You are setting the wrong goals — instead do what the PRO’s do
You probably set goals such as "get fit", "lose weight", "quit this bad habit", and "learn a language".
These are all terrible, terrible goals to set.
First, they're not specific (they're vague) — but that's not even the worst of it. The second — and the main issue with these — is that they are result-oriented.
"Result-oriented" is bad.
Now, that might be surprising to you if you've ever scanned through job postings where "result-oriented" seems to be the main buzzword. So you might think this is the right thing to strive for.
I've written about why instead of being result-oriented you should strive to be process-oriented some time ago. So, this article is not about that issue per se (even though it overlaps quite a bit) but rather about how to properly set goals.
Setting goals such as "learning a language" is a result-oriented goal. A process-oriented goal would be something along the lines of "I study Thai every morning at 5:45 for at least 30 minutes."
The key is to essentially "forget" about the result i.e. the goal and just do the thing. Because if you do the thing, the result will come – guaranteed.
This idea is quite well explained in the early chapters of "Atomic Habits" by James Clear, so if it's something that spikes your interest, I recommend checking that book out.
Worrying, dreaming, and fantasizing about the result will only cause more anxiety and erodes your motivation. It seems so out-of-reach. That contrasts with the "just do the thing" mantra that is simple and completely in your control. You either do the thing or don't do it. Up to you.
You should still every once in a while reflect if you're going in the right direction. Reflect upon questions such as "Am I doing the right action?", "Should I do the thing longer or less?", "Am I doing it in sufficient frequency?" etc.
You're like a captain of the ship. You set the trajectory but you don't micro-manage the ship every second — instead, you check on the direction every now and then and make adjustments if necessary.
So how do you get e.g. really fit?
Set yourself a goal to just do some kind of exercise every single day no matter what and do that for at least 2 years and you got it. Don't worry about how long should the session last, which exercises should you do and all that. These will straighten themselves out over time almost automatically if you just start doing the work.
Most beginners put too much focus on the techniques and methods and end up not doing the very thing that actually matters - The Work!
Again, over time the details will sort themselves out easily.
This has been my experience.
So, don't worry about the end results, don't stress over the best most efficient ways, just do the things every day and make it a habit. Before you realize it, the result is there.
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