Effective Methods for Goal Setting
Let's talk about things that we usually want to do, right? So the common word for this is goals, we have goals, we have things we want to do, um, things we want to achieve and it's wonderful to have goals, there's a lot of research that says if you have a very specific objective to work for, you tend to achieve it way more often than if you just kind of drift and let whatever happened happened goals are great. One of the challenges is we treat a lot of things in our life that are important as goals when they are actually goals, and if you try to make something the goal, that is not really a goal, you can work on it in a way that actually doesn't get you a very good result or any results at all, right? So the what we're going to do here is really define what is the goal and what are other, some other things that kind of sort of look like a goal but aren't really okay, so what's defined goal here, real quick ah, goal is an achievement, it's something that you can look into the world and ...
say, I have done this and it will remain done forever more classic example, I want to climb to the top of mount everest. Right until you are standing on the top of mount everest, you haven't done it yet. When you are standing on the top of mount everest, you have done it and forevermore you can say I have climbed mount everest that's a goal but it's specific it's concrete it's immediate and it's positive right? So it's something that you have done, not something you haven't done it's something that you could be working on now in the moment instead of some indefinite time in the future it's concrete in that you can see when it's done, when it's not and it's specific it has criteria of what constant it's being done with this thing, right? If it fits that form it's a goal and you can treat it physical now some people have things that sound kind of sort of sound like goals but aren't really goals classic is I want to be successful right? Sounds like a goal I want to work towards the state of being a successful person. You can't treat it the same way, right? Because you can't work on being successful in the same way as you can work on climbing mount everest because climbing out it was like you can book a plane ticket, you can get mountain climbing gear, you khun good start to train their things that you can do to achieve that particular thing being successful is not it's too nebulous, right? But there's something there right there is something that we want to move towards it's something that we can exert effort into making happen more often than not right? So it's a different I think it's not an achievement it's not a goal it's what I call a state of being and where four of those of you following in the book what page is this? Five ok, thirty five so a state of being is not a goal. It's a quality of your present experience that you want to maintain, right? It's a way of looking at your life as you are living it in the moment and being able to ask yourself the question am I experiencing this right now? Right classic? I want to be happy you can look at your present circumstances and answer the question in my feeling happy right now you can look at yourself and say, am I feeling successful right now? In my feeling calm right now, am I feeling secure right now? There's a want there that's important, right? But you don't treat those things as a goal. The way you work with them is you treat them as a decision criteria all right, so all of the things that you're doing let's say, you know happiness is a really great example uh pretty much everybody wants to be happy haven't really met a person in my life who doesn't want to be right so you can say ok, am I happy right now? Um I satisfied right now and all the things that you are doing in the moment are contributing to that state that your feet that state of being right, the things that you are doing are either causing you to have that state of feeling happy or not and if the things that you're doing are helping you maintain that state that you want that's a really clear indication that you probably need to change the things that you're doing. So the sneaky thing about states of being is sometimes they sound really like goals classic extremely common example I want to be a millionaire want to have a million dollars and the question is why? Why do you want to have a million dollars? What does that get you? And when you start to answer that question, what a lot of people are most people say is well, I want to have a million dollars because it helps me feel secure I don't have a million dollars because it helps me feel free you start to you when you really dig into why you want that particular goal or why you want to achieve that particular result, you start to see lots of state of being types of things coming out of the uae, right? And when you start to notice that you could do something really cool, which is, ask yourself the question, are there other things that I could do that will get that will help me maintain this state of being in a way that is faster and way more efficient than potentially going through all the work of accumulating a million dollars, right? Is are there things that you can do to feel secure or feel free right now that you may have not thought of yet? If there are air, then do them and that's pure win, you could see you could start feeling free this afternoon if you really wanted to, right? It's really kind of teasing out when you set a goal, it really helps to ask yourself why? Why is that important? What is what is the pay off? What do you want from that? And a lot of times, you get these state of being type of questions. So what I've noticed is that most people have three to five of these states of being that are really, really core and fundamental to their happiness and satisfaction. Wellbeing, right, there's a priority, there's, a list, some values are more important than others. And so understanding what those things are for you is really helpful, because those are the things that allow you to say toe look at your life as it's going and saying is this is what I'm doing really getting me what I want, right? If it's not, we can change it now third class of things sometimes looks like a goal but often is not and these are habits and a very quick definition is a habit is ah continuous supporting action that delivers benefits overtime classic example here brushing your teeth you could treat it like a goal, but you should probably do it more than once right it's something you do every day it's a little supporting action that the value of brushing your teeth is not necessarily what happens in the moment the value is what it helps you maintain or do over a long period of time, right your brush and floss your teeth your t