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Last Updated on May 5, 2021

The One Strategy to Achieve Your Goals With Minimal Effort

The One Strategy to Achieve Your Goals With Minimal Effort

Attempting to change life-long habits and pursue the path of self-improvement is enduringly difficult. In order to achieve your goals, you not only need to maintain your motivation and enthusiasm, but set up an action plan and stick to it. With so many other things going on in life, how is one expected to find the energy to devote to big and small goals?

What if we told you that there was a strategy that could make self-improvement goals fun, stress-free, and entirely attainable? In fact, with a few simple steps, you can achieve all of your big goals while completely redefining your outlook as a person.

The Minimum Acceptable Day Strategy

The strategy itself was pioneered by the comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who used it successfully throughout his stellar career. Referred to as the Minimum Acceptable Day (MAD) strategy, it is breathtakingly simple and turns the age-old concept of self-improvement on its head, making it a great method to help you achieve your goals.

What is the main issue you have experienced when attempting to pursue the path of self-improvement (whether at home or in the workplace)? You’ve likely struggled with the pressure of setting lofty and often unattainable goals before being thrown completely off course after several days of perceived failure. This can be disheartening and also impacts negatively on your levels of confidence and self-belief as an individual.

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This is where the MAD strategy comes into its own, as it triggers a complete change of outlook when establishing goals and attempting to become more productive.

1. Put a Large Calendar Somewhere You’ll See It

The style of the calendar doesn’t matter much. What matters is that it’s big enough to notice and positioned somewhere that you’ll see it each day as you work to achieve your goals. This could be in your home office, above your coffee pot, or on your bedside table.

2. Establish an Action You Want to Achieve Each Day

This should be related to the goal you want to achieve. For example, if you’re preparing to run a marathon, your daily action could be to run for a set period of time. If you want to learn how to cook, your daily action could be looking up a new recipe to prepare for dinner.

3. Each Day You Complete the Action, Put an X on the Calendar

The psychology behind this is simple. When you start seeing a chain of X’s, your mind will become more dedicated to the idea of not missing a chance to put another X on the chain, thus helping you achieve your goals. That’s why this method is also known as the “Don’t Break the Chain” method[1].

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Seeing the X’s line up can be a great way to avoid procrastination with each of your goals. However, if you find you’re already stuck with this particular problem, check out Lifehack’s Fast Track Class – No More Procrastination.

How This Strategy Can Work for You

While the simplicity of this system is easy to see, some of you may also think that this bears an uncanny resemblance to many of the generic productivity strategies available online. There is one key difference, however, and one that shies away from the accepted logic that drives goal-setting and attainment in the modern age.

More specifically, this strategy makes allowances for the fact that humans are incapable of achieving 100% performance every single day. So, rather than encouraging you to set objectives that require your maximum effort when working on how to achieve your goals, it focuses on establishing a minimum performance threshold. This instantly removes the pressure from specific goals while helping you celebrate each incremental step that you take towards realizing your objectives.

If you are looking to become fitter by running in the New Year, for example, you should set minimal, daily goals relating to the length of your workout. You may decide to work out for a minimum of 10 minutes per day, as this is an attainable goal that helps you move closer to your goal. Once you have completed this brief, intense workout, you can mark off each day on your calendar and quickly reflect on your progress.

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Of course, there may be days when you complete 20 or 30 minutes workouts, which far exceed your minimum goal and should be considered as a significant bonus.

Whether you increase your minimum goals over time is entirely up to you, as the key is to create a positive perception of change and build confidence by achieving incremental goals on a daily basis. Such an outlook also makes the process of building good habits far easier, without creating additional stress or forcing you to compromise on your daily schedule.

The Bottom Line

This simple, positive strategy to achieve your goals can be applied in almost any scenario, whether you are writing a novel and set a minimum number of words to write each day, or taking up running and looking to build your endurance over time. It works by challenging the accepted convention that we must exert the maximum effort to achieve our goals, and instead creates a template that is fun, practical, and easy to implement over time.

This strategy also reinforces the importance of progression and taking single steps towards setting and achieving goals. On the path to self-improvement, this may make the difference between long-term success and demoralizing, sporadic failures.

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If you want to be happy and successful, accomplish your goals with these simple tips.

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Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on May 5, 2021

How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

How to Achieve Goals and Increase Your Chance of Success

Does it ever feel like the things you want to accomplish always end up on the back burner? If the answer to that question is yes, you’re not alone. Only about 33% of people consistently work toward and achieve goals that they set. In some cases, their goals may seem too lofty to accomplish, or else they aren’t sure how to make a plan for them.

If you don’t come up with concrete steps to take toward your goals, they’ll remain dreams. There’s nothing wrong with being a dreamer, but being able to turn your dreams into goals will help you lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

Luckily, you can realize almost any dream when you harness the right goal-setting methods.

1. Break Dreams Down Into Measurable Steps

We can’t talk about how to set and achieve goals without mentioning SMART goals.

SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based.

Specific and measurable steps are extremely important because if we don’t know what our target is, how can we ever hit it?

