How to Crush Any Goal (w/ Worksheet)
I know that you have wanted something for a very long time. A job. A six pack. Personal confidence. A friend group. The ability to speak in public. A better job. A better salary. A spouse. Here, we will delineate this five-step exercise that you should write down so that you can take five minutes to transform your approach to achieving your goal.
1. Discover What You Really Want
This isn’t a goal. Many people front-load the goal to the front of the process. That’s wrongheaded. A goal is a means of achieving something you want. A goal is a small tool. A “goal” is not a way of stating a big desire. A goal is a step in the process of manifesting a reality. Achievement is composed of several achieved goals.
This is the phase of goal-setting where you let yourself dream as big as you can, and indulge in as much fantasy as you want. People usually don’t do this. They don’t indulge in fantasy about themselves, because they don’t believe that it’s possible to make it real. And they don’t believe it’s possible to make their dreams real because they’ve never done it before. They’ve never followed through enough to see results on the other side.
Write down what you want. Maybe you want to lose 70 pounds. Maybe you want to have a six pack. Maybe you want to get a raise. Whatever it is, let yourself want it. Let your mind rest for a moment on your particular goal. What do you want? What have you always wanted? What have you never been able to accomplish? Imagine yourself accomplishing that goal.
Don’t let cynicism spoil the party. Cynicism isn’t invited to the dreaming phase. If you let yourself cynically downplay your dreams, you are already guaranteeing your failure. Let yourself want and imagine and dream about the thing. What are the specifics of your dream coming true? What are the numbers? What will you feel? How will that change your year? How will your family react? What will your friends say? How will your enemies feel? Let yourself indulge all of that.
2. Sign Up for a Performance that Represents That Desire
This is, by far, the most neglected and the most important element of achieving what you desire. You will fail to get what you want if you don’t specify a particular performance which represents the achievement of your desire, toward which your goal will be oriented. If you want to get in shape, that performance can be anything from: “I will spend an entire day at the beach with my shirt off,” to “I want to enter a bodybuilding contest.”
As Arnold Schwarzenegger wisely said: “If you’re training for nothing, you’re wasting your time.” Don’t waste your energy, motivation, and focus on a goal that doesn’t have an explicit, actionable measurement in the reasonably near future.
3. Choose the Best Daily Training Plan to Succeed at that Performance
This might be the hardest part of achieving goals, next to the actual execution of the plan. The reason choosing a plan should be hard is because you have to come face to face with what you hate most about yourself. You have to take a long, hard look at yourself. You have to step on the scale. That can be a very, very painful decision. You will want to avoid it. You will want to set a plan for yourself without taking an inventory of the exact weaknesses that you’ll want to improve.
4. Pick a Specific Goal
An achievable goal presupposes an articulated desire (your dream), a performance that publicly manifests that desire, and a training plan. Your goal should be within that training plan. Most people fail at goals because they set their goals before they know what they want, before they know how it will be measured and tested, and before they even have a protocol within which they can test that particular goal. However your training program measures progress, make your goal to achieve a certain measure of progress according to those specific metrics.
Most people live with this persistent sense of lack and failure because most people fail to achieve what they want. This failure can, almost every single time, be boiled down to a lack of specificity regarding the desired goal, or an unrealistic expectation for that goal. So, choose a goal within your training protocol for a performance-oriented event, which manifests your dream. Make it very, very specific.
If you want to lose fat, write the exact number of points and means of measurement.
If you want to get a better job, write exactly what company you want to work for and the position at that company that you desire. Explain who you need to know in order to make certain requests and to become a “known quantity” to the hiring committee. Split the goal of getting a new job up into 20 goals, order them in sequence, and make the first goal your current goal.
If you want a spouse, write exactly what are the most important traits that you desire, and why those traits will facilitate a long and successful marriage. Your training protocol for getting married will depend on your self-assessment of why you’re not married, and what you could do to increase your likelihood of success. Whatever that program is, conceive of goals as small and performance oriented. Try not to get distracted by indirect goals. For example, if you think that your physical shape is a barrier to finding a spouse, don’t make physical improvement a performance per se. Take on one goal at a time—physical improvement and marriage and career are three different goals, so make sure you don’t build an impossible tower of goals, each more impossible than the last. That’s the opposite of what you want to do. Make goals as small and concrete as possible, and make performance commitments as direct and straightforwardly relevant to your goal as possible.
Make your goal specific, and make it small. You don’t have to write thousands of words, but you should have a distinct image in your mind of specifically what you want, specifically how you’ll measure it, and specifically why you want it.
When you write your goal, make sure that you write at least three sentences—what you want, how you’ll measure it, and why you want it.
5. Turn Your Brain Off
Don’t try to make your discipline as pleasurable as possible. Focus your mind. Get into “badass mode.” Become a machine for the duration of your training program. Achieving goals isn’t about short-term pleasure. It’s about long-term satisfaction. Training won’t be pleasurable. You will be hungry, scared, tired, and you will feel incompetent when you hit the heights of your capacity. But that’s the point.
Work hard on your plan. Have focus. Be diligent. Train like you’re trying to be the best in the world, because that performance to which you have committed is coming at you like a freight train, and you will either shamefully fail or victoriously succeed. Train to win. Put aside the self-love for a season and look at your fate dead in the eyes: “I will change you. I will change my destiny. I will change the rails I’ve been running on for the past decade. It’s time to change.”
Don’t overthink your discipline. Don’t overthink your work. Don’t “change” your training program. Finish it. Finish every workout. Finish every training session. Finish every specific time block you’ve set aside to prepare for your dream-manifesting performance. Whatever you need to do, don’t think about it—just do it. Don’t think. Just do. Do your thinking now, because later, your brain is only going to be telling you one thing:
Quit. Quit. Quit.
It’s not worth it.
Go back to bed.
Do something else.
Do LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE.
Sucks for your brain—it’s not time to think. It’s time to do.
Follow this five-step plan, and I guarantee that you will crush your goals.