One Thing to Add to Your Goals This Year

Five weeks after I started dating my wife, she asked me where I saw myself in five years. I told her that we’d be married, have a couple of kids and be in a house. She was, of course, just wanting to know what I wanted to do for a career path, but five years later, we were married, had two small children and were living in our first house. I’m a big believer in goal setting.

There are all kinds of articles and books written about goals every year. They typically tell you how to make your goals SMART or how to bear down, find your willpower and sweat out the fear by sheer determination. Plenty of people love to engage in those pain-propelled goals (I’m looking at you, Tough Mudder people).

Even though many of us buy into the idea that real progress only comes with intense struggle, most of us know that we can’t stay under ongoing pain indefinitely. According to Daniel F Chambliss in “The Mundanity of Excellence” your chance for success increases by 46% if you enjoy the goal.

On New Year’s Day I watched a few teams set out to achieve their goals. You might not want to hear about college football from me again, but it’s only January 3, so I’m not going to be able to keep from talking about Scott Frost’s University of Central Florida Knights who completed an undefeated season. They didn’t lose a game which was an incredible achievement. But, two years ago? They didn’t win a game. To swing the pendulum that dramatically takes a lot of things, but Frost focused on the fact that the team he took over wasn’t having fun.

When he walked into the practice room to initially meet his team, he saw gifted players who were frustrated. He saw determination and grit. But the fun was gone. The lack of fun translated into all kinds problems on the field and interpersonally for the team.

The lie the team was believing is the same one you and I are tempted to believe: the more miserable I am while I do something, the more value it has.

Related: Are You Talking About This With Your Prospects?

This kind of wrong thinking is reinforced because you can’t measure fun. What’s the exact ROI of joy? I don’t know either. But I’m positive when I look at my own achieved life goals (creating a home and family) and the achieved goals of a team like UCF (13-0 season) I can see the tremendous impact fun has on the path to achieving them.

I have no idea what your goals are for 2018, but I am positive that you’re more likely to reach them if you infuse them with fun.

Here’s a really practical look at what I mean:

GOAL: Get in shape

PROCESS: Google couch to half marathon strategies and get running.

PROBLEM: You hate running and find it boring. After a few weeks of making yourself run, you miss a few days for work travel and decide it’s too hard to pick it back up again when you get home.

BACK UP & ADD THE FUN: You enjoy group activities especially when there’s competition involved so you join a CrossFit gym. You still might run during your WOD but now you’re trying to beat your time with other people there.

Congratulations, your odds for getting in shape just went up.

To be clear, I’m not advocating that I would ever find CrossFit fun, or that you will either. But some people? They love it. It ticks off a bunch of fun boxes: community and competition among them and they keep going.

So now’s the time to pull out your list of goals for 2018 and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Are these fun?
  • What is my motivation for accomplishing them?
  • How can I infuse fun into the process of achievement?
  • I hope your 2018 continues to be off to a good start.