Hans Johnson

Leveraged Goal Setting: The Secret To Getting More From Less

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If you've read my report on strategic goal setting, you know I'm a believer in the power of goals when done strategically and scheduled into habits.

In this quick post, I want to talk a little about Leverage.

If you're doing a year end review like I am right now, one of the most important things to focus on is the concept of "low hanging fruit".

Essentially and minimalistically speaking, if you do nothing else, you want to identify the one thing that if you did it (or stopped doing it in some cases) would have the absolute biggest impact and potential for results on every other area of your life.

Remember this: less is more.

For example, what's the one thing (in your personal, spiritual, financial life)... that if you do it, and accomplish it this coming year will make the absolute biggest difference?

Alternatively, what's the one thing... that if you stop doing it, stop worrying about it, stop giving it energy and life to it... will make the biggest difference to everything else?

Think of it this way, there are things in life you have control over. And others you don't.

For example: Investing
  • This was a really good year, up over 20% using the True Wealth Formula. One question I'm asking myself is, what's in store for next year? How do we protect gains and keep momentum going?
  • There are things I have control over... my personal focus, consistency and discipline in following and applying systems, my effort towards improving my trading skills, etc.
  • Then there are those elements I have no control over. The biggest one being the market. I can't make it do what I want it to do (keep going up).
  • I have to position myself (and my investments) to be resilient, robust and "anti-fragile" by being aware of and paying attention to some big picture leading indicators or trends, focusing on cash flow assets and applying good risk management disciplines.
  • I have to let my winners run as long as possible, and cut any losers short.
  • I can make predictions, or God forbid listen to the predictions of others... but I cannot, and they cannot guarantee any of them will come true.
  • Predictions are speculations. I have no control over them, neither does anyone else. They cannot be relied on as a core investment strategy but we can allocate some capital and energy towards some shrewd speculations if we have the right system in place.
So when it comes to investing, after doing some big picture evaluating, I'm looking for the one major thing, that I have control over, that I can do better or differently this year (or stop doing) that is going to have the biggest impact on my results. It might be 2 things, but the more items that get added to my "to do list" the lower my chances of achieving any of them AND the higher likelihood I will get a poorer ROI on my efforts - more equals less not more.

Another example: Relationships
  • I can experience more meaningful, fulfilling relationships and keep myself out of the RMB box (Rich Miserable Bastard) by investing quality time, being mindful of my personal attitude and mindset, adding value to others lives and owning my own crap.
  • I have control over me only. I do not have control over and cannot change others.
  • If my happiness is dependent and contingent on someone else changing who they are or their behavior, I'm probably engaging in passive aggressive manipulative behavior towards them (in order to try and change them and get them to perform the way I want them to).
When it comes to relationships, this is a no brainer. For me, the single biggest factor is my personal relationship with the Creator. Spending quality time with Him, asking Him to lead me, to mold and shape my heart and impart His identity and character on me is going to make a bigger impact than anything else by a factor of 10:1.

So in summary, to create leveraged results this year:
  1. Identify and visualize the one big thing that if accomplished by year end would have the biggest impact.
  2. Put your focus on getting that done, make it part of your daily/weekly schedule and routine.
  3. Put your time, energy and focus into what you can control not what you can’t control.
  4. Identify those things or issues you cannot control and set them aside, you will only waste precious energy putting any focus on them.
Taking a moment to do the above may end up being THE most important thing you do all year long. It is the secret to getting more from less!