Goal setting doesn’t work for many most of us.

It works terribly bad.

We set an ambitious goal because we want to improve our life in some way.

And ironically the only thing that ends up happening is that we hate our daily life because we’re constantly comparing it to the goal of “am I there yet, or not?”

Progress apparently doesn’t matter.

Neither do results.

Just achieving the goal matters.

And what happens?

This thing that originally was there to improve our life ends up making our quality of life worse. It makes it infinitely worse.

We get obsessed with the end point and forget the day-to-day part

We ignore the day-to-day (you know that thing known as “life”), because only the goal matters—that one event in space and time where we can say, “I made it!”

The problem is stress, anxiety, perfectionism, and self-pressure prevents the most important part of goal setting:

Growth and learning

This flies in the face of most of what we know about “goal setting,” which is an extremely western, logical idea.

Set a S.M.A.R.T. goal and achieve it, right?


Look at New Year’s for proof, with so many people every single year making resolutions they don’t keep.

Apparently, we don’t really taste our own medicine, because we keep doing the same thing.

Only 8% even get remotely close to their goal.

And the other 92%? We “fail.”

What’s worse? We internalize the failure.

“Every single year I fail to achieve my goals” is the story, which then goes on to become a fullblown mental story, the backstory of our life: “I always fail to achieve my goals.”

And that’s when it becomes scary, because that’s when we stop trying and fall into that pit of helplessness where we don’t even bother trying anymore.

Goals create black or white space in our thinking, when in reality almost nothing is black or white.

Goals say, “You either achieved this or you did not, and you can’t relax until you’re there.”

Partly, that’s what makes them effective. You either hustle until you’re there, or you don’t.

And that’s great “rah rah” motivational B.S., but for most of us, it just isn’t realistic. It does more harm than it does good.

Drop the goals, and the internal story quiets down. You can start and stop as many times as you want, and keep making incremental progress without losing your sanity or self-esteem.

Here’s how you can apply this in your own life, if goal setting has been driving you mad and to higher levels of unhappiness and guilt.

#1 Despite all this you should set the goal and make it a huge one

Yes, we ARE contradicting ourselves 100% here, but just continue reading.

Make the goal big, make it unrealistic, and make it incredible.

Setting huge goals also inspires you, much more than saying “I’ll lose a few kgs this year.”

Second, you should have that goal on paper and you should see it and read it each day.

Now… what you do is…

Forget about it!

Here’s what you do instead to track your progress towards it, day by day.

Think about which habits are going to get you there (pick just a few, remember).

Track the daily habits.

And then do the weekly review.

That’s it.

It sounds insane, but trust us, it works way better than setting goals, and best of all, it doesn’t run you ragged trying to achieve them.

So here’s what that looks like instead.

Old goal setting: “I want to lose 15kgs, and I’ve only lost two right now. I have 13 more to go, so I’m going to be a ridiculous ball of stress and anxiety until I’m there. I can’t relax and ‘unclench’ until I’ve arrived.”

The problem: Your thinking is stuck in the future, not in the present. “Oh, man, why have I only lost two kgs this month? This is total crap. It’s not working, and it’s not working fast enough, I’m never going to get there, I hate this stuff…”

New goal setting: Win the single day + whatever daily habits you set for yourself that week. So you do the quick focus routine in the morning, and the only thing on your list today, the week, the month, and the year, is to check off the daily habits, and at the end of the week tally them up.

Monday: Did I drink four glasses of water, take the probiotic and get to sleep thirty minutes earlier? Yep! Check.

Tuesday: Did I drink four glasses of water, take the probiotic and get to sleep thirty minutes earlier? Yep! Check.

Wednesday: Did I drink four glasses of water, take the probiotic and get to sleep thirty minutes earlier? Nope! Sad face.

Thursday: No.

Friday: Yes.

Saturday: No.

Sunday: No.

So I stuck with it 3/7 days or around 43%.

So now I know—in real time—just where I will be a year from now. If I only did 43% of my daily habits, I’ll only be 43% of the way towards my goal at the end of the year.

Is this stuff starting to make sense?

Rather than each day focusing on the progress bar, you’re still focusing on the goal, but rather focusing on the lack (“I’m only 2% of the way there, and have 98% to go”), you focus on the day (“I did 3/3 things I said I would to push myself forward”).

There are a number of huge benefits here.

First, it keeps you focused on the present.

Traditional goal setting keeps you locked in the past (“I always fail”—depressed), or the future (“Oh, man, I’m not on schedule to reach this goal. This sucks. What’s going wrong? Not… fast…enough…”—anxiety).

This new method has you focused just on making progress in the present rather than where you are on the timeline.

Remember, the more you think about the outcome, the more you ruin the present, because you get sucked into the drama of past and future, making it that much harder to be happy, content, and successful in reaching your goal.

The fastest path to getting to where you want to be health-wise (and life-wise) is simple: track the daily habits that will get you there, and make sure you do them every day.

This is how you bypass willpower and discipline (although it might require a bit at the start), how you bypass the stress of goal setting and achievement, and ironically, you get to your goal much faster.

Your goal is only whether or not you did 7/7 habits you said you would that week.

If you said you’d eat dinner at home each day as a habit, did you do it?

If not, what was your adherence rate?




That’s the fastest path to getting to where you want to be.

Like we said earlier, this is going to fly in the face of all the advice you typically get.

New goal setting locks you into the present, dispels anxiety, and removes the self-hatred and frustration that comes with rigidly viewing goals as black or white.

The irony is that when we focus on making smart choices today, without worrying about the progress bar, we get to the end goal much faster—all without guilt and frustration.