skip to Main Content

Goal Setting: The Goldilocks Rule

There is a principle in goal setting known as the Goldilocks Rule, based on the children’s story of the bed and porridge that was ‘just right’. If we set the bar too high, we become frustrated and lose confidence in ourselves when we fail. If we set our sights too low, however, we don’t get any feeling of accomplishment from achieving that goal.

The Goldilocks Zone: The Secret to Building Self-Confidence

When we set goals that fit in our own personal Goldilocks zone, we set ourselves up to not only succeed, but to do so in a way that builds our self-confidence, which in turn leads to achieving more and more challenging goals. In time, we find that we’ve done something we wouldn’t have believed when we started that we could do.

Think about where you are now, then visualize where you want to be. Let’s say, for example, that you’re an average 40 something. If you’re average, this means you either don’t exercise or don’t exercise enough. You know you’re not eating right. You’re somewhere in the range of 5 – 20 kilos overweight. You miss the energy you had when you were younger, and you might be getting sick more often than you should too.

Are You Being Realistic?

Now what about where you want to be? Likely, you have images in your mind that are based upon magazine covers or people you’ve seen on TV and in movies. The first thing you have to ask yourself is, is that realistic for me? Those people are exceptional and many of them were only in that kind of shape long enough for that magazine cover photo shoot. If these images are your goal, you’re likely setting yourself up to fail.

Compete with Yourself, Not Others

One principal I have always followed, and that I find is essential for staying motivated, is to never compare myself to other people. Even though I’m one of the fittest guys around, especially at my age, there’s always someone leaner, stronger, faster, better. If I compared myself to these people, I’d feel like I was failing.

The only person you should ever compete with is yourself. It doesn’t matter if you look like a swimsuit model. What does matter is that you are better than you were three months ago, six months ago, a year ago. That’s winning!

So, knowing this, and keeping in mind the Goldilocks Rule of setting a goal that’s just hard enough that achieving it will be a challenge, but not so hard that you probably won’t make it, think about a goal you could achieve in the next six weeks. Take a few minutes to explore that goal from different angles and make sure it fits in the Goldilocks zone. Once you’re sure you have something that fits, write it down. Put it beside your computer, on your bathroom mirror or make a reminder in your phone, but put it somewhere where you will see it every day.

Six weeks from now, when you’ve achieved that goal, you’ll not only have a sense of accomplishment, but you’ll also have gained the confidence to believe that you can do it again, and achieve even more.

The following two tabs change content below.

Will Dove

Will is a lifelong fitness nut. He started exercising religiously at the age of 16. Now 52, he still works out 5 times per week and maintains a body fat percentage in the single digits. Will is passionate about helping others to achieve their fitness and body image goals, and believes that most people fail to achieve these goals, not through a lack of self-discipline, but through a simple lack of knowledge.