How do the world’s best stick to and achieve their goals?


According to Dr Stephanie Burns, an international leader in the application of the mind and brain research, 75-80% of adults do not achieve the goals they set.

Research has shown 60% of people abandon their resolutions within six months, 25% of people abandon them within only 7 days.

Perhaps we are all setting too many goals and that’s a factor?

The 4 Disciplines of Execution methodology believes the optimal number of goals is 2 – 3 and this gives us the best chance of success. If we add additional goals beyond 3 our odds of achieving any of them reduce.

So, with the odds against us how on earth do we actually stick to our 2020 goals?

I’ve been exploring how some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and thought leaders overcome this challenge:

Tony Robbins: 

Tony Robbins who is arguably the world’s leading life coach and motivational speaker believes in taking a step towards achieving your goal at the time you set it:

Never leave the site of a goal without first taking some form of positive action towards its attainment.” 

I found this really helpful and this made me feel as if I had “started” each goal. As an example, I scheduled things in my diary, made enquiries, or started a project board in Asana.

Mel Robbins:

Mel Robbins is an American best-selling author and speaker. She discovered the ‘5 second rule’ which in short is the 5 seconds you have to take action before your brain talks you out of it.

Mel is an avid believer that 5 seconds can change your life.

Mel’s simple but scientifically proven 5 second rule can help us stick to our goals by training ourselves and hacking our brain to take action when we are about to fall off the wagon e.g. getting up before snoozing that alarm!

Mel explains the rule and how to apply it here. 

Brendon Burchard: 

Brendon Burchard who is one of the world’s top experts on high performance and author of High-Performance Habits believes in breaking down goals by quarter, month, week and day so you always keep momentum and to follow 3 steps:

1) Visualization practice

2) Weekly scoring (check out Brendon’s High-Performance Planner)

3) Social support

Brendon believes your diary should reflect your goals. You should be able to view your diary and understand what your priorities are as time is dedicated and scheduled to achieving them.

Brendon takes scheduling seriously even down to time to check social media rather than mindless scrolling (guilty as charged!).  The average person spends 30 minutes a day on Facebook and Brendon believes social media can be a big distraction which stops us achieving our goals.

Brendon’s research showed less than 20% of us look at our goals every week. To use Brendon’s approach check out his blog here. 

4 Disciplines of Execution

The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) Methodology created by Chris McChesney is based on 20 years research and practical application in thousands of businesses. This has fast become one of my favourites which I have started using in my business.

Chris’s research has shown 2-3 goals is the optimal number and our odds of achieving any goals reduces as we add additional goals beyond this.

The first step in the 4DX approach is to set your wildly important goal (WIG) which is specific, measurable and with a deadline.  

The 4 disciplines of execution are: 

1) Discipline 1: Focus

Example: Pick 2 -3 goals that are the “fewest battles needed to win the war”. Each goal needs to have a start, end, and timeline eg increase profit from 10% to 15% by 31st December 2020. 

2) Discipline 2: Leverage

Example: With limited time and resources the key to success is leverage. Act on lead measures not lag measures. Lead measures must be predictive and influenceable. E.g lose 10Kg vs exercise 3 times a week.

3) Discipline 3: Engagement

Example: Allow the team to pick their 1 goal that is in addition to the whirlwind and will contribute to the overall WIG (do not dictate the goal). 

Ensure that it is a winnable game to drive engagement. Keep a highly visible scoreboard as people play differently when they are keeping score.

4) Discipline 4: Accountability 

Example: Create a cadence of accountability. In weekly WIPs ask what the 1 activity that can be done to impact the lead measure, check progress on previous weeks commitment, update the scoreboard and set new commitments. 

For more detail on this approach check out my recent blog here.  

Grant Cardone:

Grant Cardone is one of the world’s leading sales guru’s, best-selling author of ‘The 10X Rule’ and self-made millionaire. Grant writes his goals down twice a day, once in the morning, and then again at night.

“I want to wake up to it. I want to go to sleep to it and I want to dream with it…I want to write my goals down before I go to sleep at night because they are important to me, they are valuable to me and I get to wake up to them again tomorrow.” 

My own:

My own approach which I am testing this year is a combination of all of the above.

I applied the Tony Robbins approach of taking 1 action on each goal at the time I set them, so I felt each goal was in motion. I found this particularly powerful and effective.

I created goals for each area of my life eg business, family, financial, health and fitness. I then broke them down into lead measures from 4DX eg exercise x3 times per week as opposed to “regain pre-pregnancy fitness”.

I took inspiration from Brendon’s approach and created a vision board which I have printed and put up in several places to keep it front of mind.

For my business, I have used the 4 Disciplines of Execution approach and followed this methodology. I created a visual and scoreboard which I have printed and stuck up everywhere.

Finally, I believe in breaking business goals into “sprints” which can be completed within 90 days and “marathons” which are a 12 month + goal.  I put all of these goals and above plans into Asana (project management tool which is free) and broke down my goals into tangible actions with owners and deadlines.

For more on my approach to setting business goals and creating a fast start to 2020 download my 2020 fast start checklist here.

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