Deborah’s Goal Hacking (and Goal Setting Without the Triviality)

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You know that goals are probably important, but how do you do this goal setting thing or Deborah's goal hacking thing?

goal setting

It is not unusual to hear people talk about how important it is to set goals.  Sure, that is true, isn’t it?  But, goal setting can really become elusive.  It may even seem like it is impossible for us to achieve our goals, no matter how simplified.

Issues with Goals (including Frivolous Triviality)

It is possible that we may be guilty of thinking too hard or thinking of goals in terms of an abstract thing.  When we do that, it doesn’t make those goals concrete and it doesn’t make them necessarily attainable.

This is normal.  It is certainly not anything that we should blame ourselves for, but instead, look at how we can overcome the overthinking and view goals as something that we can attain.

The term “frivolous triviality” is a colorful phrase I came up with to describe this very thing.  The triviality aspect is what we do to the goals when we overthink them.  They become abstract, if they are not already, and become trivial by the nature of the inability to attain them.  When we overthink it further, it can become frivolous.

So, let’s discard the frivolous triviality and we can make goals that are not only not abstract but are attainable.  It is all in the goal-setting, where it all starts.

Moving past the abstract involves defining the objectives and therefore the intentional aspects of the goals we will set.

Types of Goals

There are different types of goals to consider when doing your goal setting.  It includes, but is not limited to, personal goal setting and career goal setting, among others.

But, even with these types of goals, it isn’t only about personal and work/career goals, but the larger picture of life goal setting, which includes both of these and is a broader scope.  It is about defining the objectives that affect our entire life and life scope.  But, let’s keep it simple (not over-thinking it) and take a look at these specific goals, to get an idea of what we are working with when it comes to goal-setting.

Personal Goals

Personal goals can include so many different areas.  Maybe you have plans for a healthier you.  Maybe you want to focus on fitness.  It can even include things like travel plans (discussed below) or housekeeping or research goals (to name a few).  Whatever it is that you want to accomplish, personally, that can fit into this category.  Or, you can put it under “other.”  However you categorize it, it is about the goal-setting and not necessarily the labeling, right?

Career Goals

In the process of asking yourself what goals you think you need to create, you may progress past personal, into your career.  For example, do you need to include goals to have at work? If so, you will want to include that, setting goals at work, along with the other goals you may be setting.

Think about what ideas for work goals cross your mind.  But, keep it simple.  You don’t have to have a list of 50 goals that need to be accomplished in three weeks, right?

When talking about setting work goals, maying setting your goals at work is the most helpful in getting the correct feel.  Just like setting personal goals may be easier sitting at your kitchen table.

Remember Those Goals

Other Types of Goals

If you have other types of goals, like, say, travel goals, maybe you want to set your goals on a sort of tour of your favorite travel places.  It could be a tour that is done via virtual reality. That helps to help keep the costs down and the goal setting productivity going.  And, any money saved may be money you can put toward your actual travel, eh?

Oh, and speaking of virtual reality, you may have shopping goals… Ok, somebody stop me.  I could come up with lists of goal categories (types) that is too long in and of itself (and like we said, they could fit under “personal”)…

The Goal Setting Process

There are several different methods (or strategies) you could use to handle the goal-setting process.  For example, on method may be involving a worksheet.  You might want to consider downloading a goal planning worksheet (hopefully free) or design your own, based on your own goals.

Ideally, the worksheet is a goal setting worksheet in PDF form, so that you can possibly fill it out digitally (if it is form-based).  When it is digital, like the form-fillable PDF, you have an option to save to your hard drive and/or print out at your convenience.  This also provides convenience if you are sharing the process with, say, a spouse, so that they can work with whichever version is most helpful for them.

That is just one suggestion, but it is a helpful one because it allows for growth.  So, instead of thinking of it as some complicated process, think of it as a template that you can use over and over, with each year.  Maybe, for the first year, it is just a list and from there, you evolve the process.

