Growth / Planning & Strategy

5 Things You Really Need to Read: The Goal Setting Edition

Amy Saunders

Updated: May 27, 2020 · 4 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

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A week into the new year, you might already dread the thought of another 51 weeks of saving money, waking up earlier, eating only vegetables, or whatever else you resolved to do this time.

As you’ll hear countless times around this time of year, most New Year’s resolutions fail—largely because they were too vague or too daunting to achieve in the first place.

The solution isn’t to give up on resolutions and goals, but to start setting better ones, both in business and in life. These five pieces will help you create goals worth celebrating at the end of the year.

Why Your Brain Makes New Year’s Resolutions Impossible to Keep (via @PopSci)

You’ve never made a New Year’s resolution to watch more TV or eat whatever you want, right?

Tyler Durden watching TV.gif

We don’t resolve to do things that are easy or enjoyable because achieving those goals wouldn’t feel rewarding. Conquering a difficult goal, though, is satisfying—to think about, anyway. But the actual work toward the goal won’t feel good for a long time, which makes us stop working at it. That’s why setting and failing resolutions is an annual tradition for most of us. This article from Popular Science explains how psychology works against our resolutions—and how we can fight back by establishing habits.

How to Help Your Team Achieve Their Goals (via @Get_Lighthouse)

Small business owners and managers work toward many goals: not just for themselves, but for their employees. This article from the team management tool Lighthouse explores how to talk to your team members about defining and achieving goals, providing ideas for conversation-starting questions, and tips for helping employees break goals into manageable steps.

Our strategic planning kit walks entrepreneurs through developing a plan for the ultimate goal: growing the business this year. Through a step-by-step guide, worksheets, and calendar, you’ll learn a methodology for creating a strategic plan, how to establish a process for meetings and goal measurement, how to involve employees in your company goals, and more.


The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game So You Win (via @Entrepreneur)

For a high-achieving guy who’s written numerous bestselling books and invested in companies like Facebook and Uber, Tim Ferriss takes a counterintuitive approach to goals: He sets the bar low.

bunny set the bar low.gif

Chasing an ambitious goal often leads to burnout and, subsequently, failure. But achieving an easy goal—like writing two mediocre pages of a book each day, not a masterpiece—makes you feel like you’ve won the game and are ready to play again, Ferriss explains in this article and video.

3 Popular Goal-Setting Techniques Managers Should Avoid (via @HarvardBiz)

SMART goals—ones that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound—aren’t always wise ones, management consultant Dick Grote argues in this Harvard Business Review article. Sometimes, setting attainable and realistic goals makes for lackluster achievements, and the SMART system doesn’t ask whether the goal is worth pursuing in the first place. In this piece, Grote also makes a case against top-down organizational goals along with percentage-based goals, presenting alternatives to these widely-used corporate strategies.

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