The science of goal setting

The Telos Lifestyle Revolution™ System Lesson Menu

The Telos Lifestyle Revolution™ – Introduction
How can The Telos Lifestyle Revolution™ help you?
How can The Telos Lifestyle Revolution™ help you?
The Telos Lifestyle Revolution™ – Background
The Telos Lifestyle Revolution™ Fundamentals
Build your reasons to succeed
Reframe the reasons and excuses you give yourself not to succeed
The science of goal setting and developing robustness
Submodalities: Change habits, alter beliefs, and build motivation
POWER Questions: Daily questions that can change your life

Oftentimes, we have all the greatest intentions to set goals and reach them consistently, however, life throws us curve balls or we just lose the drive and once again we end up giving up on our plans.

The science of Goal Setting

Dr Matthews, a professor in Dominican’s Department of Psychology, has completed a study on how the chances of you achieving your goals can be greatly increased by –

  • writing goals down
  • committing to goal-directed actions
  • being accountable

My study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability, commitment, and writing down one’s goals…

People who wrote down their goals benefited from a 76% success rate compared to only 43% for those who didn’t.

~ Dr Matthews

This template takes you through the process of creating, preparing and planning goals that help you balance the Value element of the Motivation Equation.

(If you find it difficult to imagine what you might want in life and need some ideas for some goals that you might like to strive for, you can find 150 Bucket List ideas here)

MOTIVATION

You’re not lazy, you just have boring and impotent goals!

Piers Steele won the Nobel prize for the motivation equation

Expectancy x Value / Impulsiveness x Delay = Motivation.

Part of creating goals that work is making sure we have this equation balanced correctly.

You need to make the Value of your goals so high that you never think twice before getting on with the next task you need to achieve in order to take a step closer towards reaching your goals.

This is may be the most comprehensive goal setting template ever designed, but that is its strength. When you know your goals intimately and have described them from every angle and aspect, you will also know how important they are to you and whether you have the commitment you need to work towards them even when the going gets tough.

You can print the form below or download a printable pdf version of this goal setting document.

What goals are important?

The three most important areas of your life are:

  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Well-being

Of course financial goals are important, but it’s best to be in a healthy, happy mindset when striving for goals. It’s also nicer to reach financial freedom or success when you are healthy and happy. There are already too many unhappy rich people in the world and achieving financial freedom and then being too ill to enjoy it isn’t good planning either.

Here are some examples:

  • Reach your optimum weight
  • Maintain your optimum body fat percentage
  • Go to the gym 3 times per week
  • Cut our sugar in your diet
  • Win a fitness competition

Write down as many as you can. It doesn’t matter how big or ambitious they are, or how small and inconsequential. If you can reach 100 you are doing well. Once you look at them again, you will probably find that many of them can be summed up in one goal. So don’t worry if it seems like there are too many to begin with.

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That one thing?

So, what one thing that if you succeeded to do or complete your goals would make the biggest difference to your life right now? Possibly you’ve found that many of your goals can be put under one heading and they represent milestones along one important journey, but what’s the one thing that if you were able to get done or do on a consistent basis would affect most other areas of your life for the positive?

  • Get the job you want
  • Stay below your optimum weight
  • Be happy
  • Be more confident around work colleagues
  • Stop drinking alcohol

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Direction

At its core what is the goal you are setting out for? Describe what direction your life would have to go in to reach that goal? This is often an intrinsic goal that is more about who you are or want to become as a person.

  • Become more astute with finances
  • Take your health more seriously
  • Become a better parent
  • Be on time for appointments

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1 in

What is one thing or group of things you would have to do more of to achieve that goal?

  • Balance your bank accounts every week
  • Do a 5 mile run every other day
  • Say “I love you” to your partner 10 times per day
  • Eat fruit and vegetables every day
  • Write 300 words in your novel

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1 out

What is one thing or group of things you would have to do less of to achieve that goal?

  • Don’t eat any cane or processed sugar or syrups
  • Don’t spend more than your budget
  • Don’t watch TV in the evenings
  • Don’t say anything negative to your children

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Reasons for and against

What are some good reasons for doing it? Who would it affect if you did do it? How would your life be different? You’ll have to dig deep here. You need a really good “why” to do something that is challenging, especially if it is going to take a long time. Remember the Motivation Equation.

These examples are short just to give you an idea. You may want to elaborate on your own reasons for reaching your goals and especially the penalties for not reaching them.

For

  • Having money would mean I can spend more on my children’s education
  • Losing some weight would make me feel better and reduce my risk of diabetes
  • If I encouraged my children more they would grow up emotionally stronger
  • If I wrote my novel I would feel so proud and have something to show to my parents

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What problems will it cause in your life if you don’t do it? Who would be negatively affected by you not doing it? How would your life turn out if you didn’t do it?

Against

  • If I don’t make more money it will mean I can’t take the holidays I want or be able to invest in other businesses
  • If I don’t lose weight I will become obese and shorten my lifespan when so many people need me and love me in life
  • If I speak negatively to my children they could grow up to resent me and lack the confidence they need to succeed in life
  • If I don’t complete my book it will mean those people who said I couldn’t were right about me

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Milestones

List some milestones you will reach on the way to achieving this goal. You need to balance the Delay of having to wait to reach your goals with the Expectancy of shorter term milestones that keep you motivated along the way. You can start with big milestones and then break them down into smaller ones as well.

