1/4 Of A New Year’s Resolution

TL;DR

  1. Create SMART goals within Stretch Goals
  2. Figure out what you want to Be, Do, and Have
  3. Create 90 Day Stretch Goals within your 1 Year Stretch Goal
  4. Figure out what goals and actions to focus on by asking “what can I do that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”
  5. Create lag measures to track results and lead measures to track progress

Vamonos To The Good Stuff

Year long goals are incredible, and I wish more people made it easy to keep them accountable.

Think about it. Someone says, “I am going to focus more on X, Y, and Z,” and then leaves it at that.

How do you keep them accountable? Heck, how do they even know if they’re progressing?

A combination of Charles Duhigg, Todd Herman, Tim Ferriss, Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, and Stephen Covey can help us out with that.

I promise to keep this short. Otherwise, you won’t have time to pursue your goals (or your New Year’s Eve Alcohol!).

Charles Duhigg

The Format of Goal Setting

Have you heard of SMART goals? Of course you have! We all have. And if you haven’t, here they are anyway:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound/Has a Time-line

And they’re completely the wrong way to set goals. Why?

Because imagine you’re in the gym (It’s New Years, so I can assume you’ll all be ok with this). You’re looking at the weight in front of you and deciding what your goal for the next year will be.

You got it! In the next year, you’ll lift (INSERT INSANE NUMBER)!

You’re feeling motivated, the air around you is rising because you’re on fire, you can smell your own sweat from just imagining yourself working with that weight, and then… pause… “be Realistic…”

When you’re bound to reality, you don’t go much farther. Hence, Steve Jobs’ quote about crazy people doing crazy things.

So instead, create Stretch goals! These are goals big and vague enough to make you wonder how you can feel both inspired and doubtful at the same time.

Which is why they don’t work. If they make you doubtful, all it takes is a bit of reality for you to go, “aww, shucks. I guess I can’t lift 750lb by next year.”

The solution?

BOTH!

Use Stretch goals to escape reality, and then SMART goals to pave a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound path towards your stretch.

Use Stretch goals to escape reality, and then SMART goals to pave a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound path towards your stretch.

For example, my Stretch goal for the next 90 days is to create and launch a profitable productivity course.

Then I even have Stretch goals within it (BOOM STRETCH-CEPTION):

  • Educate myself to an expert level
  • Give a talk to 100 Rutgers students on the topic
  • Speak at 2 Fortune 500 Company branches
  • Get published in an online magazine
  • Get featured in a media stream
  • Interview 10 authors from the books I’m reading

And then SMART Goals within those. To give a super short example of just the educate myself part:

  • Read 21 books on productivity by January 16, 2018, by reading 1 book per day in the morning before the day begins.

Tim Ferris

The Groundwork of Goal Setting

Not sure what to put for your Stretch goals? I get it. Goal making isn’t a cake walk.

Think about it. Choosing a goal is putting focus goggles on for the next however long, giving you the direction you need to progress while asking you to say “no” to almost anything that could get in the way.

This stuff is stressful! Not to mention, even if we’re eager to stick with a goal, that doesn’t mean we know what goal to stick to.

Tim Ferriss, a god among men, is here to save us.

In “The 4-Hour Work Week,” he introduces three words that change the game.

Be.

Do.

Have.

Simply, choose 5 things you want to be, 5 things you want to do, and five things you want to have in the next year. He suggests 6 months. I suggest 90 days. Your call.

Then choose 3 of them (Doesn’t matter how many from each) to pursue.

Choose 5 things you want to be, 5 things you want to do, and five things you want to have. Then choose 3 of them.

He originally said 4, but 3 is 20% of 15, and according to the 80/20 principle you should be choosing the 20% that will give you 80% of the rewards.

That sentence even confused me a bit.

Choose 3, lol!

Todd Herman

The Time-frame of Goal Setting

For how long do 1 year goals inspire you? For me, about a minute.