they're going to be way healthier you are going to be way healthier than you otherwise would be right so the value is in the delivery of the benefits the maintaining a certain state over a long period of time and so habits are super valuable habits are also notoriously difficult to install because it involves changing our behavior lots of really great research books about on this on this topic highly recommend the power of habit by charles do hig as an overview of what habit formation and change really looks like um but the process process of changing our behavior and doing something new, uh, is really important, and it comes back to what we've talked about a couple times the whole idea of guiding structure, right? Change your environment, change your behavior, right? Notice when certain things are or aren't happening, those air called triggers. So, you know, for example, let's say you're already brushing and flossing your teeth. Yeah, you want to start taking vitamins, too? One of the things that really helps you install a new habit is finding something that you already habitually do, just tacking it onto the end of it. All right, so you put your vitamins right next to your toothbrush. So when you brush your teeth, your vitamins are right there and it's really easy to take them, so triggers an end points. When does it have it begin? And when does a habit end? And can you use the endpoint of one habit to trigger another makes it way easier to change your behavior? Does that make sense fundamental division between golden state of being inhabit here's what you do in the preview video for this course? One of the things that I asked everybody in the audience is make a list of all the things that you want to accomplish, what you want to do. In your life and this is an all encompassing list this is personal stuff professional stuff wild and crazy dreams everything is fair game for this list and this is this is actually a practice david allen and his wonderful book getting things done uh calls this a brain dump right? You are just writing down and I recommend taking a notebook um or computer depending on on on what you want to do and usually for the first time this takes about an hour to an hour and a half you write down everything that you ask yourself the question what would I like to do it at some time in my life write what I want to get done everything that comes to mind bigger small doesn't matter it all goes on the list okay and here's what you do with them so and if by the way if if one of the things that you would like to accomplish in your life is not necessarily socially acceptable feel free to burn the list after you've completed this exercise totally cool but everything needs to go on the list. Okay it's write down everything you want to do and then you're going toe work through this list in two ways all right? The first ways you take all of those things on your list and you ask yourself why why do I want this thing? What does it get me sometimes it'll get you what starts off as a goal you'll ask why and it it magically turns into a state of being right I don't necessarily want to have a million dollars in my bank account if I can feel free at the same time right? Sometimes uh you'll find that you want it just because you want it right there's there's no rhyme or reason to it it's just something that you've always wanted to do that's cool because that's probably the end state for that particular thing all right, so you want to make a movie because you want to make a movie that would be totally super cool awesome keep it on the list as it right when you've worked through the list and the six this takes a little while, but this is all really, really good, good, valuable exercise stuff, right? You go through the list again and remember when we were talking about the sneaky way tio, figure out what skill that you should focus on learning right now that our brain doesn't really want to choose things if it feels like it's like we're giving something up, we're going to do the same thing. And so if you want to make progress on achieving your goals, if you want to make sure that you're experiencing states of being if you want to install habits here's what you do you take that list and you go through and you ask yourself the question which of these things are legitimate goal right? What are the achievements? What are the states of being in this list and one of the habits you take that big master list do you split it into three parts one for each then this is what you do you say ok, I can do all of these things at once, so if for right now I could on ly focus on half this stuff well, what I do which one stay and which ones go on to a someday, maybe less not saying I'm never going to do it may totally do it at some point in the future just not right now, okay, cut the list half, then do it again and then do it again and do it again and do it again until you get to three maximum before goals that you're working on at this point time okay, so the point is just like in the skill acquisition stuff where we're trying to concentrate our effort and focus on getting a particular result, you're not going to be able to make very much progress until you concentrate your efforts on just a few goals at a time and we're using this process to really force our brains to figure out what are the things that are going to give us the past the biggest payoff right now what's most important right now right to do that for the goals do that for the state of being list to same thing three four maximum of five states of being that appear to be really corn important right now those become your decision criteria asking yourself questions about what's working and what's not that list will stay pretty stable over time okay, you're states of being a really your states of being they don't change very much the measure would like to know if you put a time limit our duration limit on the list um call it within the next in terms of I think like I think you won't accomplish in the next ten years or something like that you know what? I'm we actually don't have clarification on that whether he means a time limit for completion or a time limit for writing it you can do both okay? So it's okay for completion but let's talk about that as far as like are these things that you know you want to do literally before you die or the next ten years or I recommend doing that before you die part it actually takes longer, but you get some really surprising results from it so you know, that's where I've actually seen some some really dramatic life changes come from people doing this exercise and realizing that, you know, for example um I had a client who one of the things that he wanted to do before he died was visit every continent right so he wanted he