  • Buy a new luxury car
  • Move to a bigger house
  • Get promoted at work
  • Sell your business
  • Run 1 mile
  • Do 10 press ups

The milestones are personal to your goal. You can get a nice big list of ideas here – Bucket List goals.

Instant

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Medium

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Long

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How you feel on a day to day basis

How will your goals change your for the better as a person? Who will you become on the way? What will change, like your happiness or confidence? You can measure them using something like the KPI App and Marshall Goldsmiths daily questions.

  • I begin to enjoy doing my accounts
  • I relish going to the gym and being healthy
  • I can say NO to unhealthy food
  • I can stop, pause, take a breath and then respond to people or situations that upset me
  • I feel happy almost all the time

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GOAL SETTING

Plan

What are some plans you can put in place to help reach the goal? This might include a plan to create the plan. The SAS have a motto known as the 7 Ps – Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents P*** Poor Performance.

Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents P*** Poor Performance.

  • I’m going to draw a chart of all the training days I plan on for the next year
  • I’ll have a pen tied to the chart so I can tick the days off I train
  • I’ll calculate how many calories I will burn and how long it will take to reach my ideal weight
  • I’ll send everyone a message saying I can’t visit them on the days I train
  • I’ll always have an extra gym kit and towel in the back of the car, just in case

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Available resources

What experiences from your past can help you reach this goal? Who or what do you know right now, or need to know to help you reach this goal?

  • I lost weight 5 years ago for my wedding
  • I was resolute and had a strong reason to lose the weight
  • I planned with my best friend that we would go to the gym together and motivate each other
  • I also bought a special set of scales to monitor my progress
  • I remember feeling determined and the thought of being overweight was too much to bear

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Systems

What systems can you design to make achieving this goal a clockwork machine of certainty?

  1. Search online for a personal finance planner
  2. On Friday download and import latest bank account transactions into spreadsheet
  3. Double check balance and transactions
  4. Calculate a 6 months forecast
  5. Add any extra known future expenses
  6. Calculate budget for months ahead

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Processes

What do you need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to reach your goals?

  • Check bank transactions every day
  • Write 100 words before having breakfast
  • Make food on Monday evening for the whole week
  • Meditate as soon as I wake up

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Mini Habits

What habits and mini habits need to be put in place and reinforced?

  • I’ll do at least 10 press up every day
  • I’ll learn 10 new foreign language words every morning
  • I’ll read 10 pages of my university course work every night
  • I’ll run on the spot for every advert of [insert your favourite TV program]

For more on mini habits and how they are the key to getting a tough challenge started and continued through the tough times read – Mini habits = Massive results.

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ACCOUNTABILITY

Metrics

What can you use to accurately measure your progress?

I recommend the KPI App, but I also use Rescuetime to track the time I spend on my computer, tablet and phone. Rescuetime breaks everything down so I can even track how much time I spend on social media sites and also drill down to track how long I work on one particular document. I also use an exercise tracker that tells me how far and for how long I have run, walked or cycled.

  • Evernote to manage my tasks
  • Rescuetime to log time spent online
  • Fitbit to track my exercise routines
  • A calendar to track how many days I have spent 5 minutes writing my book
  • A coach

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What if, interventions

What is going to get in the way on the way? Life has a habit of throwing us curve balls and good planning should include all eventualities. Illness should be planned in, and other curve balls like holidays, change of job, maternity leave and parenting, etc:

  • If x happens, I will do y
  • If a happens, I will do b
  • If I miss one day of exercise – I will make up for it the next day
  • If I miss two days in a row – I will re-assess this goal
  • If I start drinking alcohol again – I will immediately phone my friend and ask them to book me an appointment with AA

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Contracts with yourself

Write a tight, binding contract with yourself. According to a Harvard Business Review study, people who elect to suffer a financial penalty for not reaching a goal increased their chances of success at reaching a goal. Success rates for contracts without stakes was 42.7 per cent; with stakes, it is 82.8 per cent. And if the money is going to a charity the user dislikes, the success rate is even higher, 87.1 per cent.

  • I am 100% committed to NEVER eating any cane sugar or syrups or artificial sweeteners and if I do eat sugar I will give £1,000 to my brother
  • I will do my mini habits EVERY day without fail or give £100 to charity
  • I will work until my finances are completely up to date and stick with maintaining them every Friday

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See it, feel it, hear it, taste it, smell it

You want to practice this as often as possible and at least daily. Visualise yourself in the future when you attain this goal and it becomes a reality. Imagine you are in your own body looking through your own eyes as you attain this goal. How does it feel? How do you feel? What can you see around you? What can you hear and what are you saying to yourself? What can you taste and smell as you imagine achieving it?

You should practice the visualisation technique above as often as possible and also when considering the obstacles that might appear along the way to reaching your goal. You can read more about visualisation techniques here.

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Next step

What would the highest version of me do right now? It’s a great question. If you were the perfect you, completely focused on your ‘one thing’ goal, what would you do right now? What do you need to do right now to take you a step towards that goal?

Now go do it!