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Nothing is more frustrating than setting a massive goal and not coming close to achieving it. Writing goals down can feel as likely as coming true as getting a visit from the tooth fairy. You need a better method for your goal setting.

One of the worst things you can do is set goals with no real process behind them. Its the daily process that leads to success, not just thinking of achieving something great. Million of people get up everyday thinking they can be tremendous, but few accomplish it.

“All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.” —Orison Swett Marden

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Why You Need to Engage in Goal Setting

First, the argument needs to be made for setting goals because some don't believe in it at all. The case against goal setting is that it makes no difference.

For example, let's say you had to bet on one of these two people. Person A has a goal of losing 20 pounds, and that's it. Person B has no intention of losing 20 pounds, but they plan to intermittent fast and do an hour-long weight room circuit each day. Who would you bet on to lose weight?

Most people would choose the person with the process over the one with the goal. The reason is that a target on its does not have much power. A process on its own still has a lot of power. 

For example, let's say you had to bet on one of these two people. Person A has a goal of losing 20 pounds, and that's it. Person B has no intention of losing 20 pounds, but they plan to intermittent fast and do an hour-long weight room circuit each day. Who would you bet on to lose weight? 

The Reason Goals + Habits Are Not Enough On Their Own (Habit - Goals - Mission )

Let's say you decide to forget about goals and focus on the process through your habits. In theory, you can't lose this way, but you actually can. There is a downfall to only trying to have habits.

The problem with daily habits is the fact that you can run out of purpose with them. It's not easy to read every day and see no benefits for two years. Goals help you to remember what you're working for.

Mission - Goals -Habits 

Naturally, you have a hierarchy to success, and it starts with your singular mission. You need to know what that thing is that you want to accomplish on your death bed. 

The mission is the one thing you want to accomplish in your life, and it will set the direction for all of your goals and habits. Your purpose should be grand and seem almost unattainable because it will take an entire lifetime to achieve. 

Your goals fit into your mission. 

  • 50-year goals
  • 40-year goals
  • 30-year goals
  • 20-year goals
  • Ten-year goals
  • Five-year goals
  • Two-year goals
  • One year goals
  • Six-month goals
  • One month goals
  • One week goals

Goals make more sense with a mission because they help to break down a large target. You should always know if you're on track to your purpose based on your goals. 

Lastly, your habits fit into your goals. As mentioned above, the patterns are the process, but now they are powerful because you see the direction that they will move you in. Goal setting matters more when your habits are long term and need purpose. 

Everything comes together much smoother this way. Your daily actions are repeated to make it systematic to reach your goals. As you continue to reach new levels of goals to you, keep adjusting your habits to keep up your momentum. 

The problem with daily habits is the fact that you can run out of purpose with them. It's not easy to read every day and see no benefits for two years. Goals help you to remember what you're working for.

Building Habits to Support Your Goal Setting

Here are three key strategies you can adopt to make it easier to build your habits successfully. Each time you follow through and get one of your habits done, you get a tiny bit closer to your dreams.

The flip side of that means that if you don't get your habits done, you get a step further from your goals. You must implement these strategies to give yourself the best chance of success.

Stack Habits

Habit Stacking is when you use a habit as a cue to begin another habit. For example, let's say that you are brushing your teeth; you always drink a tall glass of water. Then following that, you start making breakfast. That is a habit stack with three habits. 

Habit stacking works because you can get through your habits in a much more efficient way. Typically you rely on triggers for habits. For example, you may only work out if its a beautiful day, and you feel lazy. That is not effective because not every day will bring those triggers. 

But if you build your workout habit off of the practice of finishing work, you will be just fine. At least five days a week, you have to finish work at some point, and that will trigger your workout. 

Habit stacking also allows you to get through the habits quickly. If you get up an hour earlier than usual, you can get six different 10-minute habits done. 

  • Wake up 
  • Brush teeth and wash face
  • Read
  • Meditate
  • Do Push-Ups and Sit-Ups 
  • Stretch 

Then you can start your day as you usually would. What's great about this method is that you can start each day in the most productive way possible. 

Build Environment for Success

When you have habits that you want to do, more of you need to make them more accessible. For example, if you're going to run more, out your running shoes front and center. 

If you want to eat more fruit, then put the nut on the counter. If you're going to do a better job of cleaning, put cleaning products all-around your house. 

The same is true if you want to do less of something. Move it out of sight. If you're going to watch less TV, put your TV out of sight. If you want to avoid playing video games, unplug it and store it in the closet. 

What you want to do more of needs to be near and what you want to do less of needs to be far away. You will design your environment to win if you do this. 

Track Your Habits 

The last thing you need to do is track your habits. You can use our app Habit Stacker or any other habit tracker that you choose. 

Think about trying to lose weight but never getting on a scale? How would you know where you are or how much weight you need to lose? 

The same is right with your habits. How do you know if you're getting your habits done or not if you're not tracking your habits? 

When you track your habits, you mark down each day whether you made your habit or not. The more data you collect, the easier it is to make smart adjustments that keep you on the best process towards your goals. 

Habit stacking works because you can get through your habits in a much more efficient way. Typically you rely on triggers for habits. For example, you may only work out if its a beautiful day, and you feel lazy. That is not effective because not every day will bring those triggers. 

Conclusion on Goal Setting

Goal setting is essential, but it can't stand on its own. You need a mission to give your life an over-arching purpose. It would help if you had goals to break down that large mission, and you need habits for your daily activities.


Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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