Goal Frameworks

Day 281 Week 41 Q4 Monday, October 9, 2023

Goals consistent with identities are far more likely to be reached as long as the identity is not too much of a stretch from the current reality of a person’s situation. For example, if you are a five-foot-tall twenty-five-year-old who wants to be a professional basketball player, you should probably not count on being recruited.

In order to achieve a goal, it is helpful first to define a goal framework. For example, say you want to be an Ironman in two years. This could be a reasonable goal if you are willing to commit to a set of behaviors that condition you to be able to attempt it. But if you are a traveling salesman working sixty hours per week and also have two small children, it might be impossible to commit to the necessary behavior to get there.

Suppose you derive your behaviors from a desired identity, such as I want to be in terrific shape in one year so I can be in fantastic shape a year later. Then, you have the identity of a person who is a terrifically disciplined physical specimen. From that identity, you can derive many necessary behaviors and many other ones that are unacceptable. 

A goal framework consists of a set of behaviors and goals that are consistent with an identity. You have to answer the identity question before the goals question. The identity is part of how you will achieve your goals. If I want to be a touring musician, I will first have to be a musician, not just a musician but a performing musician.  If your goal is to be elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and you are not already a touring musician, you should probably forget it. Even if you are a successful touring musician, there is too much beyond your control for this to be a reasonable goal.

Until you have defined a reasonable identity that is somehow connected to your current reality, you can not derive the behaviors necessary to achieve goals. Once there is a set of behaviors consistent with a desired identity and habituated enough to be regular routines you have been engaged in for a while. You can consider the trajectory toward the goal. Only then can you say if it will happen in a month, a year, or a decade. It has to be able to happen; first, you can commit to it happening.

If someone wants to lose thirty pounds and has been consistently losing a pound per week for five or ten weeks, they might be able to predict when they can achieve this goal because there would be a goal framework. On the other hand, if they lost five pounds in two days because of fasting and not drinking any water, that is not a Goal Framework.