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Bulletproof Goals – The 6S Framework To Turn Any Outcome Into A Reality!

Written by: Michael Bauman, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

It’s that time of year again; the time where we drag ourselves out of our festive food and alcohol comas, to take a cold hard look at our bodies, our careers, and our lives. Inevitably, we resolve that this will be the year; without a doubt, that we lose that extra little bit of weight. It will be the year that our businesses grow, and we hit the revenue numbers that have always seemed to be just out of reach. This will be the year where we spend more time with our families and actually take those vacations that we have been promising them for so long!

You sit down, pen heavy with the weight of your resolve and determination to seize the day; to be the masters of your fate, the captains of your souls. With eloquence and prose to rival the works of Shakespeare, you pen your resolutions and goals. After an hour or two, your constitution lays before you, the Magna Carta that will govern the freedoms you will create this year. Exhilarated by all you have accomplished; you decide you deserve a pat on the back and a lovely glass of red wine to celebrate a job well done.


Fast forward to February. It’s bitter cold. You barely pay attention to the sheet of paper that gusts by; a sheet of paper containing your goals and resolutions for the year, forgotten, blown away, like your gym membership and promised vacations. You hunker further down into your coat and pick up the pace to a routine that appears little changed from that of last year.


In a US News and World Report, 80% of New Year resolutions fail by mid-February with only 8% making it all the way to the end of the year!1


So, why are all these resolutions failing? What are we doing wrong?


One of the biggest reasons why New Year Resolutions fail is we do not take outcomes and turn them into behaviors; and we do not take behaviors and turn them into habits.


I am going to lay out the exact step-by-step 6S goal framework that I use with my clients to bulletproof resolutions and goals and turn any outcome into a reality!


6S Goal Framework

  • S1: Set SMART goals

  • S2: SKILLS to Behaviors and Habits

  • S3: SCHEDULE: Calendar, BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits

  • S4: SURROUNDINGS: Make it easy as possible to succeed

  • S5: SETBACKS: Plan in advance

  • S6: SUPPORT: Get people around you to help you


These 6 categories are the biggest reasons why people fail at achieving their New Year Resolutions (or any goal for that matter)!


S1: SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based)


SMART Goals have been discussed and written about a lot, so I will not spend too much time on them here.


While it is important to take a goal like “I want to lose weight” and turn it into “I want to lose 30lbs or 15kgs by summer” this, by itself, is still not enough. Why?


You cannot directly control it. What do I mean by that? Well, if we could directly control outcomes, then everyone would have six-packs, be millionaires, and be incredibly happy.


What can we control? Our behaviors and our habits (for the most part at least...COVID has shown us quite clearly how little control we have over our lives).


S2: SKILLS:


Once you have a created a list of SMART goals (ideally in all areas of your life: physically, relationally, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) you want to examine each one, brainstorm a list of 5-10 skills you would need to develop to accomplish your goals, and then break those skills down into specific behaviors.


The best way to do this would be to talk with someone who has already achieved what you are wanting to accomplish and ask them the most important skills they honed to achieve their success.


If you do not have access to someone like this, there are millions of books and resources with the exact frameworks and systems utilized by ultra-successful people that you can leverage to achieve your own goals.


FOCUS MAPPING (Dr. BJ Fogg Tiny Habits)2

Focus Mapping, an incredibly powerful technique developed by Stanford University behavioral scientist and researcher, Dr. BJ Fogg, is one of the most important aspects of behavioral design because it helps you discover your Golden Behaviors.


Golden Behaviors: behaviors that are effective in achieving your outcome (have impact), you want to do them (already are motivated), and you can do them (ability).

  1. Step 1: Take all the behaviors you just created and write them on index cards so you can arrange them visually.

  2. Step 2: Take a piece of paper, draw a vertical line down the middle of the page and write high impact at the top and low impact at the bottom of the page. Arrange all the behaviors by their effectiveness at achieving your goal with the most effective at the top, down to the least effective at the bottom.

  3. Step 3: Draw a horizontal line across the same page and write low feasibility on the left side and high feasibility on the right side. Now, arrange the index cards by the realistic ability you have to actually insert them into your current routine and schedule.

  4. Step 4: In the top right quadrant you are left with your golden behaviors: the ones with both high impact and high implementation ability. Focus solely on these behaviors and ignore all the rest.


S3: SCHEDULING


Now, that you have your Golden behaviors you must schedule them into your routine.

There are two ways to do this...


1. Put it in your calendar: This seems so simple, but you would be surprised at how few people actually do it. If you have an extremely important business meeting, you put it into your calendar, right? Well, why don’t you also schedule in the important behaviors that will help you create the life you want to live?


2. Use Dr. Fogg’s Tiny Habits Recipe to create habits that stick!


If I gave you a tool that research has shown would help your business perform better than 74% of businesses in a similar market, would you use that tool?


Of course! Without hesitation!


Dr. Fogg’s Tiny Habit Recipe is essentially this tool, but for personal behavior change. It leverages the power of implementation intentions. This is the simple “After I... I will...” framework.


A meta-analysis of 85 different studies with collective data from 8,155 participants found that the typical person who set an implementation intention did better than 74% of participants who did not!3


Here is Dr. Fogg’s Tiny Habit Recipe...


After I [anchor prompt] I will [insert tiny habit] then celebrate!


I already mentioned the power of an implementation intention (After I... I will...) but let me explain what an anchor prompt is.


There are three different types of prompts or cues in our lives: person, context, and anchor.

  1. Person prompt: prompts from people (e.g., internally trying to remember a grocery list or asking someone to remind you). They work, but they are not the most reliable.

