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  • Writer's pictureSimon Barman-Jenssen

How I reach my personal goals

Updated: Oct 1, 2019

As some of you may know, I've always set my goals as high as possible. Some of them so astronomically high that I've tended to loose my matter of perspective. Intermediate objectives has come to be a life saver in these situations and has helped me gather my thoughts, organise and execute the right activities to reach these monoliths. This is an explanation of how I cope with my day to day schedule and personal goals.

Choosing the right goal

For starters, its important to know what goal to set for yourself. Shaolin monks have a saying which is "Aim for the impossible". The friend to told me about this, works as a stunt performer for major film productions (ex: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) and lives and works by the Shaolin saying. Personally I've found it a bit cheesy, but I've learned that its not as stupid as it sounds. My friend explained it this way:

"When you set your goals impossibly high, you will always learn stuff along the way. If I wanted to learn a stunt without wires or airbags, I have to learn a lot of different techniques first and then, one day, the impossible suddenly might be possible."

Now let me break it down. If I set myself the goal that within two years I will learn how to do a double summersult. Well thats great. Maybe I make it. What then? Thats the thing about setting impossible goals. You typically don't reach them, but you work towards them. If instead of saying a double summersault I said a quadruple summersault, I would have to learn a double along the way as a part of the progression towards a quad. Thats the basic idea. Never set your end goals to low.

Ground training

Just as a stunt performer, you can't just go out and do something without practice and training. That goes for personal and professional settings as well. As I said in the introduction, goals can be hard to tackle when looked upon at as a whole. For that reason it makes sense to break them up in smaller, intermediate goals. Similar to milestones in project management, these intermediate goals helps you direct your efforts to achieve what you set out to do. Its a plan for progression.

When you start a project there are three factors that define the boundaries which you'll have to work within. The same goes for personal planning. Financial situation, time and deliverance. Changing on will impact the others. If you shorten or prolong the timespan, it will result in higher/lower costs. If you change the financials, it will affect the deliverance. These factors are important to remember whilst setting your intermediate goals. Do they fit what you want to achieve and do you have the necessary resources to reach them?

After finding your boundaries you can start planning. The way I set my milestones is by pure logic. "what does it take to make it work?"If I want to do a quadruple summersault I'll have to improve my agility. I will have to learn the propper technique and I'll have to learn a single, double and triple before reaching my end goal. And there you have your intermediate goals. I find the most efficient way to achieve these is by not specifying them too much. Having som leeway might help with both the angle of attack and motivation. Specifying every step can lead you in the wrong direction since you might stumble upon unforeseen obstacles. It might also take you longer if you micro manage every step of your plan, killing your motivation. which brings me to my next point.

Learning motivation

One could say that good work ethic is closer to motivation than anything else. Its the ability to stay productive even whilst performing abnormal og "boring" tasks. This is an ability which can be learned through different techniques. One of them, as Burnie states, is by forcing yourself to create rutines. Lets use the same example as we did earlier. I want to learn how to do a quadruple summersault. To do so I'll have to reach a set of intermediate goals. And to reach them I (among other things) have to build my physical strength. Lets say I have to work out every day. A good way to stay motivated is then to note every day I actually do so. If I'm able to do it for an entire week, it would be sad to see the streak be broken. It builds on the easy psychology of the streak on Snapchat. Is it high enough, you take time to continue it. Its an achievement.

In a study og work setting this could be reading two pages of a report every day. for every day you do so, you note it on a post-it note. When you break the streak, you have to start over.


By taking the time to put an effort into your daily routines, I believe you'll reach your personal goals both more efficiently, and with a higher level of motivation. Learning to enjoy the twist and turns on your way to the end goal, can possibly be worth just as much as what you set out to achieve. Just reach for the clouds, find the milestones to do so and build routines to keep motivated and focused. As the Shaolin munks say, "aim for the impossible".

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