The Best Way to Set Goals

• 4 min read
The Best Way to Set Goals

‌‌How to Automate Your Life

Maybe the annual review series I've been writing is too long for you. Maybe, you only have one or two goals for the new year and that's it.

Well, then this letter is for you.

Here's the best goal setting framework I've found. It's WOOH (Why, Obstacle, Outcome, Habit). As in WOOH I'm going to actually achieve this goal (lol).

W - Why

First ask yourself why 5 times.

Figure out WHY you really want to achieve a goal. Sometimes, after figuring out the deep and real WHY for doing something, you realize that you need to set a different goal!

O - Outcome

What does the outcome look like? Describe it with your 5 senses. Make it real.

O - Obstacle

This is where you list out all the obstacles for your goal.

What is all the stuff that will make it hard to do what I want to do? What's the good I need to sacrifice for the great?

It's important to get specific here.

H - Habit

To achieve your goal create a lazy habit.

A lazy habit is a small, easy habit that's impossible to say no to. A lazy habit is a habit that even the laziest, sickest, most tired version of you can do.

When you want to start reading, only commit to reading a page a day. When you start writing, only commit yourself to writing a sentence a day in your journal. Doing the habit is much more important the quality or quantity of the habit. - From my lazy habits article

It's important that this lazy habit takes into account the obstacles you listen above. Write an if/then plan.

If obstacle #1 happens,

Then I will do this.

For example, let's say you want to walk everyday after lunch. What are you going to when you have a lunch meeting? What about when there's bad weather?

Having a contingency plan helps.

If there is bad weather, then I will walk inside for 10 minutes after lunch.

WOOH is pretty easy and dope way to achieve goals. Try it out! See what you think.

Be More Alive

Recently I was reminded of this beautiful moment from The Lunchbox.

I love movies like Lunchbox because they go beyond the productivity advice I outlined in the earlier part of this letter. They hit something deep within your soul.

It is good to be “healthy, wealthy, and wise,” but what makes us alive and real is journeying into the central mysteries of life, where we learn about dismemberment, death, dissolution, sex, passion, and ecstasy, and see the beauty of it all. - Carol S Pearson, Awakening the Heroes Within

There is a moment in The Lunchbox that I referenced in a previous article.

The protagonist comes across an old box set that his dead wife used to love. He puts in the first tape and after he watches that puts in the next episode. He keeps watching episode after episode and he can't stop. He stays up all night.

He is reminded how his wife used to watch the show every Sunday while he would be outside fixing his bike, doing his chores, or smoking.

Once in a while, he would glance back at the living room for a second and he would see the reflection of his wife on the TV screen laughing at a joke. He would glance over at the reflection, then go back to whatever he was doing.

He realizes what he was trying to find watching episode after episode was another chance to see the reflection of his dead wife’s laughing face. He was looking to re-create one of the happiest memories he had of her. And instead of going back to his chores, or smoking, or fixing his bike… he wished he had kept on looking back then.

It's a scene that reminds me of this crossroads we find ourselves at.

In 2021, there will be moments of great beauty. And in those moments, I hope that your heart will be open. And I hope that you will recognize those moments of great beauty, and when they come... look for a little while longer.

The only way to keep your heart open is to make sure you don't let the trials of 2020 close you down. Let those struggles open you up. There is no doubt that life is hard. But there will always be moments of great beauty that you can't let yourself pass up. If you don't let yourself feel the pain, you will never feel the joy. Nietzsche puts it beautifully:

Only great pain, the long, slow pain that takes its time... compels us to descend to our ultimate depths... I doubt that such pain makes us "better"; but I know it makes us more profound... In the end, lest what is most important remain unsaid: from such abysses, from such severe sickness, one returns newborn, having shed one's skin... with merrier senses, with a second dangerous innocence in joy, more childlike and yet a hundred times subtler than one has ever been before.

If let yourself feel the pain, you'll be able to feel the childlike joy. And you will be able to realize the happy accidents of life.  

Because sometimes even the mistakes in life, the wrong trains that we take, lead to the right stations.

Happy 2021!

Till next time,


← Here it is...The Secret to Happiness (Pt 1)
5 Steps To Achieve The Best Year of Your Life →

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