What is the next step?  Maybe what you are wondering is how do you set goals that will work for you (regardless of using a worksheet or list template 🙂 ).


Learn about Deborah E Anderson's Goal Hacking Strategy
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How Deborah’s Goal Hacking Helps the Goal Setting Process

One really key component of the goal-setting process is that you are actively involved in it.  If you are not, then it is really just a wish list and not a goal list or resolution list.  So, we could say that the key is that you will be actively involved in setting your goals.  Possibly, in this case, setting your goals for 2018.

But, how do we define goals?

One method of defining goals may be to do what I have coined as “Deborah’s Goal Hacking.”

Deborah’s Goal Hacking, as defined in its original form, by me, Deborah E (Anderson) could be compared to what is popular in content marketing, as growth hacking.  It is not based on growth hacking, nor is it derived from growth hacking.  However, often times, we understand concepts better when we can compare them to something similar, and especially in the case where a phrase may share a word, as is the case with the word, “hacking.”

Deborah is quite experienced at taking a process, reverse-engineering it into its basic form, and most importantly, the objectives which it was created to meet, and then streamlining it into the more efficient way of reaching that same objective – organizational efficiency at its best.

So, let’s compare what we know, even if it is using the word “hacking.”  In growth hacking, we are hacking the process of growth to determine what it is that is successfully reaching the objective of… you guessed it, growth.  In the same way, with (my) Deborah’s Goal Hacking, we are hacking the process of goal-setting to determine what it is that is successfully reaching the objective of… reaching/attaining goals.  And, finally, in the case of programmatic hacking, we are hacking the process of programming to determine what it is that is successful in reaching the programmatic objective. 

Pondering Your Goals

Deborah’s Definition of Goal Hacking in a Nutshell:
In all cases, we are

  1. reverse engineering success to determine what steps are needed to reach the defined success.
  2. Then, we are creating a more efficient way of getting there.

See, you got it!  If it is still confusing, read this section on goal hacking again 🙂 . And, remember, you heard it here, first, by Deborah Anderson.  If you read it anywhere else, one of two things happened, either

  • someone else came up with a similar phrase, incidental to Deborah’s research work (in her business psychology research doctorate work),
  • or someone “borrowed” it from Deborah and credit remains here. 🙂

The Goal-Setting Success Roadmap

There are a few different things that we should consider, in order to be successful in your goal-setting strategy.

  1. Avoid Getting Stuck

If you opted for using a template or worksheet, you will want to have the printable goal setting worksheet to help you keep those goals fresh in your mind.  Maybe you want to pin it to a corkboard or have it auto-open (digitally) on your computer when you start up your computer (or tablet or phone).  Find the option that works for you, to keep it fresh.

This ever-in-front-of-you technique is one of the ways that you can help to avoid getting stuck.

  1. Funnelling Down the Details

Unless you are aiming for complacency as one of your end-goals, you will want to aim for those concrete and specific goals. Without that effort, and focus on specificity, complacency is just too easy to attain, in a sort of never-ending cycle (or so it may seem).

We have probably all been there… that 30-second flicker of excitement as we realize the potential for success with our goals or resolutions, and then the feeling of getting nowhere. And, quite commonly, that second feeling (or experience) is a little longer lasting than the first 30 seconds of hopeful thinking.

What is it? The second feeling, that is? It is a lack of details and sinking into the shifting sand.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way! Instead, with the correct focus on detail(s), we can find not only the concrete goals (by definition) but the concrete foundation on which we can build the rest of our goal-setting empire.

Here is your mini-strategy to Funnel Down into the Details that are Needed to Keep You On Track:

  1. Using the most descriptive words possible, create your goal statements (a.k.a. objectives). If needed, create a brainstorming list of descriptors and weed through them until you find the description that jives and feels right to you. Remember, you can always modify as you go along through the system.
  2. Create a way to track your success in reaching your goals. This can be as basic as using a spreadsheet. If you are already using a goal-setting template, you may be able to expand on that for your tracking endeavors. Again, you can modify this process and improve it as you go through each iteration of goal-setting.
  3. Remember to visualize the outcome of what you want to achieve. Sometimes it helps to create a dream book, to help you create that visualization. Be creative, whether it is purchased stock images in a digital visualization, a hand-crafted, or artistically drawn work of art, the sky is the limit on how you want to visualize it in the best and most effective way!

