Defeat Procrastination with Goldilocks Goals

Procrastination is bloody subtle and insidious sometimes. Maybe all the time, in fact!

First, it creeps in via your goals and targets. The wrong setting on these kills you. You must be specific, but not too specific or too general. It’s a sliding scale and the way you think about it will determine whether you succeed or fail.

In the moment you set your goal, you either intimidate yourself into never doing it, or you make it so boring there’s no reason to move forward with it.

When it’s too scary, you make excuses. You avoid it. You work on everything BUT the HUGE bear of a goal you set for yourself.

When it’s vague and unscheduled, you forget it and it quickly disappears into the infinity of that which is never done.

Painful either way.

It’s OK to set a big long-term goal, but if you do, you need to break it down into bite-sized pieces that are just right.

The key is finding the middle ground between too detailed and too vague, not too hard and not too easy—just right—a Goldilocks goal. This allows you to feel the excitement of a big goal, but not the overwhelm of an impossible goal.

The next step is to look at this goal and pick one thing you can do TODAY to make progress on it. No matter how small, the bridge between thought and reality is action. Take even the tiniest action and you’ll feel a positive emotional surge that only victory can generate.

Lastly, and critically important, but often overlooked, you must acknowledge and celebrate the moment you achieve this goal. This part may seem silly, or not worth it to you. Do NOT underestimate the importance of this!

If you don’t celebrate your victories, you will teach yourself to discount them and devalue them. Eventually, this will destroy your motivation and you’ll be back to living in the world of procrastination and waiting for motivation.

So, to review:

  1. Set a proper goal, not too big, not too small—make it a Goldilocks goal.
  2. Keep asking yourself, “What 1 thing can I do to make progress on this goal TODAY?”
  3. Achieve that one goal, and then celebrate it!

Using Goldilocks goals, you can break even the most terrifying bear of a goal into perfect successes that are just right.

Got any tips or special methods you use to set and reach your goals? Let me know!

In mind and body,
-Zack

About the Author

Zack Zen

I'm just here to write a bit about what happened when I suddenly realized this whole sentience thing was harder than it might have first appeared. I've been exploring neuroscience, health, fitness, food as medicine and the nature of mind and body for over 30 years now and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these same subjects as I recon and report.

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