Goal setting sucks if you don’t change your lifestyle first

Here is why goal setting sucks

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About 2 months ago I read a book called The Legendary Life. Written by Daniel Munro, a lifestyle coach who has worked with a variety of people. The Legendary Life describes Munro’s personal approach to building confidence in other people. As I read similar books at the same time, I began to compare The Legendary Life with other theories about achieving successful lifestyles and happiness.

When we talk about self-development or self-help books, whether they’re designed for business, management, marketing or psychology, we talk about actions. We read books to change our mindset, and at the same time to make actions that will change our life for the better.

Based on over 60 books I have read, I realised there are two main categories of action:

  • Acquiring new skills

  • Changing your lifestyle

Actions for Acquiring New Skills

Acquiring a new skill is an action that has a specific goal. You can achieve that goal in the future if you put enough time and effort into it. There’s even a formula for defining your goals and achieving them: the SMART criteria. A lot has been said about it already, google it or visit wikipedia to learn more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria.

This type of action is very concrete, which is why coaches love to use it.  Many of them talk about goal setting as the ultimate way to be successful (this is what The Legendary Life deals with). But the coaches that use this method miss a huge point:  They don’t solve a single fundamental problem on how to live. They don’t talk about an ideology to live everyday as you would your whole life. By focusing primarily on goal setting, you quickly lose motivation while waiting for a big reward to come.

It’s important to enjoy the process, not just the big reward that comes at the end.

Actions for Changing your Lifestyle

Usually when you change your lifestyle you’re not trying to achieve a specific goal. Sometimes the goal is simply a better lifestyle or increased happiness. These become routine actions that pretty much define who you really are.

Here are some examples of Lifestyle Changing actions:

  • Morning meditation

  • Regular exercise

  • Increased generosity

  • Always having a smile on your face

  • A cold shower every morning (yes, we do it, and you should too! Here’s why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb0h8ZKvJW4)

  • … and more

Although changing your lifestyle doesn’t tend to have specific goals, it’s an extremely important element for achieving bigger goals. By enjoying life every day, the path to reaching your other goals becomes clearer. You may have big ambitious goals, but take the time to see how your regular day looks like first. What you do every day defines whether you can achieve a bigger goal. You must take care of your health, your physical and mental condition, your soul, and so on.

Where to start?

In order to define your day-to-day routine and who you really are, you should check out two actions from the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

  • “Begin with the end in mind” and write your personal mission statement

  • Sharpen the Saw - Principles of Balanced Self Renewal

At the same time it’s good to understand what makes you happy every day. It’s your foundation for all future achievements and directions. And please, please, please don’t sacrifice your happiness for the sake of achieving goals. You must be happy first to be successful later. This is what the book Happiness Advantage is about.

What do you think about changing your lifestyle before achieving other goals? Leave us a comment below.

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