7 Secrets To Know About Goals That Will Make You Successful

A typical goal-setting story:

  1. Get motivated.
  2. Read about goal-setting.
  3. Download the latest habit app.
  4. Take action for a few days.
  5. Quit.

But you’re not one of them… or are you?

Don’t worry. We all have been there. It’s not your fault, it’s just the fault of the human brain.

But today, let’s change that.

If you’ve read articles about goal-setting before, you might have come across SMART goals.

It’s a framework which says we should keep Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) goals to accomplish our goals.

Although the framework is useful, it’s not always helpful for all the goals in life. So, let me share with you another method of goal-setting which works wonders.

Micro Habits

So often, when we are all pumped up and inspired to accomplish big goals, we forget about the daily small actions we must take to reach closer to our goals.

Reaching your goals is the result of your habits. So, instead of shooting for a goal, shoot for micro habits and set the criteria for success tiny.

For example, if your goal is to read more books, the big goal is to read a book every week. A “SMART” goal is to read for 30 minutes every day at 8 AM. And a micro habit is to at least read a single page today. Once you finish one page, your next goal is to read another page.

A micro habit reduces the friction of accomplishing big goals, banishes ‘all or nothing’ mentality, and makes the criteria for success small. It lets you take the smallest first step towards your goal in the present moment.

It builds momentum as you build a chain of daily success. It gets you on an upward spiral of feeling good about accomplishing micro habits so you keep the habit streak running.

Behavior-based Goals

There are two ways you can track your progress:

a) Based on your behavior

b) Based on the outcome

An example of the outcome-based goal is hitting a number on the weighing scale. An example of the behavior-based goal is eating a healthy meal.

Focus on the things you can control directly. Yes, you can influence the number on the scale indirectly but to reach that result, you can eat healthy meals, which is directly in your hands.

There is nothing wrong with measuring the outcome but before that, measure your actions.

This way, we can’t blame anyone or anything but take full responsibility for our actions to reach our goals.

Expectations

Aim high, raise the expectations from yourself but lower the expectations from the results. Raising the expectations from yourself is about raising your standards.

It’s important to have self-efficacy (belief in oneself) to reach your goals. But, don’t stretch the difficulty so much that it turns into a false hope syndrome.

Also, don’t rely on results to feel happy. Many times, it takes longer to reach your goals than expected. So, don’t get disappointed. Slow progress is better than no progress. Let the micro habits and behavior-based goals be the source of your pleasure.

It’s good to “shoot for the stars” but so often, we raise the bar of our expectations from result so high only to feel unmotivated if we don’t see the result we want. It may lead to a downward spiral of negative emotions and we may quit altogether.

So, if your goal is to become better at your craft, practice it using a micro habit and track your behavior. Now, repeat that without the need to feel happy with the results. You can aim to be the best but know that it will take time and effort. Have patience and keep performing.

Delay the gratification and don’t expect a good result. As you will perform the daily grind, you will see better results, eventually. But first, you must perform with no expectations.

Flexibility

Sometimes, you don’t know what you really want when you set a goal. You may set a goal to lose the extra pounds and start running. But later, as you train your body more often, you may start enjoying strength training.

Similarly, you may pledge to meditate in the evening but you fail to do so often. Here, you can change the timing and meditate right after waking up when you can make sure to get it done.

So, don’t hesitate to change the direction of your goals or actions. Life is a discovery process. We don’t know who we are and what we want. The only way to find out what you want is to try things out.

It’s also okay to change what you want. You may set a goal to earn more money so you can buy a car. But years after when you have the money, your interest may change and you may no longer want a new car.

So, stay flexible with the approach or the goals. There is no need to be rigid with the goal-setting. But you do need to be resilient, which brings me to the next point.

Resiliency

Being resilient in the age of instant gratification is a tough job.

To become resilient, first, you must have a strong reason for your goals. Do you know the core reason you’re doing what you’re doing?

