Goals Vs. Strategies & Habits

Recently I was listening to a podcast and the host began to discuss something he heard recently from David Goggins. If you don’t know who David Goggins is then I suggest you read his book titled, “Can’t Hurt Me”. This book details his life from childhood, to becoming a decorated Navy Seal, to his decorated career as an ultra marathon runner. His story is incredible, inspiring, and overall unbelievable. David Goggins has been called the toughest man in the world, and I must say I’d have to agree with that. 

The point of all of this is how he has done so much by having an attitude of progress and toughness. The host of the podcast I was listening to mentioned how David Goggins did not believe in having goals in the same way as most people. He believes that goals are only good for the time in which you decide to pursue them. After that, it’s entirely based on your chosen strategy and daily habits. Again, I’d have to agree…

Everyone sets goals for fitness, nutrition, weight loss, muscle gain, all of that. But at the same time, many of those people fail to achieve those goals. 

Why is that? Aren’t goals the thing you need most in order to succeed? It’s all about ambition…right?

Personally, I think that goals are borderline useless. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is important to aspire to achieve things. Setting goals is important, however, if you only set goals you will likely fail to achieve them. 

Setting goals is the first of many steps needed to achieve legitimate success in any field, especially with things like weight loss, building muscle, or being a healthier person overall. 

The idea that you can write something down in a journal or on a whiteboard and it will just come true because you decided to do so is a fantasy. 

So what else do you need to do? The answer is establish a measurable strategy. 

Having a strategy might be the most important thing you do when trying to achieve a long term goal. This is because a strategy can be audited. When things go well in a strategy you know that you should keep doing them. The same goes for if something is not working, you can take a look at your strategy and change the piece that is not working. This puts you in a position where it is very difficult to fail. Everything is measurable, and objective. As a result, everything can be changed or altered. 

When you have a strong strategy all you have to worry about is whether or not you actually perform the required tasks. This is where habits come in. Habits are things you build and perform on a daily basis to put yourself in the best possible position to do the things you know you need to do. A good habit can take something that is complex, and simplify it. A good example of this would be taking a lengthy morning routine. Say you decided your strategy was going to be working out early in the morning, having a protein shake after, packing your lunch for the day, all before you had to go to work. Good habits for this strategy would be things that make accomplishing these tasks easier or more intuitive. 

Good examples of these habits would be:

  1. Putting out your workout and work clothes the night before
  2. Having food cooked and available in your refrigerator
  3. Having your protein shake prepared the night before.
  4. Having your workout bag packed and at your bedside
  5. Having your workout pre written

Doing a combination of these little habits set you up to more easily accomplish the tasks outlined in your strategy. You could certainly still accomplish your tasks to be successful that day, however it would make those things a little more time consuming and annoying. This puts up a small barrier which could lead to you not performing the task at all. 

You see, it all trickles down and then back up again. 

You set the goal.

Outline the strategy.

Decide on and perform little habits each day.

If you do those things, you win that day. You put together a few weeks worth of daily wins, and now you start to see results. It is truly that simple. 

Now all you have to do is go do it.