The one simple thing that will make an achiever of you

We were somehow surprised but also intrigued to find out that we, the creators of “GoalBuddy”, are not the only two trying to come up with the best approach to success.

Today we will tell you the story of two friends. It somehow resembles ours which made us think that people are not so different after all. There is definitely some common denominator when it comes to being good at reaching your goals. Wouldn’t you be interested in finding about it!

A wager between two friends (but not us)

They were regular guys who were so busy in their lives that they never had the opportunity to do those things they loved.

One of them had a passion for painting. He was frustrated by the fact that he simply couldn’t find the time for it. One day his friend jokingly suggested a wager.  The proposition was to do some painting in the span of a month. But he also insisted that if the condition is not met the other person, the “painter”, would also lose some money.

The challenge was accepted. They easily agreed on the details such as how many drawings, 3D designs, the exact date to finish it up and how much money.

The month passed, nothing was done and $500 were to change hands. But the friend didn’t want to take it. Instead, he offered help in finding out what transpired.

Analysis

Then the two sat down and brainstormed for a while after which they identified two issues:

  • There were neither strategy nor any idea how long it would take.
  • The focus was on the end result, namely the exact number of drawings, paintings and designs.

Afterwards, they felt they should give it another try now that they knew what went wrong.

A second bet

They left $ 500 to hang until the next month when it would be “all or nothing.” The painter would either get everything done or lose a total of $ 1,000.

This supposedly would have made him even more motivated.

And he was. He first did some research on the topic of goal setting and chose to follow the SMART[1] model. Then he formulated its objective to be specific, measurable, realistic and with a deadline. He correctly estimated the number of days needed to get the assignment done. He did everything by the book.

And he made it this time around – he got his money back. And yet, there wasn’t any satisfaction whatsoever in either of them at that moment.

A second round of analysis

This emotional aspect puzzled them but also made them dig in deeper. They discussed at length what happened. They found out that success came thanks to a systematic approach. But then why they had this feeling of bad aftertaste? “What, if any, went wrong?” they wondered.

Eventually, but after detailed scrutinizing of the emotional dimensions, the following realization crystalized:

Linking the goal with the end result took away the pleasure from the journey. It wasn’t difficult to complete the work but it wasn’t inspirational either. As the deadline was looming the artist started cutting corners and just didn’t care enough for his drawings. Finishing the work just to get his five hundred bucks back was the only thing on his mind.

And since for him painting was a hobby, something supposed to be a priori fun and enjoyable, the sloppy work and lack of artistic commitment had made the whole thing quite an unpleasant experience.

There should be a better way, right?

A third, fourth, … tenth round of analysis

The two friends continued experimenting. They went on for a while struggling through several methods and programs in search of “the holy grail” – how to succeed and at the same time feel good about it. They had some positive outcomes and eventually, they synthesized a formula that performed best.

And here is the most interesting part – they came to exactly the same understanding as ours and on top of that they did it independently from us.

Identical conclusions

Like us, they understood that in order to be effective, to progress, and to enjoy the process, they needed two types of goals. One is big and more ambitious with a deadline further in the future, while the other is less grand, specific and with a shorter span for execution.

These smaller ones should be organized and defined in such manner as to play the role of stepping stones in getting the big prize.

It’s also wise to set up only a few of them in order not to lose focus. Otherwise, even if one is done, many others won’t be.

And the most important factor:

They needed some guiding principles, a framework within which to get things moving.

All this made us think that people, in general, are not so different after all. There is one thing that makes or breaks anyone’s success.

Our experience

We had to climb a long and steep uphill path under less than ideal conditions in search for how to unlock the secret.

But we got it. The key to it all turned out to be this – an organized and disciplined approach.

The one thing that actually helps is to have a system.

We keep seeing how people, again and again, let the whole process unfold by pure chance and circumstance.

A matter of principle

You may think that it doesn’t quite matter how you go about an objective:  Will it be done in a month, a year or 5; whether you will write it down or not, or how you word it, etc. What’s important for you is that you want it very much. As long as you have this success is guaranteed.

That’s a big-time mistake.

There are laws governing how goals are reached and if you ignore them, then the only thing you get is failure.

Of course, you can try to uncover those rules all by yourself. Instead, we offer you to save time and effort by choosing to use our system.

How “GoalBuddy” was created

We began as many others did – we googled “goals”… And what came back was… SMART again.

However, once we realized its limitations, we’ve decided to research the many more that were out there. We experimented with all kind of concepts and ideas putting to test various tactics and strategies but none was up to the task. We kept running into all sorts of obstacles, from entirely technical to psychological. While we were getting through these we were still gaining some valuable experience.

At the end, “GoalBuddy” was born. By working out all kind of difficulties, we were gradually building up and developing the basic characteristics of our system.

And then all of a sudden everything clicked – there was nothing more to add or remove. We knew we had a set of rules that is as versatile as productive. Here it is.

One type of goal won’t cut it for you

There are dozens of types – 41 if we have to be precise.

Most people though do only one type, namely the one-year period which is right out of SMART.