They’re cool reminders, and incredible compasses, but our high school teachers understand why they don’t work…

Because our teachers could assign us a project due in a month, and we’d still wait 29 days to do it!

There’s no urgency!

Story Break

I went archerying (I’m coining the word) with a friend this week for my first actual break in months.

I told him I’d get three bull’s eyes by the end of the night.

We only had 45 minutes and it was my first time going archerying (It’s a catchy word, isn’t it?).

Spent the whole time testing different shots, angles, and techniques, and was getting close. Then the person in charge of the place came over with two yellow balloons and placed them on the bull’s eyes.

“If you pop the balloon within the next two rounds, you get a prize.”

I only had two rounds left. That’s about 5 minutes. In the 40 minutes before that, I’d hit one bull’s eye.

I was worried, but confident. Everything until this moment was training… Now it was time to apply everything I’d learned (Tell me I don’t sound like I’m straight out of a corny TV show).

I left with a 25% off coupon for my next visit and three bull’s eyes under my belt.

Urgency, thank you.

Back To Todd

That’s why Todd Herman, in his 90 Day Year program, invites us to break our 1 year goals into 90 day goals that can be further broken down into actionable steps.

Break our 1 year goals into 90 day goals that can be further broken down into actionable steps.

Hm… stretch (year) follow by stretch (90 day) followed by SMART (actionable steps)… sounds familiar?

That’s why my stretch goal above is 90 days!

Now, I’m not sure all goals split nicely into quarters, but I do know that quarters work really well. Even now, whatever I pursue I give it a 90 day cap.

Let’s get our game on. Now.

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The Focus of Goal Setting

Not sure how to break your Stretch goal into 90 day quarters? Or even how to turn your 90 day Stretch goal into SMART goals within it?

I get it.

Desire without a clear destination is frustrating. It’s kinda like being in a revved up car, knowing you want to get off the brakes but scared of going in the wrong direction.

So, let’s first map out all the different directions we could go. In accordance with David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” goal setting methodology — Purpose → Outcome → Brainstorm → Organize → Action — after we figure out what our goal is and what it will look like, we brainstorm all the different ways we can get there.

Then, we organize our brain dump.

Then we choose.

How do we choose?

What Gary and Jay call the focus question:

“What is the one thing you can do that will make everything else easier or unnecessary?”

In other words, what’s the most powerful thing you can do right now?

This way, we can shortcut the path to our goal by focusing on less but more impactful things!

We can shortcut the path to our goal by focusing on less but more impactful things!

So:

  1. Figure out the stretch goal
  2. Brainstorm all the possible SMART goals
  3. Use the focus question to choose the most impactful one(s)

Stephen Covey

The Execution of Goal Setting

I can see you now. Glowing in your own determination, as you should be. You’ve decided on your inspiring stretch goal, divided that into smaller stretch goals, and then even created SMART goals for each to ground yourself.

Success is literally in your hands. JUST GRAB IT!

But make sure it doesn’t slip in between your fingers, especially not after all of that.

To make sure success is yours, let’s listen to our old friend, Stephen.

In Stephen Covey’s “Four Discipline’s of Execution,” he introduces the idea of lag and lead measures.

Lag measures are the things you’ll see when the goal is over.

Lead measures are the things that get you to the goal.

There’s a lag between now and when you see the results of your efforts (LAG measures), and lead measures LEAD the way!

There’s a lag between now and when you see the results of your efforts (LAG measures), and lead measures LEAD the way!

To make your SMART goals measurable, and your New Year’s resolutions finally accountable, give each SMART goal a lag and a lead measure.

A lag so you know the result you’re leading towards.

A lead so you can track the action step that will best get you there.

For example, for my course, one of my SMART goals is to have collected 100 responses to a survey by January 12th at 9PM.

The # of responses is my lag measure.

Then, to get me there, I’m tracking how many calls I make a day.

The # of calls a day is my lead measure.

As long as I make enough calls, which I can now track, I should hit my goal# of responses!

And now you can, too.

Let’s make this year make last year look like a joke!