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Goal setting done right

Kirjoittanut: Aarno Lind - tiimistä Crevio.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 3 minuuttia.


I held a Paja about goal setting. It went well and we had good discussions regarding the topic with the team. This is why I decided to make an essay out of it. 

Goal setting is a very important topic. I firmly believe a person should set goals, but the normal method of goal setting is redundant and not very effective. 

The normal method

This is how people usually set goals:

Goal: lose weight.

What usually happens:

The person will go to the gym for the first few weeks, inconsistently, and then forget about the goal entirely. This is a pretty common scenario, there are multiple reasons why the normal method is ineffective.

The goal is too broad and not actionable. Having the goal: lose weight, doesn’t give you direction. Losing weight can be achieved in multiple ways, and having just this as the goal doesn’t push you in any of those directions.

The goal is overwhelming. Losing weight is a long process. One of the main reasons people stop chasing the goal is that they get discouraged. They might go to the gym for the first few weeks, which is a big thing for someone who hasn’t worked out, and not see any results which leads to discouragement.

The better method

Goals tie heavily into habit building. To reach a goal, you must take action consistently towards that goal. Forming the habit itself and sticking to it should be the goal, not the end result of that work. 

Here is a better method: 

Instead of the goal: lose weight, use the building of said habit as the goal.

Go to the gym three times a week every Monday, Wednesday and Friday right after work at 17:00.

If this was the goal instead of just losing weight, I argue that the person is multiple times more likely to stick to the goal and succeed. 

Some reasons why this works:

This goal is very actionable and specific. Just from the goal itself the person already knows what the has to do and when.

The goal is easier to digest and gives small wins. Going to the gym is already a success. By having this as a goal, you will be hitting small wins consistently which will boost motivation.

What it all boils down to

James Clear is the author of Atomic Habits, a great book about building new habits and breaking old ones. James Clear has a website where he releases insightful information in the form of short articles. 

The topic of systems and habits is something James Clear discusses in his articles. James Clear brings up the importance of building systems around their goals. He uses the following examples:

  • If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.
  • If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
  • If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million-dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.
    (James clear)

These are great examples of how goals are ultimately reached. If you break a goal, for example becoming a millionaire, into small enough pieces, everything ultimately boils down to doing thing X consistently for an undefined amount of time to get to the point where you have reached your goal. 

Of course, having a million-dollar business involves a lot more than just working in the end game, but in the beginning, becoming a millionaire starts with doing work. 

So what I propose to you: Reach for the system, forming the system/habit should be your goal. 



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