As a world-renowned author and entrepreneur, Tony Robbins knows for sure one or two things about how to motivate people willing to fulfill their potential.
Over the course of 35 years of life-coaching, he got convinced that the truly meaningful things in life are to be counted on the fingers on one hand. And when matters of mind and heart are concerned, there are just two impulses: the inner strife to grow and to be of value and service to others.
Very few will find it impossible to agree with him on this. But there is yet another, and often ignored, type of goals which are aimed at something else apart from our dreams. What we have in mind are the so-called maintenance objectives.
Today we will delve deeper into the essence of their role.
But why these two impulses?
It’s far from a coincidence that our inherent stimulus to improve goes hand in hand with helping others.
Increasing our human potential is indispensable because it makes a difference, a positive one, to anything and anybody around us, i.e. family, community, career, etc.
No surprise here that most of our efforts are aimed at this.
Looking for a way to grow and improve
These goals are the usual focal points which we plan our lives around and that is regardless of what type of people we might be in terms of personality and attitude.
It is a demanding process of pursuing such objectives because they are not simply something new and exhilarating but they are also achievable only if we step further away from our comfort zone.
And the predominant number of our aspirations are defined in that exact manner.
For example, reaching as many people as possible and helping them to go after their dreams is what the idea of “Goal Buddy” was all about. But for us pretty much all the steps along the way were a first.
We have never before done a podcast, nor have we blogged in both Bulgarian and English. Workshops were another first for us just like writing a book.
All of the above happened by working out many 90-day goals. We were experimenting with different tactics and approaches until we knew the best way forward.
The results aren’t guaranteed at all
The central characteristic of these growth objectives is that you are not 100% sure how things will unfold or whether and if at all you would be able to hit the bull’s eye.
We were no exception. When we began writing the book we had zero experience and no clue when it would be done. But we were firmly in control of our own actions during several 90-day try out periods. That is exactly the correct aim here and not simply finishing the book.
The energy of a challenging objective
The first thing to appreciate in any endeavor of ours is the energy and conviction it empowers us with.
While on the road to your dream you will be experiencing a great deal of satisfaction in your everyday life with every single step forward, no matter how small.
But sometimes things don’t work out
Of course, no one can claim that their journey is completely free of any turbulence.
Often times you may get to a point when all the advance you’ve managed so far simply disappears because you failed to keep taking care of it.
That’s why we all need to make the effort and dedicate some energy to avoid this.
The circumstances that make that type of goals a must
Let’s suppose that you reached a level of very good progress in regard to your health. You’ve been exercising on a regular basis and already formed the habit.
There are two options – you either have stopped doing it or you want to make sure you will keep doing it.
That’s the moment when you have to lean on the maintenance goals. They are crucial even though they may seem to you as being a bit useless.
Why is that?
Boredom is the short answer
Have you ever heard anyone deciding to make 7-8 hours of sleep their life-long objective?
Let’s be honest! When you are in the thrills of a new undertaking with all its challenges and rewards you must be feeling on the top of the world. While objectives which sole function is to preserve and support the achieved so far can easily become for you tedious and even annoying.
They tend to pile up
Here is a situation to consider. We begin every quarter with our 90-day objectives that are for each important aspect of our lives. We do that for a few years and these goals start transforming themselves into the maintenance type. That’s very likely as well as the feeling that we are doing something forced on us.
If you overdo it for the month with a list of more than a dozen maintenance goals there will be little energy left in you for the new and exciting ones.
The question is then:
Why would we need them in the first place!
Well, not always but from time to time. And only to consolidate and safeguard our progress against a “one step forward, two steps back…”
Here we will bring to your attention three straightforward strategies to keep down the number to its minimum. That contributes well to a purposeful and balanced way of life.
Strategy # 1: Make it a habit
At least one of your 90-day objectives must be for building a habit. That will remove the need of conscious effort in the future, because you’ll always get the desired result automatically.
In that case, it will stop being something always on your mind and you don’t have to specifically organize anything to support it.
The most effective objectives
Good habits have an unsuspected upside.
For example, when exercising becomes your second nature, you have successfully acquired all the “infrastructure” of it.
What we mean by it are things like what time you go to the gym, the type of exercise, the diet, who is your coach, etc. These are some extra skills and knowledge you picked up along the way which you can apply elsewhere to the same great effect.
It may take you a couple of quarterly periods but will pay off handsomely in the future.
Here is the time to bring to your attention the following warning.
Do you really have a habit, or you just assume you do?
Some habits are easier (such as those involving our daily activities), and others are a bit harder (those that cover something we do only once or twice a week).
The foremost criterion for a true habit is that no willpower is needed. You might be under the impression your routine is all set even if you don’t quite follow it at all times. However, if you have to force yourself even in the slightest then you’d better look for another way and rebuild it anew.
Strategy # 2: Let the vision be your guide!
Expand your vision into the direction of what’s important so that you don’t stop growing and improving.
It’s very simple. No long lists to go over. Everything is in the system itself. That’s the way to stay on top of those weekly steps that give you the forward momentum.
When you have a vision, you work on it with 90-day goals through a series of experiments. In the 3-month review of it, you will be able to figure out what you really lack and what is extra. You can either tweak it, rearrange it by dropping what’s unnecessary.
You go through your vision definition to find out if you got off course. If that’s the case then you have to aim at getting back on track.
Strategy # 3 Set up reminders
There is a variety of methods that can be of good assistance to you in staying on top of your game and not clutter the mind with anything of little or no importance at all.
Choose the one that suits you best in keeping the weekly agenda up to date. Niki’s favorite, for example, is “Getting Things Done”® by David Allen. It allows him to run his maintenance goals practically on autopilot.
The idea is to keep the number of tasks down. This will allow you to stay focused and on course with only those things that support and sustain your overall development and growth.
To draw the bottom line
You should never forget that it’s pointless to try to control the end result. It’s smarter to set a deadline for your chosen actions and then grade your performance at the moment of their completion. That is precisely the role of your 90-day goals.
If they did set you in the right direction then you should keep repeating them. Becoming an unalienable part of you will also make them an integral part of your vision. And finally, the last thing left for you to do is not to forget, with the help of reminder app or otherwise, that you have to continue doing them. That will put you ahead and don’t we do it all in the name of getting there!
 Tony Robbins is a renowned American motivational speaker, a personal financial consultant, and self-help literature author.
 David Allen is an American best-selling author and the creator of the highly popular methodology for increasing personal effectiveness – GTD®.