For example, the core reason to increase your productivity could be because you think there is more to life than work. You may want to spend less time working so you can do other things you want to do in your one and only life.

Another reason could be to do better quality work. You may want to make a greater impact on the world with your work or see better results because you want to thrive in life.

Second, you must practice resiliency in your daily life. Make it a habit to persevere and keep at it until you get what you want.

Take full responsibility for your success. Rethink failure. Take setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve.

Circumstances, obstacles or your environment can’t get in your way because no matter what comes your way, you will never give up.

Long-term View

As much as it’s important to focus on micro habits, it’s also crucial to have a bigger perspective of ‘what’ and ‘why’ of your goals.

Take the time to reflect on a regular basis. Do you short-term goals align with your long-term view? Are you performing the right micro goals? Are you tracking the right behaviors?

Focus on the biggest win by using the Pareto’s 80/20 principle. 80% results come from 20% of your actions. Deconstruct your goal to find out the key habits and the right metrics to measure.

Be intentional with your actions and goals. Don’t do the busy work for the sake of moving in any direction. Educate yourself to move in the right direction.

Your long-term vision doesn’t have to be realistic. A fulfilled life is more about striving than achieving. You will get hedonically adapted to achievements but you will always find meaning in life when you strive for more greatness in life.

Also, don’t worry if you have too many items on your bucket list. Have a long-term vision and think about what you want to do now and what you can do later in life. You don’t need any more tactics to accomplish your goals except the next (and last) one.

Focus

Success is not complicated. It’s rare because it takes relentless focus towards the most important thing in life to reach the top.

You have all the distractions in the world. Things like internet, news, social media, people, events, ‘busy’ work, food, shopping, entertainment, etc. try to steal your focus.

It has become an art to protect your vision from such distractions.

To stay focused you can:

  • Reflect on your goals daily and weekly
  • Put reminders
  • Block the calendar
  • Write down your goal and habits
  • Write a “not to do” list
  • Set accountability (personal, friend, community or coach)
  • Set stakes — punishment or reward (Do it in the beginning but ultimately, become intrinsically motivated)

Another category of distractions are the ones that look healthy on the surface but can take your focus away from your number one goal. Unlimited information (books, blogs, podcasts, courses), other goals in life, too many ideas are the examples of such distractions.

Lifelong learning is your best friend but you should know what to choose, what to skip, when to fast forward and when to slow down according to your current knowledge.

You may also have other ideas or goals in life you want to accomplish. You can pursue 2–5 goals at the same time if the goals are not difficult or if they lie in different categories. For example, you can lose weight and succeed in your career at the same time.

But for difficult goals, you must choose one at a time in your life. This is where the Follow One Course Until Success (FOCUS) principle comes in.


Goal-setting is much like planting a tree.

First, you want to set the intentions, which represents planting the seeds.

Then, you want to water the seeds, which means taking action. When it’s time to take the action, be a hero and silence the lizard brain and the chimp mind.

Last, you want to put your energy into the action which represents sunlight. Taking action is not enough. You must put in your focus and effort into the task. This is why it’s so important to manage your energy on purpose so you can give your best when it’s time to take the action.

Over to you. Go, take the first micro step towards your biggest goal now.

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How I dealt with burnout and felt alive again in just one day

I woke up late. Very late.

I was stressed. My cortisol level was high. I had work to do early morning.

I pulled out my journal. I quickly wrote about the things I was grateful for, my focus for the day and an affirmation.

I sat down to work. But something didn’t feel right.

I was feeling overwhelmed. I was exhausted due to work and some people in my life. I felt it was time to hit the pause button.

So, I did it. I dumped all the plans for the day. I postponed my to-dos to other days, and I plugged off from work.

I decided to take a super tiny vacation.

I call it as “Solitude Holiday”.

For the full day, I spent time by myself.

It was the day of rehabilitation and rejuvenation.

