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Effective goal-setting: How to set goals to actually achieve them

It’s very frustrating and demoralizing when we set goals and don’t achieve them. I came across something a couple of years ago that explained why back then I wasn’t hitting most of the goals that I was setting for myself.

So I want to share that with you today. I realized that a lot of the goals that I was setting were in terms of output, not input. So what I mean by that is that I was setting goals based on what I wanted to accomplish, not what I had to do to accomplish those things. And I realized that it had to be the other way around.

If you say, I’m going to lose 10 pounds in two days, you can’t guarantee that that’s going to happen. Same if you say I’m going to close 10 sales in the next two days. You can’t possibly guarantee that because there are factors that are outside of your control. But you can say, for example, that for the next two days or two weeks, you’re going to be eating, you know, two salads a day, drinking only water and not eating ice cream. You can do that. You can also say that every single day you’re going to make a hundred sales calls, right? That’s within your control.

I found that when I switched from setting my goals based on output to setting them based on input, I started just killing it in every aspect of my life. And it also made me feel that I was more in control. That I could make a list of all the things that I had to do that day and do them one at a time.

The problem with setting goals based on outputs is that we’re really bad at estimating how long things take or how many resources something takes or all the other factors outside our control. So when our estimation is wrong, even if we do everything we’re supposed to do, we might end up feeling poorly because we set a goal and we couldn’t achieve it. Even if we did all the things that we knew we had to do.

So here’s my challenge for you. Take a list of all the things that you want to accomplish that you have set in terms of output and translate them into input. What it is that you have to do.

And make sure that you are as specific as possible. For example, don’t say I’m going to exercise more. You could say something like I’m gonna run two miles every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, right? So the more specific you are with the things that you wanna do, the more likely it is that you’ll actually follow through.