Guest post by Kristian Thaulow
We all know goal-setting is important. We also know that we should write them down on paper. The real question is: how do you stay motivated while keeping a consistent focus on reaching your goal?
What usually happens? We end up trying a whole bunch of different tactics to keep us on track:
- We painstakingly put our goal through every single criterion on the SMART model
- We set a ton of reminders on our phone which we never follow up on
- We write our goal down on huge notepads and post-its to keep us focused
We do all the “right” things, according to the goal-setting experts. But in the real world, these tactics, never really work. Most of the time we end up losing our motivation during the process.
Why does this happen?
Let me introduce you to a concept we call The Success Pyramid:
How to reach your goals with The Success Pyramid
What did you notice?
The strategy and tactics you use is just 20% of the equation. 80% of your success is getting your psychology straight and mastering the fundamentals.
Obviously, the strategy and the tactics are important. But mastering the fundamentals and your psychology is always the #1 factor you need to reach your goals.
The brutal truth?
There’s only one reason nobody talks about the psychology and the fundamentals: They’re not sexy to talk about. It’s way easier to talk about different goal-setting strategies, instead of doing some hard work up front.
That’s why most “experts” spend so much time explaining their strategies, tactics, and frameworks to you.
Of course, reaching your goals is hard work. But it doesn’t need to be complicated.
Today, I’m going to teach you our Success Pyramid Strategy. This will help you turn any of your goals, into reality.
No fluff, no nonsense, no B.S. Just a battle-tested system, that gets results.
Here’s what you’ll learn today:
- Step #1: Get your fundamentals in place
- Step #2: Master the psychology of successful goal setting
- Step #3: Your goal-setting system: How to create a bulletproof system that gets results
Step #1: Get your fundamentals in place
Let’s be honest: Most people are terrible at goal setting. It’s the same reason over 80% fail their New Year’s resolution.
The problem isn’t they don’t have enough knowledge. The real problem is, they don’t have a system that guarantees they’ll get results. With that in mind, how do you avoid falling into the same category as the failed 80% of New Year’s resolutions?
Here’s the deal:
It doesn’t matter what kind of goal you have (it can be business, personal, or your relationship). If you only focus on these two things you’re about to learn — you will reach your goal.
Here’s what to do instead:
- Break your goal into the smallest and most actionable step
- Make it as specific and easy-to-understand as possible
Let’s take an example:
- TERRIBLE GOAL: “I want to start my own business.”
- GOOD GOAL: “I want to brainstorm a minimum of 20 business ideas by the end of next week. And after that, choose 1 idea I can test, and maybe develop into a business.”
You see, how the last goal focused more on the process, and not the end goal? And, how it was very specific, very actionable, and more importantly… very simple?
Funny thing is that most people know they “should” make their goals specific. But, when I ask them to tell me their goal, as specifically as possible, they usually end up with something like the first example.
Even the most successful and skilled executives and CEOs struggle with this step. I know, because I’ve coached a lot of them.
Writing your goal down, in plain English, as specifically as possible is something you need to get right from the beginning (even though it seems obvious). If you feel it’s a bit hard right now, don’t worry.
Just like learning how to ride a bike. Setting goals is a skill you develop, the more times you do it. Let’s look at the next step.
Step #2: Master the psychology of successful goal setting
Have you ever seen an elephant tied up to a small rope around its leg?
The elephant and the rope problem
Now, why doesn’t the elephant break free? It can flip a car upside down, no problem, but it never tries to break free from the rope.
The reason is, when the elephant is a baby, it’s tied up with the exact same size rope. At that time, it’s more than enough to hold it. And as the elephant gets older, it starts to believe the rope is impossible to break.
In reality, the rope isn’t what’s holding it back. The thing that’s holding the elephant back is a belief — its own psychology.
The same is true with you. Your beliefs, or what we call “Invisible Frames,” is what potentially holds you back from reaching your goals and your full potential.
When we’re trapped in an Invisible Frame, we say things like:
- NEGOTIATING SALARY: “I know I should negotiate my salary with my manager. But, it’s just not the right time”
- SWITCHING CAREERS: “I can’t switch careers now. I need to get my ducks in a row”
- RELATIONSHIPS: “Why doesn’t my wife understand, that it’s impossible for me to spend more time at home than I already do”
Now, what would happen if you changed your Invisible Frame, and turned the problem upside down?
- NEGOTIATING SALARY: “What’s the one thing I could do today, so I can speed up the negotiation process?”
- SWITCHING CAREERS: “I could invite some people out for coffee who works for the company I want to work for”
- RELATIONSHIPS: “I want to spend more time with my wife. I’ll take her out for dinner this week and I’ll make the table reservation today”
Your Invisible Frame Action Step:
Ask yourself: “What are some of my Invisible Frames, that’s holding me back from reaching my goals?”
Step #3: Your goal-setting system: How to create a bulletproof system that gets results
As we talked about before: Setting goals is a skill. The more times you do it, the better you get.
That’s why I’m going to give a little bit of counter-intuitive advice, compared to what every other expert tells you.
What you don’t need to worry about:
- Using fancy goal-setting models like SMART, BHAG, or GROW
- Waiting for that sudden burst of motivation
- Setting a goal that’s set 5 years into the future
Instead, you’re going to develop your goal-setting muscle. The easiest way to do it is by focusing on a short-term goal and forget the long-term goals, for now.
A 1-year goal is good, but 1 month is better.
Why? Because when you’re developing your goal-setting muscle you need to learn what goes right, and what goes wrong during the process. This way, you’re developing a sense of what works and what you can throw out the next time you set a goal.
So for now, forget about setting 5, 10, and even 20-year goals into the future. Once you master how to set successful goals, you can start focusing on more long-term goals.
Let’s take a look at the 3-step system that will help you set, and reach successful goals.
I’ve taught the exact same system to several successful CEOs, Executives, and entrepreneurs — and now you’ll learn it too.
Your Goal-Setting Action Steps:
- Set a short-term goal (max 1 year). Write it out in plain English, and with as many specific details as possible. Forget about jargon, and make it sound real. Make it sound like something you would tell a friend
- Write down a minimum of 3 action steps. I usually recommend writing both a daily, weekly, and a monthly action. Again, keep it simple and focus on writing it in plain English
- Set a calendar reminder for your deadline. Once you reach your deadline, sit down, and evaluate your progress. Did you reach your goal? What did you do right? What could you do differently? What did you learn? Write everything down.
Remember: Setting goals is a skill. Like everything else, you will develop it over time.
The best way to do it? Approach it like a scientist.
During the process and after you’ve hit your deadline, ask yourself:
- “What didn’t go as I had hoped for?”
- “What went right?”
- “How can I do better next time?”
Do this, and you’re not only ahead of 95% of everybody who’s struggling to reach their goal. You’re also way more likely to actually reach your goal.
Kristian Thaulow helps ambitious executives how to increase their influence, have a bigger impact, and grow their business. He’s the co-founder of Rise Performance Lab