I got up and went outside. On a normal day, I would listen to a podcast or audio while walking. But this time, I engaged all my senses and went on a walk.

I noticed the small things I would take for granted. I noticed the trees shedding off its old leaves, the chirping of the birds, the carefree playfulness of a child, and the sunshine hitting my eyes and skin.

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I came home and instead of weight training, I did a stretching session while listening to podcasts.

I made myself tea and paid attention to my thoughts.

I decided to think one thought at a time. It’s hard to do so in the world of internet and social media where we switch from thought to thought so easily. Every notification, social media page, headline, discount coupon and what not, make us quickly shift our attention.

I actively meditated and observed my thoughts without judgment. I noticed that most of my thoughts were useless. And that’s okay.

It becomes a problem when we give a useless thought the attention it does not deserve. Such thoughts try to fool our mind and pretend to be important but they’re not.

Then, I made myself a nutritious breakfast after fasting for twenty hours. After eating, I did some digital declutter, watched informative videos and read for a while.

In the evening, I watched some comedy videos and a nature documentary before going to the final part of my day.

While listening to relaxing music, I did a value and direction check in my journal. I checked if I was living a life true to myself. I checked if I was actively creating my future.

With that, I finished the day and went to bed under a warm and cozy blanket. I smiled, felt grateful and drifted off to sleep.

The next day, I was fully recharged. The cycle of creating, serving, learning, reflecting and recovering was back on.


So often we forget to hit the pause button. If you want to consciously design your life in the right direction, you have to listen to your mind and body.

For me, “Solitude holiday” works wonderfully. Every vacation does not have to be weeks or months long. Find out what works for you and make it happen when you need it.

When you feel out of focus or out of sync with life, hit the pause button. You’ll come back stronger and smarter.

“People seek retreats for themselves in the country, by the sea, or in the mountains. You are very much in the habit of yearning for those same things. But this is entirely the trait of a base person, when you can, at any moment, find such a retreat in yourself. For nowhere can you find a more peaceful and less busy retreat than in your own soul — especially if on close inspection it is filled with ease, which I say is nothing more than being well-ordered. Treat yourself often to this retreat and be renewed.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.

How to fall in love with the daily grind, achieve anything and enjoy each day of your life

Five years ago, I wanted to get fit.

So, I joined a gym. I paid the membership price and I was ready to rock and roll.

I was excited. I imagined how my body will transform in a few months.

Day one was fun. I gave my full effort and felt like a superhero.

The next day was painful. My body was sore and I didn’t want to go to the gym. But I used my willpower and went to the gym anyways.

The next day was even more painful. So, I rested before another day of workout.

When I went to the gym next time, things were different. It wasn’t that “fun” anymore. I didn’t feel like a superhero.

I hated working out. I even hated the thought of going to the gym. After a few weeks, I quit the gym.

This is the story of so many people who want to start something new in their life with enthusiasm but quit after losing motivation.

Today, I’m more fit than ever before. I’ve been working out for four years. Training my body is part of my life and I truly enjoy it.

I’m sure you have at least one thing you love doing. It could be anything – writing, programming, designing, marketing, drawing, singing, playing an instrument, cooking, etc.

Others may find it hard or boring but you can’t imagine your life without it. So, what’s the difference here?

The difference is that when you intrinsically start to enjoy something, it becomes easy for you to keep doing it. You don’t have to use your willpower to keep doing what you love doing.

When you start something new, you may not instantly like doing it. You will go through the hard parts and you may get the urge to quit.

At this stage, you will need a carrot or a stick. It means you can maintain discipline either using a reward (carrot) or a punishment (stick). If someone or a group can keep you accountable, it will help you to keep pushing even when you hate the process.

This is where all the coaches, challenges, reward system or fancy apps can help you to grind when the time is tough.

But you can’t rely on these systems forever. You have to fall in love with the behaviors to make it part of your life. When you do things out of love, you will enjoy your life and improve at the same time.

