How to Achieve Your Goals, in 59 Seconds

This is taken from 59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman, a book that wants to make your life better – in 59 seconds or less. It is all based on scientific research. If you like that sort of thing.

4 Key Techniques for Motivation

  1. Have the right kind of plan.
  2. Tell friends and family about your plan.
  3. Focus on the benefits of your achievement.
  4. Reward yourself each step of the way.

The Right Kind of Plan

Wiseman’s got the plan, don’t worry.

1. Define your goal:

My overall goal is to…

2. Create a step-by-step plan:

Break overall goal into five steps, each with a goal that is concrete, measurable, realistic and time-based, e.g.:

Step 1:
  • My first sub-goal is to… write a blog post.
  • I believe that I can achieve this goal because… I’ve done the research and I’ve done this sort of thing before.
  • To achieve this sub-goal, I will… sit at the computer and write 500 words on how to achieve your goals.
  • This will be achieved by… today!
  • My reward for achieving this will be, er…a pack of Marylands?

3. What are the benefits of achieving your overall goal?

  • List three important benefits, focusing on how much better life will be for you and those around you.
  • Focus on the benefits of your desired future, rather than escaping the negatives of your present situation.

4. Go public.

Who are you going to tell about your goals and sub-goals? Maybe you could publish them on a blog or display them in your office or home?

1 Simple Way to Beat Procrastination

Start work on something for just a few minutes and your brain will want to complete it. Anyone can do anything for a few minutes. Just start.

Use Doublethink to Achieve Your Goals

Thinking about benefits and setbacks together will motivate you to achieve and help you persevere in the face of difficulties. Answer these questions about your goals to get the best motivation.

1. What is your goal?

2. Potential benefits and setbacks

  1. Write down one word that reflects an important way your life would be better if you achieve your goal.
  2. Write down one word that reflects a significant barrier standing in the way of you achieving your goal.
  3. Write down a second benefit.
  4. Write down another significant barrier.

3. Elaboration

  • Elaborate on how the two benefits identified above will affect your life positively.
  • Elaborate how the two obstacles identified above will hinder your achievement – and outline the steps you would take to deal with them.

How to Achieve Your Life Goals

  • Write your own eulogy (or obituary) in the third person (David Charles will be remembered as full of fast phrase, pace of prosody and poise of poesy…) to reveal your real life goals (that was a dumb example, by the way). What would you like people to say about you when you die? What would you like to have achieved?
  • Those who visualise themselves as others see them are 20% more successful than those adopting a first person view. Apparently. How do they find these things out? that’s what I want to know.

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at

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