Last week, we covered why goal setting matters more than ever. Hopefully that resonates even if it comes with a rose-tinted view of how goals work. The sobering fact is this: reaching any worthwhile goal is HARD. No matter what, you are going to face unfamiliar landscapes, obstacles large and small, and will suffer setbacks large and small as well.
We’re building WeAchieve to provide the best possible ways to overcome these challenges. Just because it is hard to achieve a goal doesn’t mean nothing can help. Indeed, it’s quite the opposite: certain approaches can lead to dramatic improvements. WeAchieve seeks to help people find the ways that work for them to avoid some of the common challenges or pitfalls that people tend to fall into.
Right now, WeAchieve is an open landscape upon which you can create a goal and a plan. While we plan to retain that flexibility, we are going to be building more and more structured paths to help you go from zero to plan in the near future. In doing so, we’ll be addressing several of these common obstacles.
The Knowledge Barrier
You don’t know what you don’t know. With any goal, your first step should be to do your research. Open up your favorite search engine (we recommend DuckDuckGo) and see what others have done. As with anything on the internet, approach it with a skeptical eye, but reading a few different positions and personal anecdotes can help you figure out what could work for you.
Second: ask family and friends for recommendations. It’s likely that whatever you are trying to do, someone you know has tried it before and has some advice that you could use. They may also point you to a coach, mentor, or other trusted source as well. Asking around will also help with another barrier we’ll get to shortly.
Before committing to a goal, you should have several practical steps you can take in order to get started. On that front, we are currently working with several experts to develop curated plans for some of the most popular goals people have, and will be releasing those soon. Of course this won’t be a substitute for asking around and customizing a plan to fit your needs, but it will give you a starting point to work off of!
The Buy-In Barrier
You’ve gotta commit! Another place people often fall short is not fully convincing themselves to go for a goal. We can use a cold swimming pool as a metaphor here: you are much more likely to go swimming if you dive right in, rather than if you tentatively dip your foot in the shallow end. Goals work the same way: you must dive into them with 100% commitment. Having that as your threshold will also help you prioritize toward only the goals you really want to achieve. Look at each goal you may have and ask yourself “Do I really want to do this?” If the answer is yes, dive right in!
As with most things though, there’s a downside to going too far. Over-committing is a common mistake, and having too many goals ends up being as bad as not committing to any, so it’s important to limit yourself to a few key places rather than setting goals everywhere. A good way to tackle this is to sit down every few months and look at what you are doing and adjust your plans if needed.
The Tracking Barrier
If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? In the same vein, if a goal isn’t quantifiable and tracked, is it ever met? Once you’ve done your research and bought-in, the next step is to track your progress.
We can’t overstate how essential tracking is. Multiple studies show that doing so dramatically increases your chances of reaching your goals – one study showed that people who developed a regular accountability practice increased their chance of achieving their goal from 42% to 76%. And this matches human nature – without having clearly defined targets, any mind will self-rationalize success where none may exist. Quantified tracking is the remedy to this.
Depending on the goal, this can be done daily, weekly, or monthly. If you are trying to build a regular habit it’s best to track that daily at the start, then move to weekly or monthly once you establish a routine. Longer-term things can be done weekly or monthly, but setting aside a regular time is a critical step. Sunday evening is often a good time to reflect on the week and plan the coming one.
WeAchieve is built with this purpose in mind, and setting daily, weekly, or monthly tactics for your goals is an easy way to keep yourself accountable. Our star rating system constantly keeps you informed on how well you are sticking to your plan on an easy zero to five scale.
The Loneliness Barrier
Last but certainly not least, pursuing goals is easier if you have someone along for the ride. Having a small accountability group for any of your goals is a great way to keep yourself honest and build your relationships at the same time. As with tracking, this has also been shown via multiple studies to improve your chances of reaching your goal. Hence asking around in the research phase can help once you get started by helping you find folks looking to make the same changes you are.
WeAchieve is also built around this concept. Recently we shared a bit about how you can peer pressure to help you achieve positive results. And we’ve got more on the way: this week, we are launching a beta of our Groups platform on our web platform (iOS to come soon). With Groups, you can share a few goals with a group of up to 10 people so that you can see how everyone else is doing, encourage them, and talk about some of the tips and tricks for any type of goal!
So there you have it – four barriers to better goals and some ways to work around them. If you aren’t using WeAchieve yet for your goal setting, we hope you’ll give it a try! We’re actively looking for feedback on how WeAchieve is working for our growing community and ideas on how we can help people be more effective at reaching their goals.