wanted to travel around he wanted to see an article he wanted to see africa he wanted to do all these things is like you know what I'm getting older and if I don't make it a priority right now I'm never gonna do it all right so that was something that was like someday maybe far off into the future but not right now is like no no no if I'm going to do this I need to start now and he booked a cruise to antarctica and saw and had a wonderful time right? So yeah do that like really far into the future stuff it really helps um this process will take you about at least an hour hour and a half I had some clients spend four hours productive hours doing this you get really really clear insight that you never had about what it is you really want what is what's important to you so and for this list ailment bride says when you say three things is that overall or they like very drilled down sub goals I mean like you know are you saying learn to play the guitar or are you saying learned to play uh no stairway to heaven right? Yeah um this level would be learned to play the guitar okay then when you decide to make it an active project that you're focusing on right now, then you take the steps to deconstruct tio, start that whole process. But for this process you can you can keep it at a higher level. Thank you, ok, and then you do the same thing to your habits list only here's the key one and only one habit and sold at the time. And you install that habit before you go on to the next. And the reason is what we talked about earlier is will power depletion right? Installing a new habit usually requires using some willpower to change your environment, and that will power is limited resource. So you want to really focus on changing one aspect of your habitual behavior at a time and making sure that's really solid before you go on and do something else, one of the main causes of failure to install a new habit is trying to tackle to many of the same time. And then when you saw that one, you just go to the next one on your list and go from there. Okay? A quick one from keith g should this be done by yourself or with your spouse or both to recommend doing a shared list, I actually, I recommend. Both people doing it individually and then it could be a wonderful exercise to share the results of the so not necessarily the processing because the processing is going to be specific to you, but sharing the results can actually get you some really awesome leaps and clarity and understanding between, you know, what's in important in a partner or spouse um, it can also really, uh, change the way things are done. So I've actually had a number of clients that I have advised over the years who have shared it with their partners and spouses and found support for things that where they didn't expect support to exist, right? So when somebody else understands that something is really important to you for and they understand the reasons why it's important to you, they can support you in the process of going after that particular thing and that's really cool. So, yeah, I highly recommend sharing if you're open to share. So let's go to, um, we'll do one more topic here real quick, and this is actually getting to russia's question about learning speed reading, which is as both a super cool skill, a cz well as there's there's, a broader principle or a broader technique they can you can use to use a similar process to learn or pay attention to pretty much anything, and the idea is prime ing and prime ing is a technique to consciously program your brain to notice relevant information so uh very common example has anybody ever been car shopping and you get really interested in in a certain a certain type of vehicle and you're going around just doing your normal stuff and all of a sudden it feels like the universe is unloaded semi trucks of this particular make and model of this vehicle all over the highway right the universe is playing some big trick on you it's not the cars were always there you just never paid attention to them one of the things that are hind brain in our mid brain do and do very effectively is filter the information that we consciously see right so we're collecting way more information about the environment that then we ever notice it's always there are brain just filters up when you decide to be interested where you decide to look for something specific you're tuning those filtering parts of your brain tow let certain types of information through and doing deciding to do that doing that consciously is called primate right so your interest in that particular make and model of car caused you to notice it more often than you otherwise would once you really understand that our brain does this and is doing all the time you could start the hack it a little bit right you could use this for your own benefit, okay here is the secret of speed reading you're not reading every single word, every single sentence you're not opening on page one and reading the book all the way to the end, the goal is not to consume a cz many words as possible as quickly as possible. The goal is to extract the information that you are looking for from the text as quickly as you possibly can, so the way that you do that is before you open the book speed reading starts before you ever open the book, you ask yourself a couple questions, why am I reading this? What do I want to get out of it? What am I looking for? Do I know something about the topic that I'm looking for? More information about those types of questions help prime your brain toe look for things that otherwise wouldn't look for right, then your prime, your brain a second time, which is you open the book and here's what you read first you read the table of contents, you flip to the back of the book, you read the index, which most people skip right, but the index is just a list of the words and phrases that appear in the book over and over and over again, right? So you see a word or phrase that you're not familiar with that has, like eighty entries beside it well that's probably important right? So you just write that down what is this particular word or phrase right then you go back to the beginning and you skim through the book very quickly you pay attention to the headers, the subheading, any bolted points any things that are pulled out from the text all of those things that publishers who very generously signal that hey there's, something important for you to pay attention to right here you take advantage of that stuff, right? Go through the book really quick when you get good at this and this is a skill it takes practice but when you get good at it it's freaky because prime yourself before you read the book you do that very quick preview and you could be skimming through the book and all of