Want to understand WHY we might fail our goals?
Harsh fact… most people will FAIL with their goals in 2022…..
The following post, from Sahil Bloom, should help you succeed…. it’s a great piece of writing.
Goals are great.
But, like everyone, I’ve set—and then failed with many goals over the last decade.
So I’ve reviewed some earlier work that used to inspire me to understand WHY
Learnings: there is a clear framework for successful goal setting.
Consistent goal achievement never happens by accident.
This article shares a framework for goal setting:
Many of us struggle with the same issues with respect to goal setting.
The most common:
• Too many goals
• Not clear enough
• Not linked to actions
• Unhelpful environment
• Unclear time frame
If you’ve struggled, chances are one (or more) of these issues is to blame.
My new goal setting framework involves five steps:
(1) Set the Stage
(2) Identify BHAG
(3) Work Backwards
(4) Establish Process Goals
(5) Track & Adjust
The general framework is fixed, but its application is intended to be dynamic.
Let’s walk through the steps…
Step 1: Set the Stage
Establish the categories that you’ll be building goals around.
For me, it’s three:
I find that covering these three forces progress in all major areas of my life, but some people prefer a more narrow focus with one.
Within each category, you only have room for:
• 1 Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)
• 1 Connected Medium-Term Goal
• 2-3 Daily Process Goals
That’s it—nothing more.
The clarity and simplicity this forces is a core feature of the framework.
Step 2: Identify BHAG
Your BHAG—Big Hairy Audacious Goal—is exactly what it sounds like.
It should be big and ambitious—but not ridiculous.
Think of this as your North Star. It’s the poster on your wall—motivating in an abstract sense, but perhaps not on a daily basis.
Remember: You can only have one BHAG within a category.
In my case, that means one professional BHAG, one personal BHAG, and one health BHAG.
Too many and you get goal competition (and paralysis).
Write them down, print them out, put them on your wall. Whatever works for you.
Step 3: Work Backwards
BHAGs are great for vision, but they are TERRIBLE for guiding short and medium-term actions.
Work backwards to identify one medium-term goal that is connected to your BHAG.
If the summit is the BHAG, the connected medium-term goal is a mid-climb camp.
Note that there are time considerations to this step.
If your BHAG is an annual goal, you may establish a new connected medium-term goal on a rolling quarterly basis.
You don’t need to plan the connected medium-term goals ahead of time.
Be dynamic and flexible about these.
Step 4: Establish Process Goals
Process goals are the key to the entire framework.
What are the 2-3 daily actions that you would need to take to create tangible, compounding progress?
These should be the SIMPLEST daily actions. The “atomic unit” of progress in a given arena.
Whereas the BHAG and medium-term connected goals are generally results-focused, the process goals are inputs-focused.
These are the daily deposits you are going to make into the bank.
The tiny, compounding daily actions that create massive long-term results.
An important note: never establish over three daily process goals—it’ll be too much to focus on.
My friend calls the daily process goals the “oars” that move your boat, while the BHAGs and medium-term goals are the “rudders” that set the direction.
I love this.
He points out that daily process goals are most effective when fixed to a time or action that makes them easy to structure and regiment—“habit stacking” in his words.
• I’ll drink 16oz of water when I wake up
• I’ll journal 30 minutes before bed
Step 5: Track & Adjust
The daily process goals should be easy to track and adjust.
Jerry Seinfeld would hang a calendar and use a red marker to put an X over every day that he completed an hour of writing.
It wasn’t about the writing being good, it was about the daily action.
Leverage community to hold you accountable.
There is nothing more powerful than community when it comes to goal setting and achievement.
Create a Google Sheet and track your process goals with others.
Forced accountability is a powerful weapon in your arsenal!
Don’t become dogmatic—allow yourself to adjust as needed.
A few common adjustments:
Overly-ambitious daily process goals should be adjusted down.
When in doubt, set them to be overly-achievable.
The human psyche responds well to wins—manufacture them early and benefit later.
Environments that are unsuited to achieving daily process goals should be adjusted.
If my daily process goal is to eat a balanced, nutrient-dense breakfast, a kitchen full of junk is an environment unsuited to my goal.
Deliberately adjust your environments to match your goals.
Those are the five steps in my framework.
To bring this to life, let’s look at an illustrative example for a newsletter writer.
BHAG: 100K subs by year-end.
Medium-Term: 25K subs per quarter.
Daily Process Goals:
• 30 min of reading each AM
• 60 min writing after lunch