  2. Context prompt: prompts from your environment (e.g., reminders on your phone or calendar). While these are generally more effective, we can also get prompt fatigue and simply start ignoring them.

  3. Anchor prompt: a routine and habit that you already consistently perform in your day without even thinking about it (e.g., waking up, taking a shower, going to the bathroom, eating a meal, brushing your teeth, etc.) These are the most effective because they are already baked into your routine.


Anchor Prompt List:

Make a list of at least 3 anchor prompts for each portion of your day (morning, lunch, afternoon, evening).


Use these anchor prompts to trigger a new habit into your life.


You want to make this habit as tiny as possible (almost ridiculously so) because ultimately, your goal is to create a routine out of the start of the desired behavior. You can always build and grow on it later once the routine is established.


An example of this might be flossing one tooth or doing 5 squats after going to the bathroom. Ridiculous, I know! What is that going to accomplish?


Well, let’s do the math. Let’s say you go to the bathroom 5 times a day and you perform 5 squats after each time. This equates to 15 squats a day, over 100 a week, and almost 5,500 a year! That’s a lot of squats!


But, 5 squats after going to the bathroom doesn’t seem like a lot, right?


This is the brilliance of Dr. Fogg’s Tiny Habits Recipe! You are doing behaviors that are so simple and easy that it almost completely removes motivation from the equation. Then it builds momentum off of feeling successful rather than the discouragement of the repeated failure of goals that are unrealistic for your current schedule and routine. Finally, it does not take that much more time out of your already crazy schedule! Genius!


Next, we get to your...


S4: SURROUNDINGS


At this point you want to ask, “How can I shape my environment, both physically, and socially (and even mentally and emotionally), to make it as easy as possible for me to succeed with this desired behavior?”


This is an oftentimes overlooked aspect of behavioral design, but one that can produce a tremendous amount of benefit at minimal cost to willpower.


Let’s say, for instance that you are wanting to lose weight. We all know that if we have unhealthy food in our house, we (or someone else we know) will eventually end up eating it. So, what can we do?

Remove it from your house.


Now, you do not have to use will power to avoid it. If you really want it, you must go out of your way to get it. Simple, but effective.


We’ve covered a lot so far so let’s do a quick review before moving on. Start with creating SMART goals in every area of your life. Next, examine the skills and behaviors you would need to accomplish those goals and Focus Map them into Golden Behaviors. Then schedule them into your life, either through your calendar or BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits Recipe.


This brings us to...


S5: SETBACKS (or obstacles)


Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second...


A lot of times we already know the obstacles that keep us from achieving our goals because most of the time they are patterns that we have been stuck in for a while. So, instead of defaulting to reactivity, let’s plan for them in advance so we know exactly how to respond when they arise before we get into those situations.


This is where traffic lights can help us out...


Traffic Light Triggers:

Create a list (or multiple lists) of all the people, environments, emotional and mental states that trigger certain behaviors, both healthy and unhealthy ones.

  • Green: People, environments, emotional and mental states that trigger healthy behaviors

  • Yellow: Triggers that could go either way

  • Red: People, environments, emotional and mental states that trigger unhealthy behaviors.

  • Use this list to create implementation intentions around each of these situations...

  • After I [notice my anger and frustration] I will [pause and take a couple deep breaths before acting]

  • After I [criticize myself] I will [list all the incredible things that I have already accomplished and achieved]

  • After I [feel the craving for junk food] I will [eat a healthier snack and then wait 10-15 minutes]


Finally, we have...


S6: SUPPORT


Support is crucial (as all of us already know)!


It’s so important that even before working through the 6S Framework we should really ask...


“Am I the person who should be accomplishing this goal or doing this task or should I delegate it to someone else (either because they could do a better, more efficient job or because my time would be better spent on other things)?”


If we decide that we either cannot delegate it (personal goal or habit) or are the best person for the job, then we can work through the 6S Goal Framework and begin to implement the behaviors into our lives.


At this stage, having support, encouragement, and accountability can go a long way in helping to cement a consistent action into our lives along with resetting after any setbacks or failures.


There it is!


The 6S Goal Framework to bulletproof your goals and turn any outcome into a reality.

  • S1: Set SMART goals

  • S2: SKILLS to Behaviors and Habits

  • S3: SCHEDULE: Calendar, BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits

  • S4: SURROUNDINGS: Make it easy as possible to succeed

  • S5: SETBACKS: Plan in advance

  • S6: SUPPORT: Get people around you to help you


Even if 2022 continues to be chaotic and uncertain (it probably will) you now have the tools to focus your efforts and attention on what you have the most control over (your behaviors and habits), and you have planned for the most likely obstacles and challenges!


Helps you feel more confident going into this year, doesn’t it?


Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

 

Michael Bauman, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

"Michael Bauman, the CEO of Success Engineering, a Tony Robbins certified coach who specializes in helping entrepreneurs feel that they are enough and not alone, along with optimizing every area of their lives including their habits, productivity, and health.


He is the host of the podcast, Success Engineering, where he interviews experts and industry leaders, from Broadway Directors and actors, to multi-millionaire CEO’s, to neuroscientists and more to uncover how they define success, how they create it on a daily basis, and explore the challenges they have overcome both internally and externally to achieve their personal definition of success. "

 

References:

  1. Peter M. Gollwitzer, Paschal Sheeran, and Thomas L. Webb (2005), “Implementation Intentions and Health Behaviors,” in M. Conner and P. Norman (eds.), Predicting Health Behavior: Research and Practice with Social Cognition Models (2nd edition). Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.

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