The trouble with goals is how often we give up on them, and how easy they are to give up on. There are as many discarded goals as they are conference lanyards and corporate mugs.
Goals fail us because they usually focus on outcomes, extremes, and what is concrete.
Outcomes: We set outcome-based goals because of something we want to happen. I want to lose weight to look good for that trip to the beach.
- Of course, the trouble is that we can’t control outcomes. We can only control inputs.
Extremes: We set extreme goals believe they’ll get us out of bed. I signed up for that marathon so I would get training.
- Extremes lead to injury as often as they lead to long-term health. And if you do cross that finish line, chances are you hang up your sneakers.
Concrete: We set concrete goals so we know when we’re finished. I’m going to read 25 book this year.
- Once the concrete goal is finished, you lapse back into lackluster.
Instead of goals – try setting rhythms. You can decide today to do one thing. You can decide again tomorrow. String together two dozen tomorrows and you won’t just be a finisher, you’ll be a healthy person.
Your default this year will be do to again what you did last year. The way to change that is to make a 35 degree difference today.
And if doing one 35 degree thing today feels small, it is. But today’s decision is the only thing we ever had control over. You cannot decide today what you will do in six months. But you can decide today to start becoming the sort of person who is in the habit of doing.