How Are Your Goals?


Are your ambitions causing you harm or benefiting you? How to create more realistic objectives without hurting yourself
Mental Fitness

These five questions can assist you determine whether your 2023 goals will put you on the best course if you’re working towards self-improvement:

  • Are your objectives too general or specific?
  • Do you prioritise achieving your result goals?
  • Do you consistently forget to change the defaults?
  • Are you wisely setting your goals?
  • Do you have a chance of being a victim of Goodhart’s Law?

Are your objectives too definite or too nebulous? There is a subtlety to watch out for, but I’ve seen enough of instructions that warn you that having ambiguous goals will only lead to failure. Your intentions may not always be clear. The recommendations are correct in saying that it’s far too simple to prioritise a hazy aim over another in your daily schedule. It’s understandable to want to “be healthy,” “look your best,” or “feel better,” but if there isn’t a clear action plan and no way to track your progress towards those goals, it’s too simple to put off taking action until a “later” that never comes.

You need concrete and quantifiable targets so that you can commit the proper amount of time, effort, and other resources to achieving your goals. The instructions frequently omit to explain the risk of choosing a target that is at odds with your actual purpose when helping you transform your hazy aspirations into specific objectives. Do not be alarmed; a remedy exists. You require multiple layers of goals that are specifically designed to guide you towards the outcome you desire. Let’s search through managing science for some principles that can be useful in target setting:

  • An outcome goal is the victory you are interested in, but it may be difficult to measure, ambiguous, and/or greatly influenced by factors outside of your control, for example, “The outcome goal is to be as healthy as possible this year.”
  • A performance goal is one that you can measure and, if it’s reasonable, is primarily under your control, such as “The performance goal is to run 5 km in under 30 minutes.”
    A process goal is one that can be measured and, if it’s reasonable, is entirely within your control. For instance, “The process goal is to run for 30 minutes every other day.”

Are your end objectives prioritised?

Most likely, you made your resolution in order to urge yourself in the right path since you had an outcome goal in mind but were unable to directly pursue it. As a result, you carved out a measurable proxy goal. (That’s SMART. This far, so good. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the proxy objective exists to support the result goal, making it foolish to select a proxy goal that jeopardises rather than advances the outcome goal. Avoid putting too much emphasis on a resolution that is a proxy aim.

The amount of chocolate you eat or don’t eat each day isn’t important if your process aim is to look your best. What the scale indicates the next morning (performance target) is not the key. The key is your long-term appearance (outcome objective). Avoid concentrating too much on the means to the end. Consider your plan’s design carefully. What behaviours does it encourage, and are these behaviours risky or useful to your outcome goal? It is not a good resolution if missing a target (for example, when you promised not to eat chocolate but did) increases the likelihood of regrettable behaviours (for example, when you devour the entire candy store).

Have you changed every default setting?

It’s time to reevaluate every part of your process goals once you’re crystal clear on your end goals. The structure is the first area that needs some spring cleaning. Are there any defaults you accept without question? Did you, for instance, describe your process goals in terms of what you’ll do “each day”? A day is an arbitrary measurement! Your evaluation window needs to be calibrated. Don’t automatically assume that comparing today to yesterday is the greatest approach to measure your achievement. Why not make the most of your evaluation window when a day is an arbitrary unit? Every oversight you take for granted is a lost chance at a better life.

Every oversight you take for granted represents a lost chance at a better life. You could be tempted to throw the remainder of the day in the trash if you ate some chocolate at 2 PM that you weren’t supposed to. With a day window, some personalities end up eating more chocolate than they would have if they had utilised a shorter one. Do you count among them? You won’t know until you perform some custom calibration. A day may seem like a logical choice, but using a smaller span will provide you the opportunity for a “fresh start” sooner. Consider whether a longer window would be more beneficial for you (giving you more flexibility to juggle other priorities but also encouraging bad planning) or a shorter window. Remember that there are times when a window is too small (a window of five minutes is obviously disastrous).

Have you used good goal-setting strategy?

What would it take for you to get motivated to practise good behaviour? If you enrol in a course on the psychology of decision-making, I bet you’ll read Kahneman and Tversky’s key study proving the importance of framing: by changing the language (but not the underlying possibilities), you can change people’s decisions. Although we would want to believe that we are logical beings that simply react to the underlying message, it turns out that “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

Focus on framing that boosts motivation while creating process goals. This also holds true for your own resolutions. The identical objective might be rephrased in a way that either makes you more motivated or completely demotivates you.

