Start with Goal setting

blog in progress - will be updated

"The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark." – Michelangelo Buonarroti
Original photo by Afif Kusuma on Unsplash

Edwin A. Locke an American psychologist found that individuals who set specific, difficult goals performed better than those who set general, easy goals. Goals that are difficult to achieve and specific tend to increase performance far more than easy goals, no goals or telling people to do their best. Locke developed and refined his goal-setting theory in the 1960s. Since then, goal setting has become part of various areas from business to science and research, including areas such as negotiation, therapy or coaching.

So it's not surprising how many people claim to know how to set their goals for example by SMART as that remembered from school. My experience with clients in coaching shows me the exact opposite. Setting goals are at the heart of coaching. The impact can be huge:

  • Not achieving a goal can affect a client’s mindset negatively.

  • Repeatedly achieving goals can make it easier to continue doing so.

And so this thread will discuss more about the topic of setting personal goals.

Frequently used methods

  • ABC

  • SMART targets and enhanced versions

  • OKRs

  • Be-Do-Have model

ABC method

  • The ABC method that a goal should be Achievable, it should be Believable, and that the person be Committed, it's sort of obvious once you hear but the ABC method, then people came along and expanded on that they talked about the so called SMART method.

  • The ABC method is focusing more on challenging aspect of the goal and it can be later catalyst for another one.

  • Achievable / Aim High: The goal should be achievable and challenging

  • Believable: Believe in yourself and your capacity

  • Committed: Commit to work on the goal

According to wikipedia, the author of this method is Frank L. Smoll, Ph.D. and a work psychologist at the University of Washington. But I could not find any specific description of ABC in his book or materials.

SMART Method

  • SMART being another acronym, that it be Specific, that the goal be Measurable, that the goal be Attainable, that the goal be Realistic, and that it be Timed down, meaning that you set a certain period of time in which a given goal should be performed.

  • See SMART Goals history with Dr George Doran:

​SmartER Goals

SmartEP Goals

E (Evaluative/ethical)

E (Ecological)

R (Rewarding)

R (Positive stated)

OKRs framework

  • Objectives and key results (OKR, alternatively OKRs) is a goal setting framework used by individuals, teams, and organizations to define measurable goals and track their outcomes.

  • OKRs comprise an objective (a significant, concrete, clearly defined goal, be inspirational for the individual, team, or organization that is working towards them) and 3-5 key results (measurable success criteria used to track the achievement of that goal). The development of OKR is generally attributed to Andrew Grove who introduced the approach to Intel during his tenure there.

Please see: "Why the secret to success is setting the right goals" | John Doerr

Be-Do-Have model

According to this model, you must first BEcome the kind of person who is able to achieve your outcome, and then DO the actions that are required to enjoy the fruits of your efforts. Since most of our behaviour is designed to achieve certain outcomes (goals and desires), it is very important to define these outcomes in advance. If you know where you want to be, you will be in a better position to construct the right maps to guide you. Better yet, you will be able to come up with new, easier, or faster ways to get there.

-- the model author is probably the Ram Dass or Steven Covey in the early 1970s

  • What do you want to HAVE? (clear vision)

  • for example, health, freedom, friends, security or property

  • What do you want to DO? (the ACTION steps)

  • for example, places you would like to visit, hobbies you want to pursue, activities such as traveling, learning to cook, helping children, etc.

  • Who do you want to BE? (the person who will do what needs to be done)

  • for example: a successful businessman, a writer, influencer inspiring to others, a marathon runner, a surgeon, etc.

Limitations and side effects of methods

  • Goal setting may have the drawback of inhibiting implicit learning if the required knowledge and strategic awareness are not in place: goal setting may encourage simple focus on an outcome without openness to exploration, understanding, or growth and result in lower performance than simply encouraging people to "do their best”

  • Please see: The Art of Goal Setting | Keiana Cave | TEDxUofM

  1. SMART = Short Term Goals

  2. DREMAS: Example not the goals but higher

  3. If people are not laughing at your goals, they’re Not big enough to ever evolve into a dream

  4. Avoid setting SMART goals at all costs otherwise you may wake up ten years from now and you might say where the rest of my burns were or similarly why did I settle for making four hot dogs when I could have made an infinite amount of hotdogs

How to get motivation into Goal setting

Please see:

How to Achieve Your Most Ambitious Goals | Stephen Duneier | TEDxTucson

What he said - break down your goals into small manageable tasks. Notice how he achieved most of his goals by focusing on one goal at a time.

If you want to achieve your goals, don't focus on them: Reggie Rivers

  1. Set goal

  2. Forget the goal and determine the process you need to achieve the goal

  3. Fall in love with the process

  4. Do the process without thinking about the goal

  5. Eventually, achieve the goal

Why you should define your fears instead of your goals | Tim Ferriss

Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life. - Jerzy Gregorek

Stoicism: exercise he calls "fear-setting."

What you can control vs. what you can not control!

Business hours are over at Five o’clock!

We suffer more often in imagination than in reality - Seneca

Pre-meditation of evils: this is visualizing the worst-case scenarios, in detail, that you fear, preventing you from taking actions, so that you can take action to overcome that paralysis.