So, here’s how you can become intrinsically motivated for anything you want to do in life.

Edward Deci and Richard Ryan created a system for intrinsic motivation and called it as Self Determination Theory. There are three parts to it – Autonomy, Competency, and Relatedness.

In his book Drive, Daniel Pink talks about a similar theory. He calls the drivers as – Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose.

Both theories are similar. On combining both of them, we have four key drivers of intrinsic motivation:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose
  4. Relatedness

Autonomy

Autonomy is freedom. It’s when you are free to do things your own way.

After learning about the essentials of working out, I designed my own workouts. I loved planning my workouts as it gave me the freedom to train my own way.

Now, I’m doing same with writing. I’m writing about the topics I want to write about. I’m learning how to write great, engaging content but at the same time, I’m writing for myself during the writing process. The editing process is when I think about you (the readers).

Allow freedom in your work. Take ownership, break the norms and do things your own way.

Mastery

We all love to do excellent work. When we notice progress and see positive results, we don’t want to lose it.

Few months after working out, I didn’t only work out to gain muscles or lose fat. I got inspired from people doing calisthenics. They had mastery over their body so I aimed to master my own bodyweight. Later, I also went into weight training and other types of fitness mastery (balance, speed, mobility, flexibility, etc.)

You got to have something you can aim for. If you don’t enjoy running on a treadmill, find a physical activity you can master to see your progress.

As I’m working on my writing skills, I’m writing and learning about it regularly. I don’t want to be an average writer. I want to master the craft. Every time I write, I compete with my previous writing piece.

So, track your behavior or skill, make your progress noticeable and aim for mastery.

Purpose

The purpose acts as a fuel for your soul. When you have a strong purpose, quitting is not an option. Why are you doing what you’re doing?

The reason I workout is that I want to look and feel good in my body. I want to use my body to the best of my ability. I want to live a long, lively life while avoiding diseases.

The reason I write is that I want to express myself and make a positive impact in your life. I want to make the world a better place because I was here. To reach you, I have to master my craft.

The purpose behind your goal can be meaningful or it can be purely for joy and inner peace. To dig down your deep purpose, ask yourself “why” as many times as you can until you find the core meaning. Once you find your purpose, remind yourself on a regular basis to stay driven.

Relatedness

Human beings are social animals. We all know that. Yet, so often we try to become a lone wolf. We all need a sense of connection and belonging. A community or a few friends can provide the love and support you need to achieve your goals.

In an online age, it is much easier to find a community of like-minded people for any goal you want to achieve. If you can’t find like-minded close friends in your surroundings, make online friends through communities. Follow people who are leaders in your area. They can act as virtual mentors for you. There is a blog for every niche out there.

Connect with people, provide help, ask for help, get inspired, give and take feedback. Do anything it takes to find like-minded people but don’t go alone.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – African Proverb

When you accomplish goals with other people, you will not only enjoy the process but you will create an environment of continuous growth.

Conclusion

If you want to succeed and enjoy the process, you need more than a carrot or a stick. Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose, and Relatedness will help you to develop intrinsic motivation. Fall in love with the daily grind and enjoy each day of your life.

Are you hustling or becoming a workaholic?

 

I have always been a hustler.

As a kid, I used to hustle in video games and now I hustle as a lifestyle entrepreneur.

If you’re reading this post most likely you’re kind of a person who is driven to hustle. If you have any kind of project, activity, blog or business that you dedicate a portion of your life to, then you may have the badge of a hustler.

While most people look for easy methods to chill for time pass, we, on the other hand, learn, create or work on our passion project. The downside of being a hustler is that it’s easy to burn out and become a workaholic. Here are few ways you can avoid the trap.

1. Break your work activities into different categories

Entrepreneurs have a lot to learn, manage and do. We may have to take up different roles like content creation, designing, programming, copywriting, marketing, selling, networking and many other small tasks that depend on the type of business and size of the team.

