Goal-Achieving for Dummies

I have reviewed endless templates and examples of goal-setting.

There is quite a bit of variance among experts on the best way to approach goal-setting. And a brief survey of different pieces of advice well make anyone nauseous.

I will give you my personal system that works for me:

I believe in micro-steps. And, I work on a 7/30/60/90 day model.

First, I isolate my big goal. For example, I'm finishing a book by the end of the year.

Second, I determine what the micro-steps are to getting to that finished goal. This is a brain dump of many small steps that need to be taken. The important part of this process is not to think about stages. For example, I would write down a list in a stream of consciousness but not think about whether some of the items will happen early, in the middle, or at the end of the process. The goal is to get thoughts down on paper at a frenetic pace. This is NOT a period of reflection or judgment. This is a 400 meter sprint where you should be gassed by the time you cross the finish line.

Next, I let this list sit for 24 hours. I don't touch it. I don't let anyone else look at it. I just let it simmer on the stove.

My next step is to then go down the list and number the micro-steps from beginning to end. This process requires a pencil because this is where you will start to think about whether or not finding a publisher or writing an introduction should come before or after the other.

Let’s be real: You’re going to get a lot of these steps out of order. Don’t sweat it. Keep it moving. Always cheat on analysis by sleeping with action.

Next, I jump into Google Calendar. I have certain days and times blocked off for personal work. In those periods of time I identify one micro-step that I can do in an hour or two-hour sitting.

Next I go to work. During my work sprints, I turn off WiFi and put my cellphone on airplane mode. At the end of 7 days, I judge the progress on my micro-steps. Press repeat for 30, 60 and 90 days.

What is critically important about the 90-day check-in is that you should view it as a quarterly report on yourself. I write a report as if I am a publicly-traded company (NYSE: DKR). The quarterly report is a brief rundown of wins and losses for the quarter as well as how I delivered compared to the projection that I set for myself. This process requires brutal honesty. I ask myself the following questions:

Would I buy my own stock?

Would I take a short or long position on my stock given the progress that I’m making.

Do I need to recruit additional investors and/or advisors to help in the process?

The approach that I outlined above has helped me to get an NFL coaching job while studying at Harvard Law School, gain admission to HLS after getting wait-listed four years, and write a book in just under eight months. I hope you have some success with the process.

And don’t forget, NEVER TRUST THE PROCESS. Always be critical of the data that you are creating and constantly ask yourself is there a way to do it better.

And if you find a better way, let me know.

Daron K. Roberts is a former NFL coach and founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation at the University of Texas.

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