Goal setting is something that a lot of people simply don’t really understand. That is to say that they take the entirely wrong approach to it, which in turn results in them never seeing the results that they hoped to see.
There are lots of things we could improve about goal setting, but for now, we’re going to look at one thing specifically that relates to the Japanese concept of “kaizen.”
That is: being too ambitious right away.
Now, just to be clear, there is nothing wrong with ambition. There is nothing wrong with deciding your goal is to become president of the United States, to have the best body that anyone has ever had. Or to become filthy rich.
That’s all fine.
The problem is when you try and achieve that immediately.
The perfect example of this is working out. So many people will go from not exercising at all, to taking on a training program that is huge too ambitious for them. So for example, they might decide that they are going to try and work out four times a week at the gym. That sounds like a reasonable and modest goal until you realize that they’re going to be training for an hour, probably traveling for 30 minutes, and likely showering for 20. Throw in getting changed, and preparing for the next day, and suddenly you’re introducing about 8 hours of work into your routine.
Eight hours is not a small amount. In fact, it is an entire working day!
Not only is this a huge amount of time, but it’s also a huge amount of energy you are expected to expend. And if you aren’t exercising right now, it’s probably because you don’t have the time or energy! What is going to change this time exactly?
Better is to set a target of training at home for 20 minutes twice a week. A far more modest aim, but a much healthier start.
A similar example is when someone wants to create an app. So often they will come up with an idea for an app they think will change the world – an app that they think can rival Facebook. This requires cloud computing, security measures, and all sorts of other things! Can they program? Well… no.
There is nothing wrong with this ambition. But it should not be the first thing they make. The first thing they make should be a clever calculator or a throw-away game. THAT is how you succeed.
Start small. Be consistent. Success takes time.