Got an email from a reader who has about 30 goals. They're all good. But he's wondering how he can do them all. My reply:
So, your goal - anyone's goal - is basically to get the most success you can as quickly as you can in the way most suitable/enjoyable to you, right?
I ask because that's pretty obvious, you probably want to do that. But you've got a lot of goals, and some of them are quite big and significant.
What I've found is trying to change 10 things at once - and have big changes that'll take years to complete - is not the the best way to get the most success as quickly as possible in the most suitable/enjoyable way.
Rather, I look to have a 70% success rate on a weekly basis. So I set some goals each week and try to execute on them. If I succeed above 70% (do everything perfectly) I add something new or increase difficulty the next week.
If I fall short - only doing 1 out of 5 that week - I scale back to what's most important, and try to succeed at 70% the next week.
I've found trying to improve 30 things at once is a great formula for falling off a cliff and getting nothing done.
70% success rate. So pick, like, 2-5 things. Set some objectives with them. Try to succeed at 3-4 out of 5 in a given week. If you're succeeding higher than that, increase difficulty or add more, especially once your goals are stable/habitual/almost-automatic.
If you're below that, SUBTRACT SOME STUFF AND FOCUS ON THE MOST IMPORTANT.
I don't know, maybe other people work differently, but I think 70% is a good number. It means you're always stretching and not too comfortable, but you're also succeeding more often than failing. It's been the best rough spot I've seen for a mix of constant improvement and motivation. 100% success rate can lead to complacency or setting goals too low, get too far below 50% and it hoses motivation.
So yeah. You want to wake up at a set time, do a morning routine, etc? Aim for 70%. If you're hitting a 0% success rate, then scale back to something easier.
Paradoxically, it actually takes more discipline to do this, to really drill down and focus on something and actually do it, instead of having a big list of stuff you're not actually doing.
Try it out. Aim for 70%. Adjust accordingly after you play with it, everyone's ideal targets will probably be a little different.
I am a freelance writer/editor who is more motivated by client projects than personal projects. This behavior is frustrating because the primary purpose of my freelance lifestyle is to explore my own ideas and hopefully create something unique and useful to the world. I suspect that my struggle is at least partly founded on an inability to find/create a goal system that is motivational, measurable, and yet flexible. Your 70% idea seems feasible and worth a try. Thanks for sharing.
Ok, we live in a very interesting and fascinating time right now. A lot of things are happening now because we are entering the New Golden Age. People from higher realms have told us that nothing is impossible and we have nothing to be afraid of. Well, we just have to believe that...
...So if you have many goals that you want to acchieve, break them into small piesces and make them come true one by one. I use to think like Plato. When there seems to be too much that one can do, do one thing at a time. Start with one thing and then go to the next step. Step by step and eventually you´ll get there.
70%, eh? My knee jerk reaction to this was to say "too low". I've typically targeted 90%. But as I stop and reflect I think 70% is actually a reasonable target.
A former employer used 90% as a project management execution target. The presumption was that if you are executing 100% on your projects you are sandbagging your estimates and being risk averse. I think that's fair, and clearly that influenced my targeting.
Obviously personal development is not corporate project management. Succeeding at 70% definitely has better psychological overtones than failing at 90%. I'll try that for my next measured/managed target.
A quick question. how do you make yourself do something productive instead of wasting time? I know I've tried various things, like an alarm clock or making it easy to do productive things, making sure i know what to do, and so on. Is the only choice to just try increasing the odds as much as possible for the future and hope that when the time comes it will work? Is there no way to get to 100 or even 90% success?
I know its not realistic to shoot for that, its better to do the best you can with what you have and work from there, but I'm wondering if that end goal can be reached.
Good question. Let me ask you a counter-question:
How do you win at baseball?
The most simple answer is obvious - "Score more runs than your opponent."
You can't control definitively whether you'll succeed or fail, but you do get to set the parameters. The way I live my life, I will either be an big success or a huge failure. There are a variety of potential paths ahead of me, and zero of them lead to comfortable success or minor failure. None of them lead to numb mediocrity.
How do you adjust these parameters? You set goals and accept risks. If you set goals low and don't accept many risks, you have no chance of huge success or huge failure. You'll end up somewhere in the middle. Maybe you'll end up a bit better off than you expected, or a bit down on your luck, but you'll be somewhere in the range of "fine". On the other hand, you can set extremely high goals, leave yourself no reasonable plan B, and take massive risks to get those goals. It's the only way you'll even reach them, but you may fall short and crash.
In my case, I've put all of my eggs in the SETT basket. I hope it becomes a huge success that makes me a lot of money, gives me some power to improve conversation on the internet, and all that. At this point I've invested two years of my life into it, with no plans of changing that allocation going forward. I've passed up many smaller opportunities that could have made me money. I do have some money saved up, but it's hard to count it as a backup plan when I know with certainty that if SETT failed I'd use it to start another company and go all in.
I work as smart as I can, I live frugally, and I plan for contingencies-- I'm not reckless, but when a calculated risk presents itself, I'm all over it.