How to Achieve the Crap out of Your Goals

Outlook Mountain(Thank you, Jamie, for the inspiration for this title) 🙂

For the past 10 years, goal setting has been an integral event on which to end off the year. Every November, or December, we had a ‘wellness’ weekend, which started off as a fabulous weekend getaway to Banff. It included (but not limited to) goal setting (of course), a spa appointment, and romantic dinner at The Bison. Since we’ve had the boy, what was once a weekend getaway transformed into a breakfast date at DaCappo for a couple hours with our laptops, furiously listing out our goals and why’s, while a certain little boy spent special time with Aunty.

Goal setting has been an important part of our lives. It gives us reason to play the game. We’ve taken a lot of personal development in our lives. Through the years, our goal setting process has been refined and evolved to where we identify what we want to accomplish in 6 major areas in our lives: me, family, physical, career, financial, and community.

6 Goal Setting Areas

For each area, we would simply list out what all we wanted to accomplish for the year and our reasons for wanting to achieve them.

This has served us quite well over the years. We found that roughly 60 – 70% of goals would come to fruition in a year. But that seemed to be a ceiling for us….although a 60-70% rate of success is still pretty respectable. However, wouldn’t it be amazing if we could accomplish everything we set out for the year (or close to it)? As Dr. Robert Anthony says in “Beyond Positive Thinking,” some people come to the river of life with a teaspoon. Some people come with a cup. Some others come with a bucket, and still some others come with a barrel.River of life-min

The river of life doesn’t keep track of how much you take from it. It just keeps on flowing. With this in mind, why wouldn’t we want to get as much out of that river as we can? What could we do to trade our bucket for that barrel?


All Goals are Not Equal

I recently listened to Jeremy Frandsen and Jason Van Orden’s podcast on goal setting. This was very insightful for me. The guys talked about two different types of goals: Milestone goals and Execution goals. Milestone goals are goals like ‘I want to make $10,000 / month by December.. or I want to go to Brazil this year for three weeks… or I want to gain 10 lbs of lean muscle 90 days. Milestone goals are, of course, milestone driven. They mark the accomplishment of a journey, from A to B. The problem with milestone goals, though, is that there is often little feedback until you have actually reached the goal, which sometimes could take years. The longer it takes, the further away it seems. You gotta agree that it does ultimately affect achieving that goal as time progresses. But even worse, every day you don’t achieve your goal, you feel a little twinge of failure. It’s not here yet. Another day goes by. Goal not achieved. Over and over and over again. Soon you start to create doubt in your mind as to whether or not you’ll actually get to that end-game.

Execution goals, on the other hand, are goals like… I will reach out to 5 people daily to share about my business… or I will make 3 new connections on LinkedIn to expand my network every week… or I will walk up 5 flights of stairs every Monday, . .. or I will spend 20 minutes doing eye exercises daily to strengthen my eyes (more on that on a future post). Execution goals are generally a task that, when performed over a period of time, will more likely get you to your milestone goal. Running 5 flights of stairsBut the problem with execution goals is that if you take them on their own, there’s no point B.

There’s no end-game that shows the benefit of having diligently completed those execution goals on a daily or weekly basis. Life starts getting monotonous, and you start to wonder why the heck you’re doing these tasks in first place. What’s the point of walking up 5 flights of stairs for the sake of walking up 5 flights of stairs?


Trading the Bucket for the Barrel

I’d be insulting your intelligence if I didn’t way you’re probably putting two and two together. Ultimately, if we want to get more from the river of life… if we really want to upgrade that bucket for the barrel, we need both milestone goals and execution goals. We need milestone goals to designate that milestone marker when we’ve accomplished our journey. It’s only the way we know that we’ve achieved our goal: … seeing that $10,000 hit your bank account… arriving in Rio, or weighing 190 lbs with 15% body fat. Now that we’ve established that, let’s look at what the execution goals are that could support eventually achieving that milestone?


Milestone Goal: Making $10,000 / month in my business

ITSolo CrowdsExecution Goal:

  • Reaching out 5 people every day to share about my business
    (obviously many other execution goals might in involved.. let’s just take this example)
    Reaching out 5 people every day, even just every work day means you will have reached out to
    25 people in a week, 100 people in a month. Even if your message just gets through to 50% of these people, you would have expanded your business or network by 50 people in a month!


