Episode #16 - "Stretch Yourself"

“The people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals”

— Seth Godin, author

Date Published


Main Topic

Setting Goals


1hr 25min

In the spirit of the new year and “2020” finally being in the past (even if not much has fundamentally changed re pandemic), we dedicate a full episode to new year’s resolutions and achieving your goals. We pay particular focus to the common pitfalls of why people often fail to achieve their goals and the misunderstandings of what is actually needed when setting and reaching a goal.

The backbone of our discussion revolves around the 3 rules to achieving your goals: setting a ‘good’ goal, not quitting on yourself (specifically as opposed to quitting on the goal), and setting up your environment to be conducive to success.

The idea of setting a ‘good’ goal is picking a goal which is quite ambitious yet one which is perfectly achievable through daily incrementally more challenging steps. People often decide a goal and think there is no more planning needed. You need to work out exactly how you are going to achieve it, that is to develop a process. 

But even more important to how you are going to do it is ‘why’. Why is the goal important to you? Make the ‘why’ strong enough and you will be able to endure any ‘how’. When the going gets tough and you feel like quitting, a good enough why will make it much easier to continue and keep going ’til you have reached the goal.

As humans, we find it easy to justify why we can give up. Our power of self-sabotage appears almost endless. If you give up on your goals, you are often actually giving up on yourself rather than the goal itself. Treat yourself like a good boss treats a valued employee and have some self-compassion. If you feel like you aren’t on target, that’s OK – don’t be too hard on yourself and keep going. Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of it. A failure doesn’t have to be a “fatal failure”.

The final step to reaching your goals is understanding and setting up your environment to make it work for you, as opposed to against you, when you are trying to reach your goals. In short, decide on your goal, come up with actions needed to reach that goal and then start supportive habits that make taking those actions easier.

Mr Beard gives the example of his goal of running a marathon this summer. By breaking down the whole process and boiling it down to ‘first principles’, he explains how he “simply needs to go to bed early” and then he will be able to run the marathon. Mr C shares his journey into the afro-brazilian world of capoeira and how the requirement to learn a new musical instrument as part of the grading system reinforces and re-motivates him to work hard at the art. He is seeing the physical and visual payoff already.

Main Topic Of This Episode​​

The main topic of this episode is setting ‘good’ goals, how to set up processes to achieve them and common pitfalls to avoid if you want to make sure you don’t fail like so many others.

New year’s resolutions are almost a cliché at this point, and in part because it is nearly assumed that you will give up on them even before Paddy’s Day rolls around. Check out this video with Brian Tracy (motivational public speaker and self-development author) where he goes through his top tips on achieving your goals.

Check Out Some Further Reading​

Found something interesting discussed in this episode? Chances are, we found it interesting too and we went off and did a bunch of reading online about it.

So why not dive further into the topic! Here are some handy links we think you might like.

Simon Sinek is a British-American author and inspirational speaker. He is the author of the book ‘Start With Why’. As the saying goes, ‘If you have a strong enough why, you can endure almost any how’. He has also given a number of very popular TED talks and videos online.

When setting ambitious goals and reaching targets, you are much more likely to succeed if you have a solid ‘why’. Having a weak ‘why’ makes it easy to give in and quit when the going gets tough.

James Clear is an American author whose work focuses on habits and developing systems and processes to help you achieve your goals. His book Atomic Habits has sold over 3 million copies and is an extremely useful book if you are looking to achieve great things by being 1% better every day.

Check out this episode of the Rich Roll podcast where James Clear was the guest. James and Rich discuss his book, his approach to building effective systems to bring about processes that work you instead of against, and of course good habits.

From Wall Street to the Navy Seals, Mark Divine’s career had a varied start but is now firmly rooted in helping people develop their fitness and mental toughness. He has written a number of books, which draw from his years spent as a Navy Seal commander and trainer and was tasked by the USA government to redevelop the Navy Seals training program.

His most well known book, Unbeatable Mind teaches you how to think like a Seal, remain calm under pressure and develop unbeatable mental fortitude. If you are interested in training your mind as well as your body, this book comes highly recommended.

Journaling or ‘keeping a diary’ can often be seen as juvenile or at best a waste of time, but it can actually be quite a powerful tool if you are looking to improve yourself, your life trajectory or set and work towards your goals. The actual process and techniques of journaling can be varied, ranging from emptying your mind on the page (if you have trouble falling asleep) to visualising your desired life (if you want to manifest a new reality for yourself).

In terms of entrepreneurs and public figures interested in and promoting personal development and ‘biohacking’, they don’t come much bigger and more well known than Tim Ferris. He is a big proponent of journaling and it forms an integral part of his famous morning routine. He has an interesting blog post on the subject, which you can check out here.

Stephen Duneier is an investment manager, strategy consultant, speaker, lecturer, author, artist and Guinness World Record holder. In 2001, he began to apply his approach to decision making to his personal life, leading to a long string of eccentric goals and resolutions being set and achieved. In 2012, it reached fever pitch when he embarked upon 12 for 2012, a New Year’s resolution which included 12 Learning Resolutions and 12 Giving Resolutions

He gave an excellent TEDx talk in 2017 where he discusses how he approaches goals and goes through the long list of goals he achieved in a short number of years – with each one tangentially connected to the one before it.

Check Out Other Episodes

Enjoyed this episode? Hopefully you found some of the additional information on this page interesting or useful. Why not check out one of our other episodes – we think you will like them too! 🙂 

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