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How do I change the way I think about achieving my goals?
35 points by IAmTheTucan 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments
I have been thinking about various problems. Problems like how to get that girl I want, how to make more money, who is it that I want to be, etc.

Well my mind just isn't capable of solving these problems. So what do I do? I try to expand my mind by reading and talking to people. But it's still my own mind progressing at a snails pace. Progressing so slowly that things will not change unless I find some other way.

I keep falling into these same unproductive modes of thinking. I am so intensely driven but all of my energy is going nowhere.

Please help me think differently so that I can analyze my goals from new angles.






Reframe the question

"How do I get the girl" may work for a particular girl but is that healthy for you long term?

Reframe: what traits do partners appreciate and how do I cultivate them?

Much better, right? And the goal becomes long term "being better" instead of short term "dating girl in cubicle 7"

This also has multiplier effects: now you can be better in all areas, not just the "getting the girl" area. This may lead to more money or other goals.

Practice lots of empathy and selfless improvement. Don't focus on girl, job, monetary figure. Once you "get" them, if you "get" them, you will be lost again.

Focus on being a better person. Then you will appreciate the things you have and will have the mindset to maintain them.


Try not to focus on goals, as much but turn things that work towards those goals in to systems.

For example don't have the goal "Win the competition".

Have a system that says practice 3 hours everyday.

The reason being is that goals are not always within your control and when you don't get those goals fast you get demotivated.

But systems are within your control and but work towards your goal.


i have found that the surest way to become frustrated when setting goals is to try to tackle the hard stuff first. instead, it is better to do the easy stuff right away. accomplishing anything will give you a sense of satisfaction and increase your motivation. have the big goals - yes - but tell yourself that you are "on the path" and that if you never finish it is alright - at least you are making progress. an activity that has no intrinsic value for you is not worth your time so do the little things that make you happy and continue to dream big. if you instantly had all that you think you want, there is no "locking it in". you will become old and sick and will eventually die so enjoy the time you have now. that is my advice

i just wanted to add that "really hard" things are not really hard. in my experience all complex activities are the result of many simple actions learned with repetition and practice. so you should build a foundation by mastering many simple things. life can/should be "play"


I agree - learn to break down your goals into small actionable tasks, then make a to do list to finish X number of them by end of week. That way you can track how far you are, achieve your goals in small steps week by week, and get a sense of accomplishment. Goals are achieved with discipline no motivation! Just get up and do it - don't think!

I have an idea for you.

1. Get to Know what your really what. Think really hard about your goal and make it as clear as possible, whether it's to fuck that girl or make 1 billion money, or rule the world.

2. Listen to a people that you believe. He can be your parents, best friend, a historical person who influenced you most or you admired most, a hero of our days, etc. Reading and talking to random people does not make you act because you never believe what they say. You have to find a concrete person, whether live or dead, he has accomplished the clear goal of yours. Then you communicate with him deeply, know how he succeeded, how he failed, how he progressed, as detailed as possible.

3. Understand that people that who succeeded at your own goal has also once be in the position of yours now. Know what he has done to change it and make progress. You follow him. But of course you will not succeed as him, but you have to be creative to apply his method to your own similar situation. This is hard, but it's more effective to start from thin air.

4. Communicate with that person more(read, talk, listen, think), and follow the path he has walked, adjust your decisions quickly. Remember that if you really know one successful person, you know that success is not a mysterious thing, it has to be related to some real things in life. You need to find that relation and connect yourself with that thing, decision, action or people.

5. Adjust your goal. Because no person knows what he really wants in fact, you may gradually find that your pervious goal is not so attractive, for example that girl is so not great to fuck or live with, that money will get you many trouble, then you have to adjust your goal again and again. The really problem is find what you really want, and it's tough.


People have said it here already, but I will repeat it again. Systems (actually habits!), not goals, are the solution.

You need to derive pleasure from sticking to a habit and making continuous improvements. Arbitrary and concrete goals might be hard to achieve. But if you stick to habits, good things will happen™. Good things that are hard to plan. E.g. you will not get the girl you want, but you will get another great girl, possibly a better one!

Sticking to goals brings very short-lived pleasure, whereas habit rewards are continuous and long-lasting.

To form habits, try https://www.tinyhabits.com/. In a nutshell, this is a continuous improvement framework for habits.


Lot’s of good advice here and people agree on splitting your goals into sets of mini-achievable-goals.

Here is a complete new angle for you - move to a new place to easily create more opportunities for yourself. Get out of your location and go explore a new country or a new city. Why? It will help you get out of your comfort zone and will force you to become pro-active. That alone could change your life and you may end up reaching some of these goals more naturally. Go chase life, discipline is key I agree but luck is also part of success. A new start somewhere else is what may unlock your current situation.


One thing you can try to do with very hard problems with very sparse rewards is to suppose a slope of incremental rewards which lead toward the goal. Then you don't have to figure out how to get to the goal. You can just collect the rewards on the slope. Figuring out how to take the next step is much easier to do than figuring out the full path. So its a much more tractable problem. It does require treating problem-specific advice as if it were true, since that lets you infer a gradient you haven't figured out for yourself.

Another approach that can be taken when dealing with hard problems is to start with the easiest possible version of that problem and solve that problem. Then to complicate it ever so slightly and solve that problem. Through doing this repeatedly you can move along a path of increasing understanding related to the problem you are solving. Upon reaching the most complicated problem which you struggled with previously, the problem is now an incremental addition of complexity to a problem you already know how to solve, rather than a problem which you don't know how to solve. This reduces the amount which needs to be learned to make a successful step. Which makes the problem of taking that step much easier.


You may not be breaking your goals down into the smallest components that you can actually work on - you're looking at the high level outcome and you can't eat the whale all at once. In order to, say, write a novel or create an iOS game, you need to decompose those into specific actions such as learning to type, and then practicing typing daily until you're really good at it; studying Swift, Xcode etc. before stepping into SpriteKit or whatever else follows. Some things can be worked or learned in parallel, just like you have multiple classes in college, but some things need to be done or learned before other things (pre-requisites). Map out your learning and doing that way. I found college very productive, so I now build my own 'majors' and create a curriculum with 'classes' and a syllabus for each, and run my learning as if I were in college, including having a schedule for the 'classes'. Experiment and find what works for you, but you've got to find and learn the core, lowest level actions you need to perform and learn to achieve the higher level goal. Iterate, practice and build up so each day is slightly better than the yesterday. Go watch Jordan Peterson's Youtube video discussing that at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5S6cTQRoU4

Good luck.




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