Accomplish Difficult Goals With The 4-Layer Method

March 4, 2019
33 upvotes

God I fucking hate that title. I read too many business books.

We talk a lot about what goals we need to accomplish, but not a ton about HOW to accomplish those goals (especially if you've struggled in the past...and if you hadn't, would you even be here?)

Anyway, I picked up this useful method for accomplishing difficult goals in a productivity seminar, and thought I would pass it along.

I am assuming you are familiar with how to set effective goals. And, based on reading the sidebar, you know the general direction you're headed in, right? Good.

There's Always That One Fucking Thing

For almost every system of self improvement, there's going to be on element of it that's much harder than the others. Typically, this is something that goes against our natural tendencies, something we actively dislike and need to expend a lot of will power to get going (building a regular gym habit, for example).

It can also be something in which we have a knowledge gap - we're just not sure HOW to get started, and that extra bit of friction prevents us from getting started (I'm like this was game - I haven't done the work to really figure out where, when, and how to practice, and this additional step - sitting down, breaking out some books, and putting together a plan - has thus far added just enough difficulty to trigger my procrastination).

Whenever you have one of "those fucking things" - a goal that's particularly hard to get traction on - it's a good time to build in layers of accountability.

Four Layers of Accountability

When you're resistant to doing the work, outside accountability is often the key. The classic example is that if you're having trouble getting to the gym, you hire a trainer. Knowing that the trainer will be there - expects YOU to be there - provides the extra motivation to get you there.

When you have A LOT of resistance to moving forward, build in 4 layers of accountability to get yourself moving.

The 4 layers of accountability:

Internal (holding yourself accountable by tracking a concrete number and engaging with that number every day)

Mentor (hire a coach, consultant, or trainer to guide and track your progress)

Financial (give yourself a financial penalty if you fail)

Social (have other people keeping track of your progress)

Each of these layers should be personally motivating, for YOU. You should pick people that you really do not want to disappoint for social or mentor accountability, for example. For financial, it should be an uncomfortable sum of money - something that would truly hurt.

Some examples:

I want to lose weight, but I can't make it happen. Ok, let's build in four layers of accountability:

1.) hire a diet coach that monitors your diet each week. (mentor accountability)

2.) get a friend to lose the weight with you, and check in with each other. (social accountability)

3.) Use https://www.stickk.com/ to bet an uncomfortable amount of money that you will lose the weight. (financial accountability)

4.) Plot your weight on a graph and post it prominently above your desk (internal accountability)

I want to practice more game. Ok, let's build in four layers of accountability:

1.) Join a meet up group that practices game. (social accountability)

2.) Hire a coach that will give you a plan and check on your progress. (mentor accountability)

3.) Set a daily conversation target; track it, and do not go to sleep each night unless you hit your target. (internal accountability)

4.) Bet your friend that you will get 10 phone numbers in the next 30 days. (financial accountability)

Having four different layers of accountability is enough to get pretty much anyone moving on anything. Make sure the layers are things you

I can already hear some of you saying, "Hurr durr you just need to man up and do it bro, hurr durr hurr"

Well, sure. If you can do that, awesome. But if you're having trouble sticking to some of your goals, accountability is a good way of outsourcing enough will power to get you some forward momentum.

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