But if this popular system was that good, then it wouldn’t be having a 94% failure rate, right?

The trouble was with a word starting with letter “R” – realistic, or too “realistic”, too easy, as it turns out when following the SMART. These are goals that aren’t too hard plus you give yourself more than enough time for their completion. They become so routine that, in fact, they are borderline boring. You do them without any enthusiasm just like the chores from your childhood.

But when goals are for their own sake and not about a long-term and higher objective then all you get is this – a feeling that might be pleasant but is as short-lived as the progress is little.

Our solution: only two types will do

After much trial-and-error, we got it right finally. It turned out all you need is two types – one big and few smaller ones. The latter are intermediate goals which are simply the means in reaching the former. Their purpose is to find out what you want and how to get it.

The first type is a long-term – this thing that we call “vision”. It doesn’t have a deadline per se but if you have to set one then do it within the range of, let’s say 25 years.

The second group comprises short-term ones which play the role of strategies for the implementation of the vision. They are very similar to SMART with these three major exceptions:

  • A relatively short period – 90 days;
  • The focus is shifted a bit away from the result and towards the actions;
  • They are all aligned with the vision.

But then we encountered some trickier issues further down the road.

Words are important

Formulating your intended target is essential. It took us a while before we could decide which of the two was better – do we focus on what we do or the bottom line, i.e. the objective itself.

We were painfully aware that you cannot fully control the outcome as well as your actions towards it. What’s the point of “losing 10 pounds in 4 weeks” if at the end you got rid of only 3 or 5 lbs. In either case, you failed to hit the target!

So, we decided that for a given period we wouldn’t bother and worry about the result and pay attention only to the action – “I will go 3 times a week to the gym”. But that wasn’t perfect either, the risk is that you may take it easy and even forget what the whole idea of doing these fitness exercises was.

Our solution: chose your words carefully

We think we found the right balance. Best is to define the goal so that it depends only on you – you make a commitment to act but still get the expected outcome.

It’s a very simple equation of sorts, “I do X with a desired outcome of Y”. The “Y” has this important function of being the feedback to “X” – you either try harder or slow down, all depending on what “Y” is signaling you back. When the quarter is over then you measure the degree of how you performed by the balance established between what you do and the result of it.

Figuring out that was a major advancement but it wasn’t the last roadblock.

Setting up too many goals is a recipe for failure

We wanted to find out the optimal number that we can handle at the same time. Pretty soon we realized that “less is more” was the smart thing to do.

When you set too many, there is no way that you will get them done all. Not only you will skip on some but the rest will be done “so-so”, i.e. far from perfect.

The “magic” number is between three and five

Here is a basic rule – one should apply their effort on 3 goals per quarter, 5 at most. It’s temptingly easy to break it but the consequences are hard to recover from.

Psychological barriers

We named it “the dark side” of achieving. These are worries and fears related to being successful. They vary a great deal – from the fact that you can lose your friends or your ikigai once you realized your dreams.

We did conquer all of these one by one. Let’s list them now.

Our solution: overcoming the dark and finding the bright side

That’s where we came to the benefits of setting goals. We’ve dedicated special attention to the psychological barriers in front of goals setting and developed mechanisms to overcome them. These became an integral part of our system so that it is completely universal and does perfectly well for everyone, regardless of the challenge you may face or what kind of personality you might have.

The hardest part, however, was to overcome the bad stories we sometimes tell ourselves.

Limiting beliefs

These are those self-fulfilling defeatist tendencies that you repeat to yourself which keep pushing you further down in a spiral of low self-esteem and insecurities.

It’s extremely hard to deal with them because they are feelings and it isn’t always possible to handle them with logic only. Quite often you are not even aware of their presence. They might be deeply rooted inside you and thus are impossible to even recognize as something detrimental to you.

Our solution: Exercises for identifying the limiting beliefs

We included in “GoalBuddy” a method how to overcome that. It consists of a number of exercises to first revealing them and then to eliminate them. There will be a dedicated topic in the very near future. So, stay with us.

So, what is this one thing that would allow any person to succeed?

The secret is in the system

Anyone, including you, can accomplish their objectives. It’s entirely up to you.

People who are impulsive in nature usually have partial results as well. They can get it right once, fail on numerous occasions, and ultimately they are clueless about the mechanisms of the process.

Those who use our system will do more than well. We are no exception, it helps us too.

We, just like the two guys from the story we started with, had a breakthrough which led to significant and positive change in all aspects of our lives.

Start using “GoalBuddy”!

We had it built for you to use.

“GoalBuddy” is free, easy to use and so to speak a fast lane towards your success. Every detail is well thought out and based on personal experience. It has incorporated in its structure important social as well as psychological principles.

In case you think it isn’t a perfect fit you can always explore other ones. But it will be great to embrace a proven and effective methodology that will make a difference in how you chose, set and achieve your goals.

And now if you can share with us a comment or two we would greatly appreciate it. Tell us what systems and techniques you’ve come across and what you think of them? Thank you very much! See you soon!

[1] The abbreviation is for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound.

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