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1-Page Summary of Hard Goals

Promises You Can Keep

People make resolutions to change their behavior and achieve big goals, but they fail to keep those promises. However, some people do succeed because they set demanding goals that motivate them, challenge them and inspire them.

In one study, only 13% of respondents thought their goals were helping them become the best people they could be. Many people set mediocre goals that don’t require a wholehearted personal investment of time, energy and purpose. If you are lackadaisical about your goals, and if they aren’t essential or inspirational, you won’t have real motivation to accomplish them. You’ll abandon those goals when things get tough because they weren’t important enough for you to stick with it in the first place. Instead, set “HARD” (Highly Aimed Resolute Direction) goals that are:

  • “Telling.” * “Describing.” * “Essential.”

  • “Difficult”

Heartfelt Connections

If you want to achieve something, it has to be important and meaningful to you. If it’s not, then you won’t work hard enough or go the extra mile. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is a great example of this – he cares deeply about his company and what they do. He also discusses his goals in terms of how excited he is about them (e.g., “the most important work I’ve ever done”). However, people are often motivated by others than themselves when they set goals for their lives (e.g., spouses). Therefore, setting your own goals can help motivate yourself towards success because there will be an emotional connection that stems from three types of attachment:

  1. “Intrinsic connection” – If you’re passionate about something, then it’s easier to be successful. Jobs always talks about Apple products in a positive way: “This is an awesome computer.” “This is the coolest thing we’ve ever done with video.” “This is an incredible way to have fun.”

  2. “Personal connection” – if you want to achieve a goal, think about the people that are close to you and how they would benefit from your success. This will help you stay motivated when things get tough.

  3. In some circumstances, it’s not possible or practical to use an intrinsic connection. For example, a financial reward can be used as an extrinsic motivator to get people to work harder towards achieving their goals.

Animated Images

In order to reach your goals, you must be able to picture how successful completion of that goal will change your life. Jobs was able to do this when he envisioned happy customers using the iPad for video watching and reading on the Internet.

People are visual. They need to see things in order to believe them. A picture is worth a thousand words, and people remember 65% more information when they learn by seeing something than if they read about it.

You are a busy person with a lot going on in your mind. To make your goals stand out from all the noise, you should vividly picture what it would be like to achieve them. Picture yourself as being much slimmer and wearing clothes that you cannot wear now because of your excess weight. See this image frequently throughout the day to give yourself a better chance at achieving your goal.

To achieve your goals, picture yourself in the future when you’ve achieved it. Visualize what that will look like and how you’ll feel. If possible, use drawings or other visual aids to help you imagine that goal. Place these reminders where they can do the most good so you’re constantly reminded of them.

Your image doesn’t have to be dramatic. If you want to quit smoking, visualize yourself at breakfast without a cigarette and messy ashtray. Imagine how you will feel when you achieve your goal. Make that image as vivid as possible by seeing it in your mind’s eye. And while pictures are better than words, writing down what you see will help make the picture clearer for you too.

Hard Goals Book Summary, by Mark Murphy