My 4 rules to keep goals

The 4 rules to keep goals

The rules of direction and approach for goals

The rules of direction and approach for goals


Are you feeling like you are not making the progress you wish for? Do you give up on your goals too easy? When was the last time you felt you accomplished anything significant and felt proud about? Has your progress become stuck in a rut?

A strange pattern occurs with people who give up on their goals. I often find people or a business will tell me they started a project x,y or z and they followed it for a while. They saw and felt the improvements and made good early progress, but eventually things got in the way and so they stopped the goal or forgot about it. After a while later, they create a new goal and start afresh with the same initial vigor and yet the results came to the same. They simply went from one goal to another. Does this sound familiar to you or for your business?

What would happen if you set one goal, yes one simple goal and then stuck to it? The rules of this idea is as follows.

Rule 1: Create a goal

Rule 2: Work on the goal

Rule 3: If you fall off the wagon and stop the goal, do not create a new one. Go back to Rule 2

Rule 4: If you complete a goal, celebrate and review what went well and not so well. Now go back to Rule 1

Did you notice I did not use the word “step 1” etc? I used RULE 1. I intend to connect your brain to a little more serious and deeper state of mind. You should aim to feel committed, respectful and accountable for the goals that you set and work on through life.

But goals are not as simple as that!

The 4 Rules above can work and the same 4 rules can also get you into a lot of trouble. Therefore I am going to set a prefix before the 4 Rules start.

  • What if my goal is impossible?

  • What if I have gone through the 4 Rules 6 times?

Understand the impact of decisions. We make them every day, some large, some small. You made a choice to read this article, you made a choice to read as far as this sentence, and you will make a choice if to carry on reading or not. The same is for the creation of your goals. If you have repeat failure several times then seek to gain perspective. There are many stories where people have achieved greatness after many attempts and failure.

The famous book series touching millions across the world

The famous book series touching millions across the world

  • Edison is known for taking 1000 efforts before creating the light bulb.

  • The Harry Potter book series was rejected from 12 publishing houses before being accepted

Yet you still need a balanced perspective and understand the reasons for failure. Is it system, know how, skills, technique, relationships, external factors, technology or a flood of opinions based on a small thread of facts that applied 20 years ago?

How to climb Everest?

Everest in its beauty

Everest in its beauty

Anyone who has spent time within the world of mountaineering soon understands that many routes on Everest have become technically safe. This is how excellent tools, guides, information, equipment and experience has been developed and shared across the community. Everest is still a killer mountain, yet it is climbed with knowledge, commitment and many, many determined steps. During the ascent of the mountain you climb high and then climb down again to a higher resting point than previous. This is part of the acclimatization process. Your body cannot survive at such altitudes without the help and aid of acclimatization, and many, many, many repeated steps. The same applies to goals. There will be times when you make progress and then reach difficulty. You may need to “go back” a few steps, but as long as you keep climbing through the steps you will still reach your goal.

  • Example: Someone who battles with weight loss may succeed for 20 days and then have an unhealthy single day. This is the point where many others will give up and yet the knowledge that you have achieved the first 20 days combined with an understanding of why you turned unhealthy for a single day can help adjust your approach and strategy. Instead of taking 4 months for your weight loss program to be fully effective, it simply might take 5 months. This is not a total failure, it is simply a changed time line and the 4 Rules apply to this process.

How to address mindset using the 4 Rules.

There are clear patterns to seek and review at a personal level. Do you have a pattern of saying one thing and doing something else? For many people, their words do not match their full actions and behaviors. This is an honest observation. It is the person that says “I must cut down the time I spend on social media”, “I will be more careful with what I eat”, “I will always ensure my presentations include the best of me”.Indeed the people that do so on a regular basis build an outstanding note of respect upon their peers.

Do you have areas in your life where there is a gap between your words and your repeated behavior?

A key quote

A key quote

To address this attitude and mindset will not be easy and a fast fix. Just take the long road approach and improve on a day to day basis. Focus on your base goal and create time to make some form of progress to that goal. Through repetition of very small micro steps forward you will be able to soon understand how progress feels. The progress develops confidence and resilience to obstacles that will come from time to time. The repetition of determined successful steps forward will also support improved creative solutions in your problem solving and prioritization.

Help with the 4 Rules: We believe what we see.

There is a great reason why the success of keep fit apps has helped millions get off their couch and improve their fitness. It is a simple set of areas that has helped. 1) Reminders 2) Social sharing of great workouts. 3) Having your goals and performance visible.

Why not try to adopt a method of having daily visible progress for your goals. This can be as complex or as simple as you wish. There is no need for sophisticated software or devices, even a simple note on a piece of paper to measure the number of works in a week can be a motivating source.

Choose your tool of choice

Choose your tool of choice

The reason why metrics become important in business is to help understand how each operational and strategic function and task helps you bring the business towards its longer term vision and mission. Too many metrics with too much analysis can become problematic if your business does not make decisions and actions based on this acquired information.

fighting Internal Distractions :

When working on your goals there needs to be a “working balanced” effect. I use the word “working balance” to address some realities of life.

You will never be able to finish your job or study or hobby at exactly the same time every day.

Accidents happen and life takes over with unplanned events

Accidents happen and life takes over with unplanned events

You will never be at home from your commute at exactly the same time every day. There will always be the occasional need to work longer, leave earlier, make a detour for x,y or z. Therefore allow for these natural realities shape your goal and mindset. There is no need to give up or frustrated. Indeed embrace the distraction as an occasional break and time to refocus your efforts on your normal routine.

In addition to the practical distractions there are the motivational variables, mental strength variables and physical variables to be considered. Indeed I write this post whilst under treatment for Achilles tendon damage on both legs, so my running goals have been put on hold and yet I realized they are part of a wider health goal that I wish to succeed in. So I am addressing my health in other areas through adjusted diet and lower impact exercise on my legs whilst I undergo the recovery treatments.

How to deal with Rule 3:

This refers to a bigger question and message: Be prepared to deal with some disappointments in life. How will you adapt and move forward as fast as possible will determine your speed to success. Part of this solution is to refocus on your “Why”. What is the specific purpose for your goal is it connected to a wider vision? These questions and time plus their new solutions will lead to conclusions on the strength of your commitment to goal success.

Think about discipline fully

Think about discipline fully

The use of affirmations can help address daily confidence and define clear purpose, the use of motivational quotes are great at absorbing a positive mental environment and find wisdom and strength through others experiences. Your own personal progress and action needs to follow through past these inputs and create real action. Through the repetitive action there will be created new positive behavior patterns and your emotional state will become more positive. This positive attitude then fuels the speed of progress, confidence and speed to success. You will also realize why people sometimes refer the “the journey is as important as the destination”.

Why the 4 Rules will work.

Simplicity, discipline and persistence is the key message from this article and these factors have the biggest power and influence to sustained success than almost anything else.

  • Do you have any reasons why these 4 Rules will not work for you?

  • When do you think these 4 Rules could have helped you in the past?

  • How do you adopt your mindset when faced with obstacles?

Let others know your experiences and how these 4 Rules help you in your life and business. Please share this article through your social media channels and forward to anyone else who you think could benefit from its content.

By James Doyle – Founder of JAMSO

Further Reading

Goal setting : How to make time for goals

Goal management : Alignment of personal values and business objectives 

JAMSO helps people and business transform their performance and results.