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Success Advice

What Is Missing in Most People’s Goal-Setting Strategy



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If you ever want to make progress, you need to have a goal-setting strategy. But I find that a goal-setting strategy alone isn’t enough for us to achieve our goals, you need to be creating a goal-getting strategy as well. This is a hack designed to help you from merely setting goals to knowing fully what actions you need to take and getting them done. There are several elements to this strategy that I find people time and again forgetting about.

Below are the core elements and why having these parts of a goal-getting strategy is so important to your overall growth.


Having a goal in mind isn’t something that takes a lot of time. We all have various desires and dreams. However the challenge at times is finding the right motivation to get to that goal. What has helped me in the past was setting a SMARTER goal.

SMARTER goals are built on SMART goals. The idea is that goals should be:

  • Simple – Is direct and to the point.
  • Measurable – Something that you can note your progress on.
  • Achievable – Is something you can achieve right now.
  • Realistic – Be grounded on your own performance and pacing.
  • Timely – Can be achieved within the time you give yourself.

SMARTER goals build from that by adding two questions:

  • What is the ONE thing you want the most now?
  • Why do you want it?

To help you with answering those questions, I use the 5 Whys framework to dig into a deeper desire. When I first used this strategy it was around the time where I believed it was important to sacrifice one aspect of your life to dedicate time to another. I spent a lot of time working at my job and spent little time looking after myself, or spending time with my wife, and kids.

When my life hit a breaking point – severe back pain from poor posture – I knew I had to get my life back on track. And so amongst many goals, I wanted to work on regaining my strength and not suffer from back pain.

This is the framework I used:

  • What is my current goal? To exercise once per day.
  • Why do I want this? Because I want to be healthy.
  • Why… do I want to be healthy? Because it hurts to do physical activities that last longer than 15 minutes.
  • Why…? Because I don’t have time to exercise or I’m too tired at the end of the day.
  • Why is that a problem? Because my two sons are young and energetic and I don’t want to have issues keeping up with them.
  • Why is this important? Because I want to be there and be involved in their upbringing. It’ll hurt me more to be on the sidelines due to physical reasons.

The 5 Whys framework helped me in finding my true intentions behind the activity. As a result, I was able to make specific actions that would make achieving this goal easier. For example, I set new morning and night routines that focused on boosting my energy levels.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”– Zig Ziglar


Another aspect that I find people are missing is milestones. Setting a goal is fine and having deep personal reasons to achieve them helps. However if you’re not setting markers – or milestones – then it’s hard to see if you’re making progress or not. Based on your SMARTER goal, you’ll want to be setting 12 milestones – one per month. Every single month your focus should be on completing that milestone.

When you’re thinking of a milestone, you of course want each milestone to bring you one step closer to your ultimate goal. You can also adjust the milestones if you realize it won’t take you a year to achieve that goal.

Regardless, a milestone should meet the following criteria:

  • It has to be challenging.
  • It can be completed within 3 to 4 weeks.
  • It has to be concrete.

If you’re unsure how to set necessary milestones, the following can help you:

  • Look for people who’ve done what you’re looking to do. Pay attention to people who have a track record of achieving those goals too. Ask for feedback from them. Most people are happy to give you pointers.
  • Find online communities like Quora, Facebook groups or Reddit. Asking feedback there can help you get more specific milestones.
  • Look for roadmaps that share some proximity of your own and modify it. There is no shame in copying or finding inspiration from others roadmaps.

An Action Strategy

While people know what they want and how to get there, sometimes the day to day activities can be tricky. Sure, people know what action to take, but what specific actions should you take? When I started exercising, I didn’t go to a gym to workout my back. Instead, I choose to do stretches at home. Why I went with that strategy over any other option was due to an action strategy.

It helps you to look at possible options and pick the one that’s most sensible to you. After all, your time is valuable and you want to make sure you are putting time in the actions that give you the results you’re looking for. For me, I’m not looking to tone my body or develop muscles. I wanted to be strong enough that I could keep up with my kids. How I reached this conclusion was by asking three questions:

  • What are my intentions? To be healthy and not feel drained from doing simple physical activity.
  • What actions can I take? Stretching in the morning and night, and playing with my kids.
  • Why take these actions? Because stretches don’t take up a lot of my time and provide enough for me to get the results I need.

Another way to look at this is having the actions fulfil three criteria:

  • It tells you why you’re doing it.
  • It shows you the benefits of the activity clearly.
  • It shows you what you need to give up or invest to achieve that benefit.

A Reward System

The final part people need to work on or lack is a reward system. Even though a goal is more about the journey than the conclusion, you still want to celebrate in some fashion. But how much is too much?

What I find helps is solid and lasting rewards fulfil two criterias:

  • You’re getting the same amount of positive reinforcement that you’re getting for each reward.
  • The overall size is in direct proportion with the effort you’ve used to complete the milestone.

Also remember that there is no shame in using the same reward over several milestones. If they’re spread out enough, they are just as rewarding.

With so many people focusing so much on goal setting and making sure everything is perfect, people forget about the other details to getting the goals completed. Between you and the completed goal, there is a long road ahead. But by applying these strategies, getting to your goals will be easier.

Having been listed as Business Week's #4 "Top 24 Young Asian Entrepreneurs," Leon Ho is the Founder and CEO of Lifehack - a productivity blog he started in 2005. He has grown Lifehack into one of the most read self-improvement websites in the world - with over 12 million monthly readers. Grab his latest book The Full Life Essential Guide here.