Find out the activities that you truly enjoy. Some activities must recharge you while others may drain your energy. It’s going to be different for everyone. For example, in my business, I love the part of planning, researching, learning, and writing. These activities charge me up. On the other hand, recording, editing, copy-writing, marketing, selling are some of the tasks that I have to learn and do but they suck the energy out of me.

Find what activities charge you and what activities drain you. Once you’ve identified these activities, you can either delegate them to someone else or you can keep learning and practice to become better at it. You’ll find out that once you get better at something, you’ll start enjoying it more and those activities will start to take up lesser energy from you.

The reason behind this phenomenon is related to Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s flow model. If you’re not familiarized with the concept, let me explain in short. Flow is the state of mind when a person is fully immersed in an activity that he/she forgets the notion of time and space.

When you do something that you forget to eat, rest or sleep then you can experience flow. Heck, I’m experiencing flow as I’m writing this post.

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Find out which activities bring flow, control, relaxation, boredom, apathy, worry, anxiety, and arousal for you. Become aware of how these activities are affecting your energy. The low skill, high challenge activities will drain your energy the most. If you increase your skills, however, you’ll spend lesser energy on such tasks.

2. Let go of extra commitments

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years. – Bill Gates

We all take up extra commitments that are not important to us. These activities might be important for other people but you need to learn to say no to extra commitments that are imposed on us by others.

If you have a job that you need to do to pay off your bills then sure, do the work. But sometimes, we give extra commitments to ourselves. We take up more projects that we can handle with a sane mind. We want to be superheroes and do so many things in life.

What we need to realize is that we don’t need to pursue all the projects and commitments today. We can keep some projects that we can do later in life. (As Derek Sivers points out in this article)

You might have some urgent commitments that you can’t let go of. In that case, be okay with the slow progress towards your dreams. Enjoy the journey because the journey is the reward in itself.

Having all that said, be aware of not making the excuse of over-commitment to procrastinate something. If you’re not overly committed, you can definitely sneak in some time to pursue your passion project.

3. Schedule downtime and stick to it

If you have a dedicated time or day when you schedule to wind down and relax, then it will be easier for you to push hard during the work time. You’ll know that the downtime is waiting for you as a reward. Also, you’ll not feel guilty for your downtime.

Another reason why it works is that when you’ll experience deep relaxation and forget about work, you’ll crave to go back to work with full energy and enthusiasm.

Go. Put the downtime on your calendar. Don’t skip it. Don’t feel like you’re wasting your time. See it as recovery time which will only increase the quality of your work once you get back to it.

4. Spend time on your health, fitness, and relationships

Your emotional and mental well-being is the source of your energy. If you want optimal performance at work, you need to keep your mind and body in shape.

There’s a ton of evidence pointing out the benefit of proper nutrition and physical movement on cognitive function, memory, critical thinking, etc. You can easily boost your intelligence with nutrition and exercise.

Similarly, relationships in your life play a huge role on your emotional state. If you have toxic people around you, their negative energy will poison you. On the other hand, if you have people in your life who inspire, motivate and bring energy to you, then it will translate into your work.

If you can’t avoid some toxic people then try to minimize interaction with them or give them less power to influence you by their words or actions.

5. Diversify your inspiration source

Words and music have immense power to influence our mood and motivation. When you need the inspiration to hustle hard, then you can tune into to some of Gary Vaynerchuk videos, read productivity articles, listen to motivational music and so on.

When you switch to your downtime, close all hustle and bustle. Take inspiration from anyone in your life who can relax with no worries of past or future.

Relaxation is an art. Find activities that you absolutely love doing and do them often. Keep in mind that some work related activities can be relaxing too. But make sure to have some activities that are not related to work or money. It will make your life more diverse.

If you can’t enjoy life without work, then what’s the point of working to gain freedom in your life?

Even when you’re at work, you should enjoy most part of your hustle.

Lifestyle design is now. It’s not on the other side of ‘success’.

Happy hustling.