know how to make some. But even when I started finding a purpose in life and setting my first goals, they overwhelmed me. I wasn’t able to make them properly, and I always tried to overreach, so in the end, the results were the same — I didn’t wake up burning.
So in the last months, I convinced myself that Lou Holtz’s quote was not complete. Goals are the key to success indeed, but you also need to know how to set them.
The 4 Promising Strategies of Goal Crushing
If there is one thing I love about setting goals, it must be the many strategies to achieve the same things. And depending on the type of person using them, some may work, while others will fail miserably.
Strategies can be aggressive or passive. They can use combined or simple goals or even different time frames. Which one to use does not matter as much as finding the one that works for your lifestyle.
Because of that, I decided to collect in one place the most encouraging techniques that caught my attention, so you can try them and find out if they work for you or if they don’t.
So here are the 4 most simple and promising strategies for crushing any goal.
1 — Short-Term Goals Strategy
The first strategy is for people unable to commit to a goal for a long time and willing to tweak their goals frequently.
Being part of this category, I learned that having short-term goals doesn’t prevent you from using long-term goals too, but they are less defined. For example, a long-term goal could be “losing weight” with a couple of paired short-term goals like “running 10km a week”, “eating vegetables 50% of the meals”, etc.
As you can see, the long-time goal gives you a purpose, while the short-time goals are the ones that you will follow to achieve your objective.
Also, it is harder to face failure with long-term goals because they require much commitment. So the shame of having failed strengthens, the negativity bias raises, and motivation plummets.
Short-term goals are more manageable. They are easier to track, don’t require too much commitment, and are also more achievable because they tend to be more realistic and manageable. It is like making a prediction — if you predict the long term, your chances of success are less probable than your chances of failure. Short-term goals give you a boost of motivation to help you gradually aim to higher levels until you reach your dream.
This is one of my favorite strategies because it is simple, and I love to insert new variables in my routine. I don’t like stagnant situations, and I want to try different strategies to achieve the same goal. So if I want to lose weight, I may change my diet or exercise between one short-term goal and another.
2 — Infinite Mindset Strategy
As opposed to the first one, the second strategy requires you to use an infinite mindset, which is way challenging but can be more effective.
Only a few people can commit to a goal so much that they become invincible, but if you are one of those, there’s nothing that can take you down, so you should try it.
With the infinite mindset, you convince yourself you can reach the goal whatever happens. So even if you fail multiple times, potentially infinite, you never give up. It doesn’t matter how many do-overs you need — in the end, you will succeed.
If you decide to use this strategy, you should pair it with empowerment exercises. For starters, you can try empowering self-talk. I used it a lot in the past few years when I thought I could never take an exam, or graduate, or even manage a failed relationship, and it worked surprisingly well.
First, I started with general empowering self-talk. Then, I built sentences focused on my goals to strengthen my belief and defeat my insecurities.
3 — Layered Goals Strategy
When I first heard about people trying to stack their goals, the idea blew my mind. So I decided to give it a form and transform it into a real goal-setting strategy. That’s when I fell in love with layered goals.
The strategy is so simple as it is effective.
Each time you set a goal, you also define an improvement range, which is the percentage of growth that will bring you to the next level. Also, you need to consider the days on which it will be impossible to deliver, and you can reach only a lower level of the goal.
For example, if you set a goal of writing 100 words per day and an improvement range of 15%, you will try to reach the base goal of 100 words, 115 for the best achievement, or 85 words for bad days. And the layers could be more than three.
This strategy works well for people unable to deliver every day because it helps you deal with failure easier. Once you reach the lower layer of the goal, whatever comes next is only a higher success.
Also, if you are an aggressive goal-setter, this would mitigate your eagerness. With layered goals, too high expectations cannot exist.
4 — The Curved Strategy
The last of the 4 most promising strategies for crushing any goal is less about setting goals and more about achieving them. Usually, any purpose needs to be measurable, as S.M.A.R.T. strategies teach us, so you would probably need to repeat one action each day, or week, to achieve it. But since motivation is higher towards the beginning of a journey, doing more work could become the winning strategy.
For example, if you achieve 20% more daily repetitions, you will achieve your goal faster. Also, you will add security to it since in later stages, when motivation drops, you will have some backup work you already did.
I call this the curved strategy because, in the beginning, your motivation will be higher than ever, and then it will decrease exponentially over time. This is the opposite of what most of us do. We usually stop delivering after a while, and we end up with a lot of work to achieve before the end of the goal. So inverting this trend, and working more backed up by motivation, can turn into a victory.
These are the 4 most promising strategies for crushing any goal that I have tried lately, but there are infinite strategies you can implement in your routine to set and reach your goals. In the end, whatever the approach, there are only a few things you need to keep in mind.
First of all, failure is not avoidable. Especially in the beginning, when you are trying to achieve something for the first time, and you never did it before, you will fail a lot. Perhaps because of a lack of skill, bad luck, or any other variable. In this case, layered goals could help a lot because they limit the possibility of failing too much.
Second, dreaming too big is always a problem. It happens to everybody that we get caught in the game of overdoing, and we overestimate ourselves. If you dream big and have too many plans for the future, you won’t ever stick to the goal’s schedule. So you could try a short-term strategy instead, or even a curved one, when you do most of the work in the beginning, and you can calibrate the rest later.
This doesn’t mean that you have to stop dreaming big. In fact, if you have an infinite mindset, dreaming big is a minimum requirement. In the end, bad luck can hit our path towards a goal many times, but not forever. Sooner or later, you will remain standing.
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Article first published on Curious.