The Puzzling Resistance to Goal-Setting and High Achievement

High achievement isn’t based on talent, at least not talent alone. (This is good news for us mortals who may possess some skills, but by no means in copious amounts.) No, the highest achievers are great at execution and improving their skills through practice; they excel at stretching themselves and reaching ever-loftier goals.

Below, I’ve captured the basic construct of a goal-setting framework that I’ve found works for me. This is a proven recipe for achieving success through intentional goal-setting and rigorous follow-up. Most people understand intuitively how it works, but only a very few have the discipline to do the work and follow through. Yet it turns out the very highest achievers in the world in any field (business, sports, academics, etc.) have some version of this at work in their lives.

I struggle with this every single day. It’s a puzzling fact – the actions I need to take are within my power to define and then do – yet there is huge internal resistance to breaking down goals into individual steps and actually doing them. Why is it so hard to be disciplined, especially when I’m the primary beneficiary? I don’t know the psychology behind that dilemma, but it’s a problem that deserves attention. To that end, I found the process became a vastly different experience when I identified and invited an accountability partner into the mix – someone who will check in with me (and I with them). We periodically meet and give each other permission to ask probing and sometimes uncomfortable questions about our progress toward our goals. Since I know that conversation is coming, it helps me stay on track.

Here is the framework I find works for me (borrowed from Rick Houcek):

Set 3 impossible goals for 2019.  A goal should include, at minimum, 6 critical components.  It must…

(1)  Be written and read daily, preferably first thing in the morning.  (Don’t trust goals to memory.)
(2)  Be written with a clear, specific description of the end result you want, with a M/D/Y deadline for completion.  (Example:  I will have learned, mastered, and performed 3 jazz piano pieces by Dec. 31, 2019.  Or… I will be able to communicate fluently in German … both speaking and writing… having completed 3 home-study courses of graduating difficulty, with a grade of B+ or better in each, by Nov. 15, 2019.)
(3)  Include a precise, written plan of action, with M/D/Y due dates for each action step.  (This is a hard step – requires creative mental energy.)
(4)  Include clear, written benefits to you for achieving the goal.  No, this isn’t selfish, it just means you expect and require a personal payoff (or you’ll lose interest). There’s nothing wrong with that.
(5)  Include a written list of possible obstacles or ‘what could go wrong’, along with contingency actions for each obstacle, in case it happens.
(6)  Include your signature.  Yes, treat this as a contract with yourself to make sure your head, heart, and soul are enthusiastically engaged.
Then, let nothing stand in your way.  As tennis star Venus Williams has said,”I don’t focus on what I’m up against.  I focus on my goal and I try to ignore the rest.”

Author: johnny88keys

Optimistic idea enabler mindfully seeking rapture

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