When you’re committing to making progress on a goal, you have the strategic challenge of how to complete it.
Often goals don’t have a finite end (unlike tasks), so aiming to “complete” them is to use the wrong lens. Instead, it’s better to chip away at a goal in a mid-to-long-term sustainable manner.
The verb “hacking” is appropriate as it’s commonly used in the tech world to describe making incremental progress, often using resourceful tactics.
Hacking on a goal is a healthy framing as it also conjures the notion of being fun which is convenient as forming a habit has the best chance to endure if you derive pleasure from it.
If we took an example goal of “buying a house” and applied the strategy of Goal Hacking, you’d be thinking about incrementally saving money rather than expecting some kind of windfall. When you summon the idea of Goal Hacking, your mind will be open to creative ways of saving money to contribute towards the deposit. You’ll also be open to exploring alternative income streams, selling content online, participating in the gig economy or finding a new job entirely with higher wages to help leverage higher borrowing potential. If you took the goal of buying a house without a strategy, you’ll be forgiven for putting expectations on winning the lottery or inheriting money from friends or family, not healthy outlooks.
Let’s explore another example goal: “start your own business”. Applying the Goal Hacking strategy would suggest bootstrapping your idea into a project until it eventually turns into a business. This is a constructive outlook as the prevailing wisdom in this domain would be around going all-in, cramming intense sessions around your day. The problem with all-in is that it’s easy to burn out, much like The Tortoise and the Hare parable. If we explore this illustrative goal a little further, you don’t tend to start a business and be done with it, it has an indefinite continuation of possible improvements so why not start as a means to continue?
In summary; when you’re next pondering one of your lofty goals, apply the Goal Hacking strategy, realise that it’s possible with incremental steps, and think of it as a journey that you’ll enjoy.