Hey there, Dean here. I run content and SEO at AppSumo. Here, I write and share about productivity, leadership, money, psychology, marketing, and more.
10 steps to set goals so you achieve absolutely nothing
It’s the beginning of a new year. Every single person you follow online is trying to tell you how to set goals. Business consultants write about setting business goals. Fitness trainers talk about setting fitness goals. Life coaches can’t stop nudging you about setting life goals.
There are enough guides, tips, and tricks on how to set your New Year’s resolution to accomplish what you desire in life. But what about people who don’t want to achieve their goals?
So in this article, I’m not going to talk about goal-setting. If you’re interested in how to set goals for the new year, this is not for you. You can click here and browse through the many search results on Google.
Instead, I’m here to show you what I called goal unsetting, so you can accomplish nothing for the year, get yourself to a worse place than the previous year, and create damage that may take many years to recover from.
Our beliefs—how we perceive ourselves and the world—directly affect our behavior in day-to-day life. The first step of successful goal-setting is to reset the mindset—so do a failed goal-setting.
It’s common if it takes some time for this new mindset to become ingrained in your brain. But fret not, it’s far easier to follow a destructive path—especially in the beginning—compared to making a positive change.
Here are the three most essential mindsets you’ll need:
Successful people believe in themselves. They think big. Then, they set realistic expectations, and employ practical strategies. You don’t want that. What you need is to believe in yourself so much that you disregard anything sensible and reasonable.
It’s always possible to achieve anything you want regardless your current position and available resources. Anyone who tells you otherwise is too dumb to see the truth and destined to live a mediocre life forever—or they just feel envious of your future success.
Because you can achieve anything, set as many goals as possible. This is not the time to think about what you need to do to accomplish them, in fact, you don’t need to think about that part at all. You’ll eventually achieve all of them because—you wanted to.
For anything you desired and didn’t get, it must have been someone else’s fault. You’re the perfect human being who is destined for greatness. Therefore, it’s never your fault.
Remember: It’s never your responsibility to get anything you want. And it’s always someone else’s problem if you don’t get what you want.
Look at the successful entrepreneurs, the best-selling authors, the famous artists. What do they all have in common?
They're successful. But did you hear of them before they became successful? No, you got to know them because of one of their big breaks. It basically means all you need to succeed in life is just a special incident, a lucky break, or an overnight event.
Some people will tell you that they worked hard to accomplish what they have today. But they said this because:
Now you have the “right” mindsets in place. They’re going to give you an unrealistic outlook up to the point where taking action is almost possible. However, that alone is not enough.
One of the most potent influences on our behavior is our environment. The strongest mind can easily bend in an opposing environment given that the environment provides you the pleasures—sense of tribe, sense of accomplishment, or peace of mind.
To make things work in your favor, you need to develop an environment that guarantees failure.
You need motivation to start taking action, but not all kinds of motivation work. Or in other words, not all kind of motivation comes easily. Intrinsic motivation that lasts takes a long time to develop, so it’s not something you should go after.
Instead, motivate yourself with motivational quotes, images, and videos. Then tell yourself that you’re going to take action—preferably massive—to achieve what you desire—preferably massive—in a short time.
If you don’t start taking action—which is very likely to happen, go back and seek more extrinsic motivation. If it still doesn’t work, you have to go back to the drawing board and dream bigger because your ambition is too small to create the momentum.
To protect your mind, live alone in a small space and limit your movement. Try your best not to leave your room—or better not to leave your bed. Do everything—sleep, work, play—on the bed.
At the same time, isolate yourself from people. Stop talking to your family members and friends since they won’t tell you anything “good.” All they’re going to do is to try and talk you out of ruining your life. If you need friends, go online to make virtual like-minded friends.
You have so much to do—setting bigger goals and watching motivational videos; going outside is a total waste of time.
You’re the average of five people you associate with. It’s time to create a social circle that supports what you want to achieve. You want to form an echo chamber that tells you what you already know and believe, at the same time, weed out all feedback that tells you otherwise.
Join all the groups and masterminds online that strengthen your mindsets. Listen only to people who tell you that you can achieve your goals regardless of how delusional it sounds.
Distance yourself from anyone who tells you about managing risks and focusing on marginal gains—they are here to kill the grand mission you create for yourself.
We’re halfway there. You’re almost destined to fail in life with the appropriate mindset and environment in place. It’s time to step up the game and make sure there is no turning back. It’s time to take action.
Yes, you heard (read) me right. It takes an effort to fail real hard.It’s difficult to change for the better in the beginning and more comfortable as time progresses. But to fail, it’s easier in the beginning and harder as time goes on. It has to do with our embedded behavior to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
Positive change is painful because you need to make an effort to do things differently which is usually uncomfortable. But as you get used to it, pain is reduced and the reward you feel for completing tasks is greatly increased.
On the flip side, failing requires no effort at the beginning. All you need to do is to immerse yourself in instant gratification. But as time goes on, your brain will sense that it’s no way to live and it will want to change course. Your brain wants to save you—and this is where things get harder.
In order not to turn back, you’ll need to develop some “supporting” habits up front. These habits will further weaken your physiology—mental and physical states—and kill every tiny glimpse of productivity right as it appears.
This step is easy after you put steps one to six in place. But the people who really love you will probably still remain by your side. They say they’re trying to help you, but the truth is that they’re trying to convince you to take the better path.
NO! Remember: Your goal is to ruin your life. Turn inward to protect it.
Now that you’re seriously ill and poisoned by doing steps one through seven. It’s time to take things up a notch. Destroy your financial stability. In fact, that’s easy to do because managing your finances takes more effort.
Submit to these impulsive spending habits:
Shaking up your finances is a guaranteed way to add more stress to your life. However, the financial burden can sometimes nudge you to change course. Resist the urge and release the mental tension by impulsively buying more unnecessary stuff.
Three habits you need to stop right now if you’re practicing them:
Then, replace them with one thing: your mobile device. There is countless “useful” information and news on the Internet today that you have to consume to be successful.
The goal is to stick to your smartphone as long as possible because this is the era of mobile revolution and—why not.
You aspire to great deeds—to accomplish your long list of goals. Managing your diet and sleeping more is a total waste of time.
You won’t have time to think about what to eat, so the best solution is to consume whatever you can get your hands on. You probably also have very little time to sleep, so a maximum of 4 hours of sleep a day is all you need.
It’s a lot of work to ruin your own life. And often, it takes an equal amount of work to transform your life for the better. It’s not my intention to help you ruin your life. Instead, I’m trying to illustrate some of the things we do unconsciously that will eventually take us to a worse place.
One destructive thing we can do unconsciously is to set big goals without boundaries and then overwork ourselves by accomplishing nothing at the end of the day. Yes, we should always think big and take bold moves. But at the same time, acknowledge that success is all about doing on the right things, taking small consistent action, and focusing on the margin gains.
The changes we make may seem significant to us because of their novelty but remember: it’s just a tiny part of the process, and the process is all that matters.