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Hard Goals

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Hard Goals

The Secret to Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

You may think you can’t reach your goals because they’re too hard. Not so. They may be too easy.

Editorial Rating



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Are the goals you are struggling to achieve just too difficult? Probably not. Most likely, they’re too easy. Most people set mediocre, unimportant goals and don’t even pay attention to them, take them seriously or remember them. Leadership consultant Mark Murphy suggests a much different approach: Make your goals as difficult as possible, and set objectives that are absolutely essential to your continued well-being. Such ambitious goals actively engage you and focus your mind. getAbstract recommends Murphy’s well-researched, scientifically documented explanation of his strategy. He includes numerous real-life examples of how “HARD Goals” force people to focus their efforts. As James Boswell, the famous biographer, once said, “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” Murphy’s solution to the problem of focusing on your goals appears at the end of his four main chapters: “Get more examples and tools at”


Promises You Can Keep

People routinely make resolutions about changing their behavior and accomplishing major goals – quitting smoking, losing weight, getting a big raise – and then fail to fulfill them. However, some people do keep their promises to themselves and achieve their goals. They succeed because they set demanding goals that motivate, challenge and inspire them.

In one study, only 13% of respondents thought their goals were helping them become the best people they could be. Many people set mediocre goals that don’t require a wholehearted personal investment of time, energy and purpose. If you are lackadaisical about your goals, and if they aren’t essential or inspirational, they won’t inculcate real motivation. You’ll abandon them when the going gets tough. Instead, set “HARD goals” that are:

  • “Heartfelt.”
  • “Animated.”
  • “Required.”
  • “Difficult.”

Heartfelt Connections

If your goal is not important to you, if it’s not something you deeply want, you probably won’t achieve it. On the other hand, if your goal means everything to you, you will move heaven and earth to accomplish it. As Apple introduces one ...

About the Author

Mark Murphy is founder and CEO of Leadership IQ, a leadership-training firm. He also wrote Hundred Percenters.

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