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Success Advice

How Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success

Your life is dictated by beliefs and biases that drive your thinking, behaviors, and decisions



Your Beliefs Can Supercharge or Sabotage Your Success (1)
Image Credit: Midjourney

Pause for a moment and ponder two pandemic-era beliefs: First, closing schools will control the spread of a serious virus. Second, the consequences of such school closures—particularly social interruption and the prevention of immunity—are worse than becoming sick with the virus. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Break the Cycles of Mediocrity and Manifest Your Greatness

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity



Image Credit: Midjourney

In just a few weeks, we will be wrapping up 2023. Can you believe it? This year has been absolutely incredible for me.

I have seen amazing doors opened, new relationships formed and I am seeing dreams realized in my life. While this seems like the hallmarks of a great year, this has also been the most challenging year of my life. With all of the change happening in my life, I have been forced out of my comfort zone and challenged to grow in every area of my life.

I can truly say that I have made the most of my moments this year and I have used everything as a catalyst for maximizing my greatest potential.

As a revolutionary leader, I have the pleasure of consulting and advising leaders around the world to fulfill purpose, realize their greatest potential and make an impact.

I want to share some insights with you that will help you to break cycles of mediocrity and manifest your greatness

Everything legal must come through the matrix

I am sure that some of you are wondering why I am using the term matrix. However, what you have to understand is that I am trying to make a highly complex spiritual principle practical to understand.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, every life has an origin and I believe that origin is divine and begins with eternity. You are birthed from eternity and into time to fulfill a unique purpose and assignment in your lifetime and generation.

The matrix is simply the portal or vehicle that brings something out of the invisible realm and into tangible form. The problem with much of the teaching today is that it excludes the matrix. We are told to believe that success is instantaneous and overnight.

Nobody talks about how a dream progresses through stages beginning with visualization and ultimately culminating in manifestation. Without a matrix or portal then everything that you attempt to birth and build will be illegal.

The matrix not only makes you legal but it gives you the authority and power to function as the greatest expression of who you were created to be. 

Every matrix has an incubation process

While many people admire and respect me today, I remember a time when nobody knew who I was or the significance of my message. How did I get to where I am today? I got here through an incubation process.

In other words, everything that has been destined for your life is incubating and awaiting a set time of manifestation. The problem is that most people live their entire lives idle and never initiate the incubation process.

What do I meany by that? Most people are living reckless and very few people are living intentionally. I am amazed at the number of people I have conversations with that have no vision, goals or strategies for their lives. They show great promise and they have undeniable potential.

However, without development they will die with their dreams still in them.

Everything that has been destined for your life must be incubated and converted to become realities born to time. 

“Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint and begin to build.” – Robert Collier

You must give expression to that which is not yet born to time

When you think about a matrix or a prophetic incubation process, you have to understand that potential is often unrealized and untapped. In other words, your potential is in raw form and your potential cannot serve you as long as it is untapped.

The thing that makes me valuable is that I have the ability to convert potential into power. I have done it in my own life and I have empowered leaders around the world to do the same. How do you convert potential into power?

First, it is important to note that you have to perceive potential. If you cannot perceive your potential then you can never cultivate your potential. In addition, you must take the time to cultivate your potential. We often get excited about our capabilities; however, we never expand our capacity in order to realize our greatest potential.

In other words, the strength of your potential is only discovered through your willingness to stretch. The more we are challenged the more we are empowered to expand our capacity for greatness. Most of all, you must begin to express your potential. The expression of potential is different for every person.

For example, the expression of my potential is best demonstrated through the thoughts, ideas, products, services, books, etc.

For another person the expression of potential may look like a screenplay, artwork, sports, scientific discoveries, medical breakthroughs, etc.

Regardless of the form of expression, I know that you will live empty and unfulfilled until you make the decision to express your potential. The expression of your potential gives voice to your dreams, life to your vision, significance to your moments and activates your true power.

You must manifest your greatness

As a revolutionary thinker and leader, my work has impacted people around the world. I am grateful that my life is a source of empowerment to so many people. However, before anyone could ever benefit from my life, I had to make a non-negotiable decision to become who I was born to be.

I wish I could tell you that this journey is easy and that you will get there overnight. However, in a world that celebrates us for doing we are often criticized for being. As a result, I wasted a lot of time trying to be who other people wanted me to be instead of being who I was born to be.

There is no greatness without becoming and there is no becoming with authenticity. It is through our bravery to be vulnerable that we ultimately manifest our greatness. We do not bless the world by being a duplicate. We bless the world when we honor our difference. When you honor your difference you honor your potential.

Ultimately, your difference is how you manifest your greatness.

When you present anything but your authentic self to the world, you are playing small and you are robbing the world of your significance. Manifesting your greatness requires you to master your gifts.

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Success Advice

Here’s a Young Man’s Antidote for the Uncertainty of the Modern World

Why do a lot of young guys lack confidence in today’s world? 



How to boost your confidence
Image Credit: Midjourney

We all have been told that confidence is a key factor in achieving success and happiness in life. But what is it exactly? (more…)

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Success Advice

Toxic Leadership: 5 Ways to Identify a Bad Leader

if you have a leader who displays any of the toxic traits, it’s time to move on to greener pastures.



Toxic leadership
Image Credit: Midjourney

Let’s be honest, we’ve all crossed paths with a toxic leader in our careers at some point. Unfortunately, while some toxic leaders don’t even bother to hide their behaviour, some know very well how to conceal their true selves behind a strong-built facade. The latter is the most dangerous of the two. (more…)

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