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Beyond Goal Setting and Motivation: How sh*t really gets done

June 6, 2012 - Business Skills, Personal Skills
Beyond Goal Setting and Motivation: How sh*t really gets done

Goal setting and motivation are the tired drums of a tired set of business coaches, consultants, and motivational speakers. They work at times, but mysteriously fail to generate results just as often.Most people adopt the Nike approach to getting things done – but “Just Do It” ain’t enough. There are 2 reasons why this fails.

  1. If you knew how – you might be able to, but you don’t. So you sit in a ” holding pattern.”
  2. You don’t have the motivation to get out of the “holding pattern.”

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Most goal setting approaches don’t get you past the “Okay, Now what?” question. With no effective answer to “now what?”, work doesn’t happen – or, if it does, it’s very slow.
Resolving the two causes of goal failure is easy once you learn how:
  1. Make the steps smaller
  2. Create more Tension
The process of making the steps smaller really means this: Take on giant goals in extremely small steps. Want to go on a trip to Patagonia? Great – what’s your first step? Try creating a list of reasons why you want to go – then, for each reason work on a next step. Make each “next step” small. You could say – I want to go to Patagonia because I want to spend time in nature. Does that help you come up with the next step of picking activities? Those activities turn into scheduling decisions, and lodging choices etc.
Creating more tension is a little bit more challenging. Try adding conditions to your everyday activities. I’ll watch that show I like after I do 5 minutes of work toward my goal. If I do this, then I can do that. Conditional statements like this are very productive in getting you started and adding tension that will pull you closer to the goal.
A tension creating technique I use is called the Pomodoro technique. You can find a wealth of information on it here: http://www.pomodorotechnique.com/
I recommend using whatever techniques you can to create tension, anything from mild discomfort (a standing meeting where everyone is standing) to a “crisis” mode where you are racing to beat a deadline. Either of these and more can be great techniques to get your goals achieved by pulling you to them rather than requiring some mythical “motivation” or “Just do it” mindset.

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