Milestone Goal: 190 lbs, with 15% body fat (I’m not talking about me, here, since I’m 5’5″, and 130 lbs…. and 15% body fat might shut down my reproductive system.)

Execution Goals:

  • Doing a hill interval before breakfast every day.
  • Having 5 days of good food with lean protein, 1 cheat day
  • 3 Heavy weight days, and 3 endurance training days.

Before we discuss the third Milestone goal, let’s talk about the glue that holds it all together.


The Stickiness Factor

The last piece of the puzzle is the stickiness factor. I supremely believe that if you want something to stick, first of all, do it for 12 weeks. It’s the reliable length of time that it takes for a habit to form. The Huffington Post wrote about this last year. It started out as being at minimum 21 days straight in the 1950’s, as discovered by a plastic surgeon, one Dr. Maxwell Maltz. His theory was disproved later on, and the new and most recent studies proved that roughly 12 weeks is a more reliable length of time to form a habit. In any case, taking on 90-day challenges is a good way to kickstart yourself into gear and have a habit stick.

90-day challenge


Secondly, be clear on the purpose for what you would expect when doing that task. Be clear about why you’re doing it in the first place. Here’s what I mean… Reaching out to 5 people every day about my business has an ambiguous impact. That is, unless you know from past experience, that opportunity always comes knocking the more people know about the value and service that you’re trying to provide. Going back to my business example, reaching out to my daily 5, means 50 people know about the value and service that I want to provide in a month. Said another way, I know how 50x the opportunities that could come my way, had I otherwise, just kept my mouth shut. After you get this concept, it’ becomes a game of numbers. The more you spread the word over time, the more opportunities come to you, the ‘luckier’ you get.

Let’s take that fitness example. Going up 5 flights of stairs is ambiguous until you realize that going up 5 flights of stairs burns roughly 50 calories, not to mention the effect of after-burn you get in days subsequent. Doing this every week day gives you 250 calories burnt in a week, or 5000 calories over the month of 20 working days (assuming you are going up 5 flights of stairs at work). running in the woods-minIt is generally said that 1 lb of bodyweight would require the burn of 3500 calories. Of course, this depends on the person, and what you’re eating, etc. So may other factors, but to be pure, for the sake of illustration, at 5000 calories over a month is equivalent to in excess of a pound per month! How much more willing would you be to put left in front of right in going up flight number 4, with 50 steps left to go now?

What about a Destination Goal?

Milestone Goal: Visit Brazil.
Execution Goal: – Requires passport, visa, plane ticket, $6000 in living expenses, and a place to live.

Photo Credit:

Each one of these tasks is an execution goal within itself. The execution goal doesn’t have to a repetitive task every day. The savings part might be broken down into a daily savings plan: $100 / week would get me to $6000 in roughly 12 – 13 months. But the rest of the tasks would be but a small cog in a greater implementation plan to reach Brazil. It, of course, would require you to list out all the tasks involved in getting yourself to Brazil.  As IT folks , or even folk in the corporate world, we’re generally that goal task-oriented anyway, aren’t we?

You see what I mean? The next time you’re goal setting, and please let it be more than in January. As I said, we usually do our goal setting for the following year in November or December. That way by January, you can start off the year running, and build momentum toward your goals right from Day 1. Milestone goals as the markers of the journey. Execution goals are the baby steps to get there. One isn’t effective without the other. With this in mind, what can you do to apply this to your top dearest goal, and achieve the crap out of it?!


  • I totally agree that we need both milestone and execution to work together if we want to achieve our goals. I read and heard many goal-setting instructions before and it always boils down to two things, what are your goals (milestone), and then how are you going to achieve them ( execution goal.

    What really struck me is the river metaphor, life doesn’t gives us any limit on what we can achieve, so why we keep on putting a limit on ourselves.

    • Cat Lam

      Reply Reply June 3, 2016

      So glad you like that river reference! I love how it’s sparking thought and insight for you. Thank you for taking the time to read, Bhuboy. I’m truly honoured.

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