a sudden you'll stop and that information that you were looking for is right there on page thirty seven line in the middle of the page and you never would have noticed it unless you prime yourself to begin with right that's the core of speed rating it's really nothing more than prime ing. Okay the uh it's it's funny the metaphysical business fads that come and go you know, like the secret law of attraction you know want in the universe will provide all that stuff nothing mystical about it it's primate it's a real phenomenon so did that doesn't work when you decide what you want and you go out into the world looking for information that will help you achieve a particular result lo and behold, your brain will signal to you when it finds something it works it works really well. So part of the whole process of defining goals defining states of being defining habits deciding what we want is two very important things. First, we are prime ing our brain to look for information in the environment that can get us what we want. So for example, my client who decided he wanted to visit in hard antarctica he decided he wanted it and then about two days later he was going through a website and lo and behold, there was an on sale ticket for a cruise down to antarctica that was leaving in a couple weeks and he I could totally book that it was going to be way cheaper than he thought it was gonna be awesome, right never would have noticed it unless he primed himself by setting the goal that this could be an option to get what he wanted, right? The other thing that that that goal setting types of things do going back to what we were talking about earlier is remember when we're talking about reference levels and you don't act unless a reference level is violated goal setting is the act of intentionally violating your own reference levels to produce action right so if everything's ok everything is good um you know all of your goals have been achieved you're probably not going to do anything different the moment you set a goal you're setting a reference level of things aren't good until this is done yet right so yours prime in your brain and your also kicking yourself into action to bring this thing that you want into the actual world right to get your life to look how you want it to look right so all of this stuff the reason that it works is because of all of the perceptual control stuff that we're talking about this morning don't make sense any questions about goal setting prime ing speed reading ball the mom and I run my own business right now and I have another one that I'm working on another business that I'm working on so I don't have I feel like I don't have time to read but I love reading so I've heard both of your books by listening to them in my car I love it so is there so you know how on audible you can actually like speed listen right so do you have any advice or like resource that you know about that could tell me more about how fast is it ok to listen to something before I'm going to not actually hear it anymore yeah, actually that's probably there's there isn't a whole lot of researchers as far as I know in terms of of that specific question but it's something that you contest by yourself right? What's that comfortable threshold of going through quickly in a way that allows you so you know you can go through really quickly until something really grabs you and then you can slow it down right to pay attention to that's I would just recommend experimenting with that I have been so like I used to listen to it I like the regular speed and now I can listen to it like double the speed goal for like two and a half times and I find that really awesome because I can go through a book and really get the essence of the book so I find that very useful and a great way to get the information but maybe if you don't have time to sit down and read the book total is to listen to it and I'm a huge fan in general of audio content to because it's you know if you're washing the dishes it's a way of getting some information and particularly when you primed yourself in advance of okay, why am I going through this in the first place you get a lot of really good solid information and spaces where you otherwise I wouldn't really be doing anything a uh humorous thing coating phoenix what is the opposite of private like the situation where mom says to find a thing and we don't after a lot of search but then she walks in and it's right there in front of her I wish I knew I experienced that too, but a star is that suggestion? Greg d's does that's an amazing suggestion thank you and he's gonna try that and like audible dot com all sorts of really so their business section is fantastic. Their self improvement section is fantastic, theirs a ton of stuff that you could do way we have a question that just came in it's just it's kind of interesting you might not have an answer for it, but they're asking how long the information will be stored when you're using the speed reading technique or if it's if it maybe doesn't sink in as as much if you were to quite your opposite actually, yeah, so it's funny that the information that you take from this particularly if you're taking notes so there are there have been studies saying that if you, uh, here's something or think of something and you write it down, the process of writing it down actually helps you retain it way longer than you otherwise might, um, this type of reading is way more active cognitively than just reading through words in a book right? And so the process of thinking about what you want, what you're looking for and going and seeking that in the material actually really helps you both pay attention and remember the things that you pick up a s o, for example, I said earlier that the research process of the personal mba involved reading thousands of books that's a lot of books that would not have been possible without structured, efficient reading techniques like this where you know, this is actually a really fun challenge. If you've never done this before, go to your local book store or library and pick up ten or fifteen random books that just kind of look interesting just get a table, you have a big stack of books and use a timer or something like that. You have ten minutes to figure out what the book is about, what the core arguments are, what the key terms are and what you can take away to use from this book in your own life. And you can practice opening up a book going through this process and you'd be really amazed at how much you can take away from a book and spending justice as little as ten minutes and going through and figuring out what's in it you do that over and over again, this is a scale it's something you can practice is something you can learn something even better