This month’s book review is on Darrin Wiggins’ How To Set Goals: Your Goal Setting Bible For Maximum Personal Achievement; I confess that I did not love this book, though there were many wonderful things about it. It’s really hard for me to identify with a book with a sample ten year vision that includes an Escalade, a protein powder smoothie, a day of affiliate marketing and watching reruns on an 80” TV. However, it’s not Mr. Wiggins’ fault that I’m not his ideal audience, and he had a lot of wonderful advice in his book, so that’s what we’re going to focus on in this post.
His overriding theme is the importance of setting goals and consistently moving towards them, and he provides both motivation and concrete steps on how to do both.
“If you are not growing you are dying. Never before has the world been fuller of the walking dead, so many people have accepted life for what it gave them vs. creating what they are capable of. “
One of the things I particularly appreciated was an idea called “close the gap.” Often we come up with goals for ourselves that are far from where we are currently but we don’t necessarily know everything we need to know in order to get to our goal. That’s where Wiggins’ brilliant concept comes in.
We’ll use my get out of debt example for this post. My goal is to pay off my credit card debt, and to start accumulating wealth instead. I’m going to guess that “everyone” knows the way to do this is to earn more, spend less or, ideally, both.
Of course I knew that when I began my journey too. But that doesn’t mean that I really knew HOW to do that consistently. In order to accumulate the debt, I was obviously doing the opposite: spending more than I earned on a regular basis.
There were a number of skills I needed to learn in order to get on the road to being debt-free: building a budget, tracking spending, and following the budget are just a few basics. But then a whole host of other, unexpected ones came with it – doing more careful grocery planning, learning how to cook beans from scratch, learning and trying the envelope system, researching how to make my own soap and doing it, researching prices, finding price comparison apps, etc.
In each phase of your goal setting, Wiggins’ recommends determining what is stopping you from moving towards your goal and then setting a more immediate goal of getting through the holdback.
So, for example, let’s say I came up with my monthly gas budget – and it was of course less than what I was used to spending (in fact I had no idea what I was spending.) My “real” goal is to stay within my monthly gas budget. My “close the gap” goal is to figure out how I can save money on gas. This might involve using a gas-price checking app or website, walking when possible, consolidating errands, etc.
The reason we so often fail when creating huge visions or goals for ourselves is because we don’t really know how to break them down into actionable steps. How To Set Goals: Your Goal Setting Bible For Maximum Personal Achievement is a wonderful guide on how to do just that, and I would recommend it for that reason.
This week, I invite you to try a “close the gap” exercise by picking one of your main goals for the year and identifying an area where you need to learn more before you can achieve it. Then, make a small step towards the learning goal your goal for the week. Bonus points: actually do it!
Leave a comment with your “close the gap” goal.
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