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Take all those beautiful dreams you have for yourself and make them into things you can actually do. If you want to be an entrepreneur, for example, a step toward realizing your dream might be researching what you’ll need to start your business.

Find out more tips about utilizing SMART goals here: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

2. Have One Clear Goal for Each Area of Your Life

It’s so easy to become complacent or stagnate. We often think that our careers are the only places where we need to set goals, but there are many other areas of our lives that could benefit from specific goals.

To make the most of your life, take the approach that you’re always learning and growing in everything you do. Anything worth doing is worth doing well after all.

Set goals whether you’re sponsoring an activity for your child, taking up guitar lessons, or trying to prove your worth at work.

You’ll notice that this approach forces you to constantly develop new skills. It can also be fulfilling to put more focus and value into all areas of your life—not just the ones related to our careers.

3. Align Your Goals With Your Purpose and Passion

Take the opportunity to do some soul-searching as you’re working on how to achieve goals you’ve set. What is it that you want to do with this precious life of yours?

Anything that conflicts with your life’s purpose is bound to cause discontent. Staying in a bad relationship, doing a job that goes against your values, or maintaining the status quo just because it’s comfortable are not options for you.

Thinking about your goals in this way can help you eliminate things in your life that don’t serve you. This frees up mental space that you can use to do the things you care about the most.

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Many of us struggle to find the time to work on our goals, but this strategy enables you to make more time.

4. Create Goals That Inspire Action

If you can’t be fired up about learning how to achieve goals from the start, they might not be good goals for you.

The road to success is often tough, and you’re going to have times when you might feel tired or discouraged. You need to feel inspired enough that you’ll be able to overcome obstacles as you encounter them.

If what you’re doing motivates you to be the greatest version of yourself, you’ll be much more resilient.

5. Write Down Goals in Detail

This is your road map for what success will look like. The more you define what you want the finished product to be, the greater the chance that you’ll reach that vision.

When you write down your goals, you’re creating a document that you can revisit to make sure you’re on track.

When you’re in the middle of achieving goals, it can be hard to see what’s working for you. The things you write in this step will help you stay on-message as you take your goals out of your mind and into the real world.

Don’t just write down your goals and stash them away in a folder somewhere. Take the extra step to put them somewhere where you’ll see them.

If you have too many goals to post on your desk, write a summary or choose one or two steps to work on for the day. Just seeing them will keep them in the front of your mind.

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6. Commit to Hitting Each Target

You wouldn’t have created the target if you didn’t think it was necessary. Hold yourself accountable for taking the steps to succeed and achieve goals.

You can always adapt your strategy or break your targets into smaller steps if you find that they aren’t attainable as you originally wrote them. Hitting even the smallest target is cause for a celebration. It’s a step in the positive direction, and your success will make you crave more success.

We often make excuses when we get tired or overwhelmed. Take away the option to make excuses. You will only be satisfied with the best effort from yourself.

If you do find that you start making excuses and procrastinating, this Fast-Track Class from Lifehack can help: No More Procrastination.

7. Share Your Goals With Others

There’s something so powerful about people sharing their goals and dreams with one another. Doing so gives voice to some part of us that could remain hidden (and therefore never be accomplished).

When other people know about your goals, they can cheer you on and hold you accountable. When people share their vision with you, you can do the same for them.

This strategy is particularly beneficial when you’re trying to develop healthy habits. Post about your workout on social media, or do a healthy eating challenge with your best friend. You’ll be less likely to slack when temptation arises, and you’ll probably encourage someone else to reach for their goals, too.

8. Set a Series of Goals With Deadlines

Many people don’t achieve goals simply because they haven’t taken the time to measure them. People tend to forget what they set out to do, or their goal gets crowded out by other obligations.

Forcing yourself to revisit your goals at regular intervals breaks them into smaller steps, and it reminds you to think about them.

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Giving yourself regular deadlines for smaller tasks related to your goals also helps you reflect on your strategy. You’ll figure out what works for you, whether your timeline is realistic, and whether or not you need additional help to stay on track.

9. Take 10 Minutes Each Day to Visualize Success

Some of the most successful athletes, celebrities and business people take time each day to think about how success looks and feels for them.[1] Imagining that feeling of satisfaction can be a great motivator.

When you do meet your goals, take some time to be grateful. Thank yourself for showing up and doing the work. Be grateful when the stars align properly to help you advance to the next step.

It’s not just getting to the destination of your goals that matters. How you go through the journey is important, too.

10. Take One Step Toward Your Goals Each Day

Your goals can easily get buried in the hustle and bustle. Even the smallest step in the right direction is still moving you forward.

Keep chipping away at the work every day, and before long, you’ll start to see those dreams come to life.

Maybe you didn’t start your business today, but you designed the logo that’s going to go on your website and business cards. Concrete actions day by day draw your dreams out of obscurity and into the realm of possibility.

The Bottom Line

Dreams can leave us feeling overwhelmed while also inspiring us to be better in the long term. By turning our dreams into goals that we can work toward, we increase our chances of success. Things that once seemed impossible are suddenly within reach, and before long, we know how to achieve goals that matter to us.

It’s time to start turning your dreams into big goals and your goals into reality.

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Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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