How can you hit a target you don’t even have? Goal-setting, the process of taking your vague dreams and ambitions, and turning them into concrete targets and plans of action is powerful. Here’s some of my best articles, divided into subtopics.
The 5 Best Articles
I’ve written hundreds of articles which touch on goal-setting. If you’re not sure where to start, here are the best five:
- Set Goals in the Middle – Why, for some pursuits, it’s actually better to wait before picking your target.
- Two Types of Growth – We tend to see progress as a straight line. In practice, diminishing and accelerating returns are more common. Here’s how to spot them and how it should alter your approach to your goals and projects.
- Show Up, Every Day. Why consistency is the foundation for any long-term success.
- Why It’s So Hard to Stick to Your Goals (And How to Make it Easy) – I introduce the action-intention gap, and how to close it.
- On Keeping Your Word – We all instinctively avoid breaking promises to others. But what about the promises we make to ourselves?
Make it Happen!
In addition to my articles on goal-setting, I teach a course on how to create goals and systems to take the aspirations you have and make them happen in your life. If you’ve ever felt like the gap between what you intend to do and what actually happens is large, this is the course to close the gulf.
How to Set and Achieve Your Goals
- How to Push Past Your Analysis Paralysis – How do you pull the trigger and just get started on those goals you’ve been avoiding?
- How to Make Hard Life Decisions
- The Simple Algorithm for Making Big Life Decisions
- The Overkill Approach: How to Solve the Hardest Problems You Face
- The Most Important Skill You Can Learn – Why goal-setting matters.
- Should You Set Deadlines for Your Goals?
- What Should Your Goals Be?
- How I Choose Projects
- Make Plans Work on 20% Effort
- How to Execute a Successful Side Project
- If You Want to Be Fit Don’t Buy New Running Shoes
- How to Achieve a Goal (If You Don’t Know Where to Start)
- Why I Stopped Setting Long-Term Goals – I rarely set goals with extremely long time horizons, preferring projects of a year or two. Here’s why.
- Be Ambitious with Goals, Not Deadlines
- How to Start Projects You’ll Actually Finish
How to Find Motivation, Commit Yourself and Do the Work
- You Fail to Reach Your Goals Because You Design them Badly – Motivation doesn’t come from nothing, it’s built into how you design your projects.
- Impossible Standards: The 3-Step Process to Reach New Heights in Your Work and Life
- How to Work on Your Goals When You Don’t Have Time – Strategies for sticking to your goals when time is scarce.
- How to Commit to Long-Term Goals
- How to Commit to the Things You Start
- You Probably Have Too Much Motivation – Why too much motivation may actually harm your efforts.
- Are Successful People Just Putting in More Effort?
- How to Build the Habit of Finishing What You Start
- Is Obsession a Prerequisite for Success?
- How to Kick Yourself Out of a Slump
- How to Stay Motivated on Long Projects
More Thoughts on Goal-Setting
- How to Know When to Give Up – Implicit in any effort to finish something is an idea about when you should quit. Better to think about this clearly, than to do it automatically when times get tough.
- Is Ambition a Good Thing? Thoughts on Striving Without Selfishness
- Hustle or Mediocrity? Ambitious striving is just one possible approach, here I discuss the trade-offs.
- Success is Boring – Goal-setting and achievement are enticing, but the reality is usually more mundane. Learn to love boring successes.
- What is Self-Improvement – What does it really mean to try to improve yourself? How does this differ from trying to improve the external things in your life?
- How Important is Growth – Does every goal need to be an improvement? Sometimes staying put may actually be best.
- What’s Your Life Strategy? – Thinking beyond specific goals, what is your strategy for life itself?
- What’s Next? – What to do after you finish your goals.
- Why You Should Be More Extreme – Our society stigmatizes obsessive effort, but it’s often the key to success.
- You Should Have More Spectacular Failures – Don’t optimize for a perfect track-record.
- Failures of Intensity – Often the problem isn’t knowing what to do, but how much you need to do it to reach success.
- The Formula to Help You Decide Whether to Strive or Settle
- Should You Accept Your Constraints or Try to Improve Them?
- Should You Do Intense Short-Term Projects or Build Long-Term Habits?
- Bold Moves are Often Easier than Small Ones – Why doing something big is often more successful than trying something small.
- Catch-22s and Bootstrapping Your Life – Getting started is often a paradox, how can you break out of it?
- Self-Discipline Comes First
- Don’t Know What You Want?
- Feeling Lost? Stop Worrying About Your Life Purpose
- You Can’t Set Goals to Fix Your Flaws – Speculations on why many attempts to improve fail–because they’re driven by the wrong motivation.
- Why Goal Setting Can Leave You Miserable (and how to avoid it)
- Should You Wander the World or Build a Home?
- How to Set Goals (Without Being Obnoxious) – Being an avid self-improvement enthusiast can make your life better, but it can also breed an annoying personality. Here’s how to avoid that.
- How Much Time Do You Spend on Your Most Important Goals in Life?