By using this procedure, you can focus on what needs to be done (and what is fun!) and get the job done, feeling good about yourself as you do it!). #Motivation

  1. Break It Down Where It Belongs

Sometimes it is a frame of mind that holds us back when it comes to our success. Similar to the previous point, and making lists, finding details, and drilling down to what our goals truly are, we also need to get the correct mindset.

We have all heard of it. And, I doubt that there is anyone in the room, so to speak, who hasn’t done it themselves. That is, we psych ourselves out of something. Oh, we start by saying all the right things, that we can do it. We may have all the right sticky notes on the refrigerator and even belong to a support group. But, then, all it takes is one small sentence, one time, that maybe the task is too difficult and… well, the seed is planted. Except, it is the wrong seed! In fact, remove it now! Dig it back up and get rid of that nay-saying seedling!

You know what I have found to be the most helpful in ensuring that those goals (and dreams) become less intimidating? Get out there and do something! Even if it is a tiny step, do it. So, let’s say the goal is writing a 1500 word blog post. Let’s make it smaller, but more importantly, do something. Yes, we need the detail (like our last step), so the detail of 1500, as a number, for our quantity of words is helpful. It allows us to track the goal.

But, do it! Sit down and start typing… keep typing… for however long you want. Then, mark down that you have done what? You have typed up a blog post. Even if it is the worst thing you have ever written, you have taken the first step! You have gotten past that point of intimidation!


Fears: To not reach the forgotten goal and feel defeated instead.
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  1. Be Accountable Where It Counts

By tracking your goals (after you have started them, like our last step!) you can encourage yourself.

Yes, I realize that all of these points can start to feel like they are making your eyes go cross-eyed. Hey, I’m writing this article and I feel cross-eyed! And, I teach this stuff!

But, I am tracking the goal, even for this article. For example, I have 30 articles for you, for this series on resolutions. I am tracking the series to ensure that I provide you with 30 articles.

As a part of my writing process, I also create outlines for each of my articles (sometimes multiple outlines!). By doing so, I am able to track the content that is being provided, even within each article, to understand the flow.

Without boring you too much, I also track the content on other levels. Yes, I have been called a-retentive when it comes to programming and more:). I did say I was sparing you, right?

What I want to point out here, is to find a system that helps you to track your goals in a way that helps you. And, as we have been pointing out throughout this article, you can always evolve with your system. You do not have to marry any system or strategy by the end of this article. Instead, be happy, keep happy, and keep that flow going, building your confidence as you go (and revisiting whatever helps you to track the goals toward your success).

Live Your Life to Its Fullest

Even if you have not fully defined it yet, the meaning of “fullest,” live your life in that direction. If you feel that you may be starting to stress, stop. Take that deep breath. Find that thing which helps you to relax, whether that is a cup of herbal tea,
or laying down on a chaise lounge and letting the summer breeze gently blow across your relaxed body. Find what helps you to relax and bathe yourself in that, as you gently define and track your goal success map, moving forward.


Desire: To develop attainable and successful goals.
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The following short list includes a couple of examples of the of setting goals. Challenge yourself to evaluate them in terms of the exercise itself (goal-setting) and the content, to see where you may be able to practice the second exercise of implementation, in your goals journey. If you find it helpful, keep notes or write in a journal, as we move forward to explore more and more in our Goals and Resolutions Challenge in these 30 articles, as they unfold.

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Ok, now that we have learned about goal-setting and Deborah's goal hacking, let's put it in place! Sit down and set those goals. More importantly, get them down in writing, or in digital form!

And, don't forget to check out the resources, above, that may help you to come up with some goal ideas.

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