Last year I wrote a book on goal setting.  I am now in the process of editing that book.  As I edit, I will post excerpts here on my blog.  This is from chapter two:

Two types of goals

There are essentially two types of goals.

There are achievement goals.  Achievement goals are done when you hit them.  You might also call this type of goal a static goal.

Achievement goals look like this:

I will run a marathon.  I will climb a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado.  I will donate $1,000 to my favorite charity.  I will buy a new house.

When you are done with an achievement goal, you are done.  You set a deadline, and you hit it.  Until you hit the achievement goal, you have not hit the goal.  The goal is static.  It is out there somewhere, waiting for you.

Even better, there are habit goals.  You might call this a dynamic goal.  Dynamic comes from the Greek word, dynamis, meaning power.  From dynamis, English gets words like dynamite, a powerful explosive, and even dinosaur, which quite literally means “a powerful lizard”.

A dynamic goal is a powerful goal.  I like to call dynamic goals habit goals.

Habit goals will carry you to the achievement goals.  The end goal is the same.  You will still run that marathon, climb that 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado, donate $1,000 to your favorite charity, or buy the new house.

Dynamic goals, habit goals, though, will fundamentally change who you are.

This is because you become your habits.  When setting habit goals, you focus on the habit that will carry you toward your goals.

“I will run a marathon” is an achievement goal.

“I will run a mile every day” is a habit goal.

You can train for a marathon, hit your goal, and be done.

We probably all know former athletes who are now out of shape.  They hit their achievement goal, they got the medal, and they quit.

And, we probably all know that guy, or girl in our town who keeps going.

In my town, there are several old guys out jogging every day.  Day after day.  Year after year.  They just don’t quit.

At some point in their life, they set habit goals.  They decided to run every day.   Maybe they run marathons, maybe not.  Either way, they are runners.  They have become their habits.

Both achievement goals and habit goals are fine.  In fact, I recommend both.  I sign up for challenges quite often.  There are multiple medals hanging near my desk.  The medals represent achievement goals.  They represent targets that I hit.

I set the achievement goals because I wanted to develop the habits required to hit the achievement goals.

You can do the same.

Let’s say you want to write a book.

That is an achievement goal.  Writing a book, editing the book, publishing and selling the book.  Those are all achievement goals.  You could write the book and be done.

You would have hit the achievement goal.

Or, maybe you want to become a writer.  That’s a habit goal.  How do you become a writer?

Well, you write.  That’s how.  Every day you write.  Over the weeks, months, and years, you get better.  Of course, your writing will likely turn into books.

The two goals support each other.  You can pick the type of goal you like.  But, I am going to suggest we focus on habit goals.