Dave Lovemartin

Goal setting and getting

How to get good at goal getting

last tended: 21.02.2024

Focus on one goal at a time.

Goals need to:

It is important that you set your own goals. Your intrinsic motivation is much more powerful when you have agency over what you work on.

When you set goals, ensure that you are in the same physiological and psychological state that you will be in when you pursue your goals. If it’s a Sunday afternoon when you are on your sofa, it’s not effective to say “I’m going to get up at 5am every morning to go to the gym”.

Spend time to write down and specify your goal defining the actions and the time involved, how long each day/week and a deadline. Break this down into quarterly cycles.

Defining goals in terms of an approach basis can be more motivating than goals defined around avoidance. Defining goals around things you want to do, rather than avoid, are also easier to measure.

Think about where you are now compared to where you want to be. Contrasting these two states can be a powerful motivator.

Imagine the obstacles in the way of your desired future state, use Implementation Intentions to overcome them.

Think about the habits you need to maintain, set up systems and the conditions for success.

Visual reminders can be effective but lose their effectiveness over time. (The brain acts on novely — you can become blind to notifications)

Spending a few minutes using visualisation techniques before you take action can help with motivation.

Visualisation of the positive feelings you expect to feel after you achieve your goal can help you get started.

If you’re still not motivated, visualise failure to activate a more powerful response.

At the start and towards the end of the goal timeframe, motivation will be high. Minimise the time spent in the middle when motivation is low by setting close deadlines.

Pair hard activities with joyful ones. Listen to music for example.

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