Humans are surprisingly simple to hack, but there is a bright side: framing provides you a perk, a chance to increase your chances without having to endure unending agony. With a little upfront cunning, you can get more while suffering less. Focus on framing that boosts motivation while creating process goals. Finding your motivation will take some effort, but it will be well worth it in the end. This is what I recommend:

Do you run the risk of being a victim of Goodhart’s Law?

The repercussions of setting a process objective that is so ambitious that you abandon it in a spectacular blaze of self-destructive glory are on one end of the scale, and… Goodhart’s Law states that “a measure ceases to be a good measure when it becomes a target.” The classic work on perverse incentives is Goodhart’s Law. The Great Rat Massacre of Hanoi is (in my opinion) the best story in such category. There are many opportunities to violate Goodhart’s Law in your personal life, despite the fact that it is typically discussed in the context of managers acting irresponsibly.

You run the risk of endangering your own well-being if the method you use to gauge your achievement is very motivating. Consider, for illustration, a scenario in which your performance target is weight and your outcome goal is improved health. You start by avoiding junk food, but as the days pass, you start to realise that you may gain even more points in the Weigh Yourself game by consuming a variety of unnutritive chemistry experiments, drinking less water, and using diuretics to make yourself sweat. If you look at the scale, you’re happy, but what about the ultimate outcome objective? If you continue in this manner, your health will suffer greatly.

It is obvious that once you started manipulating the scale in a way that is detrimental to your long-term objectives, it is no longer an accurate indicator of your health. Ask yourself often if you are pursuing your goals rather than your means in all of your actions. Reevaluating your strategy from the standpoint of your outcome goal is the cure. Never let your process or performance objectives take precedence over your outcome objective. Think on the larger picture and the things that are most important to you on a frequent basis. Ask yourself often if you are pursuing your goals rather than your means in all of your actions. Think on the larger picture and the things that are most important to you on a frequent basis.

Hello Everyone, finally published my new book “Focus”. In this book, I took a poetic licence in considering the spiritual aspect of focus, which has rarely been done. Other books focus on the practical aspect and tell you to do this and that, but in my book, I discuss how we can find focus within ourselves without relying on an action-oriented approach. Any purchases or KDP reads will be greatly appreciated. If you like my books, do leave a review. Here’s my author page on Amazon –


11 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting! This is the first time I’ve heard of Goodhart’s law. It seems like a useful concept.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      Let me know what you think about this

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it would be helpful to keep in mind when setting goals, so a perfect fit for this post. I think people often don’t take time to consider what could happen if they manage to be TOO motivated toward the wrong goal, and thus end up risking harm to themselves. With weight loss, for example, it’s seen as such a healthy endeavor but whether it truly is depends on how one goes about it.

        Or, to use a personal example, fitness. I used to exercise so often and intensely that I ended up injuring myself. I took “No pain, no gain” too seriously. Nowadays, I try to be more mindful of my body and not push too far.

        Instead of setting extreme goals, one could try looking at things as more of a process than a single endpoint, and think holistically. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. GS says:

        Well said. Thank you for sharing your experience. I appreciate it. Added more meaning to my post. 🤍🤍

        I like to use a metaphor to explain this idea: think of driving your car from point A to point B. The first scenario let’s say we know where point B is. We can easily track our progress to ‘point B’ internally and evaluate our progress. Obstacles like traffic, accidents, construction, detours, etc all affect our progress towards point B. However, these variables are largely out of our personal control, so we have two options. Anxiety and stress are variables that permeate most people in these scenarios, but if we focus on what we can control, and put on the ‘horse blinders’ we can minimize much unnecessary stress/anxiety. Furthermore, if we can develop a personal perspective that these obstacles have a decent chance of presenting themselves each time we make our way to point B, we no longer see them negatively, but just a part of the scenery.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you. ❤

        That's an apt metaphor, indeed! So-called "obstacles" are inevitable in practically anything we do. So, you're right, it would be much healthier to view them as part of the scenery rather than being stressed over them. Focusing on what you can control and letting go of what you can't is a powerful idea. I remember being introduced to it through Stoic philosophy.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. GS says:

        I agree with you. You have said it in a beautiful way. Understanding what is truly in your power and learning to accept it will award you with a new level of peace, freeing your mind from the constant stress caused by worrying about the inconsequential.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. recoverrlife says:

    Wemist talk!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. GS says:

        Oh hehe 😃


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