7:15 a.m. on a Thursday morning.
I’m on my morning walk.
At the halfway point, where I usually turn around and head back to my apartment, there’s an option to turn left and walk a couple of extra blocks. Today I decide to take it.
I’m thinking about my step count goal for the day, an attainable number, but still, it doesn’t hurt to walk a few extra minutes since I’m already outside.
This got me thinking about different types of goal setting.
From my observations, there are three kinds of goals:
- The audacious goal
- The attainable goal
- The “I’m too scared to set a goal” goal
Over the years, we’ve tried all three at Interact.
In the early years, it was always the audacious goal. We’d have a month where revenue doubled, and then I would project 5x growth for the year based on that one all-star month.
This method failed over and over again, and by year-end, I’d have to eat my words and admit we didn’t reach the goal. It was tough for morale.
After a few years, I switched to the “I’m too scared to set a goal” strategy, not stating any goals at all. This felt good initially because we never felt behind. But over time, it started to feel like we were leaving something on the table.
We could accomplish more if we had a goal.
And that led us to the attainable goal: a goal that is reachable with sustained effort, minus the burnout.
There are two main benefits to the attainable goal:
- You get a boost when you reach the goal. It feels good to reach goals, to check the box and see your accomplishments on paper. There is something to rally around and celebrate.
- It creates space on the other side. Because the goal is reachable without burnout, there is time and momentum afterward to keep on working. The positive state of mind that comes after reaching a goal comes from feeling good about yourself. It results in confidence that you can get things done. That’s a great headspace for new ideas.
The broader implication of what I’m trying to convey is, when setting goals, consider what will create a positive mindset. What will make you and your team feel good about your ability to get things done? In that world, you can go above and beyond, walking the extra blocks. In the long run, it adds up.