Goal setting is not the way… This is;

I used to think goal setting was the Way.

It is not.

Goal setting is the positioning of the outcome that you wish to deliver. 

The Way, is in the habits that you form in service of attaining the goal.

Your goal is realised if you focus on playing the better game, not putting your efforts into blindingly hitting the target.

I had a conversation the other day on achieving more, hitting more of the results, and we ended up discussing the desired outcome longer than we did in discussing how to play better football.

Football is my game, but any sport will do.

I like the sports analogy, and that is one of my fall-back references.

How do we play better football? 

When we learn to play better football, we will ultimately score more goals, and when we look at the game we played, we know how to improve even further.

According to an article published in the journal Science, Human behaviour is 93 percent predictable. Researches found that despite the perception that our actions are random and predictable, the opposite is true. 

Humans and our efforts to be individually human are based on regular patterns that are entirely predictable. We are sheep, not humans. We are easily herded. We do daily what we always do if allowed.

In short, we are creatures of habit.

“The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”

Barack Obama

If you want to achieve something different from your expected output, you need to work on your habits, not resetting your goal or challenging yourself just to achieve a result. 

Setting a goal is one thing. How you play the game is the other.

I have been getting more success against my goals in recent years than I have ever achieved because I concentrate on my habits.

I am learning to play better football… here is what is working for me.

You have to learn to play better football.

  1. Work out what matters – what is it that you want to achieve – this is where you set the goal, the desired outcome. What position of the league to you want to finish in. You want to win the game by how much?
  2. Please keep it simple. You are not setting out to win the World Cup just yet. Play the one game at a time. You can have other disciplines that support your pursuit, but the game you are playing should be your absolute primary focus. A footballer can play golf but is a footballer. They are not a footballer-golfer. You have one job.
  3. Look at what current habits are stopping you from getting there. Are you playing the game with the wrong boots? Are you in the wrong position?
  4. Identify the rules of your life game that are absolutely non-negotiable. Some things are just that. Must do’s. You always need a Goalie in a football game unless he gets sent off – then your game is likely up.
  5. What new habits will get you to your goal – how do you play better football? This discussion is the bit that takes place in the locker room of your head. It is in mind. You have the answer to this.
  6. Create a new habit checklist so that it keeps you focused and be consistent. Have it visible and in your face. Screenshot and make it your iPhone picture is an example of getting in your face. Share the tactics with the team, you.
  7. Set a habit achievement goal – I will make this a habit for 60 days and when you miss a day. Start again. You failed. Do over. Be tough. Sport is an obvious win-lose that is in the public domain. Go public with it in your mind locker.
  8. Remove all the obstacles by being prepared and organised, getting things ready the night before, or putting things out of harm’s reach. You are also the kit man. Most great leaders are.
  9. Take action, and don’t stop. Do not miss a day, even if it is weaker than the regular game you play, but still take the field. Go over the gameplay later. Know what is the right thing to do when.
  10. Get your eyes on the game, not the f*cking scoreboard. You will run into a wall or out of the stadium if you are not watching where you are going, Forrest Gump.
  11. Learn by reviewing your day and understanding the frictions that rubbed up against you setting the new pattern, or take the time to celebrate the small wins. A glance at the scoreboard is timely.
  12. Improve your productivity by making some tactical changes as you go. Small changes are acceptable. It is sensible that you make little tweaks. Massive changes are setting a new habit in the service of a different goal. Don’t do that. That’s a scrappy game of football.
  13. Get to the final whistle and assess what has changed, and be brutally honest with yourself. You are the team captain, be that Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday. Give yourself that rousing speech (different football, same energy needed – you get the point)
  14. Did you win the game? There are no substitutes for winning, but understand what has been won or lost. Sometimes losing is winning if you look deep enough.
  15. Completed. You have finished one season. What is next? What is the new tournament that you are entering? How will you play this game?

I don’t always win the game, but I play better football.

Playing better football is more fun, that is also the win.

In the long run, though, I will win my world cup.


Beijing’s famous Wangfujing Street

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s