Life Style

The ESM Method Of Goal Setting


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It’s taken me years to find a great method for easy, achievable goal setting.

I’ve finally found it.

This method has helped set and achieve countless goals in my life and I’d like to share it with you.

It’s called the ‘ESM Method’ of setting goals, and it’s extremely easy.

I first discovered this when I was writing my book: The Belief Principle

the belief principle book cover

I’ll give you a quick overview, then explain the theory behind. I will then give you some examples to better illustrate how it works.

The Easy, Stretch, Moonshot Method

ESM stands for – Easy, Stretch, Moonshot.

A very quick overview of it is when you are setting a goal in your life create three different versions of your goal: an easy version (Easy) a version that is more difficult but still achievable with a lot of work (Stretch) and a version that is just way beyond what you think is achievable (Moonshot).

To give you an example:

I want to lose weight as I’ve just been over indulging for the last 6 months. Now is the time to really get serious about getting healthy and shedding some fat.

What most people would do is look at how overweight they think they are according to a BMI calculator or some other measurement and then set a goal based on that.

Using the ESM Method, if I am 30 pounds overweight, I would set three goals: An easy goal, a Stretch goal and a Moonshot goal.

Easy goal: – 7 Pounds in 1 month
Stretch goal: – 14 pounds in 1 month
Moonshot goal: – 30 Pounds in 1 month

What most people would automatically do without using the ESM method is pick a goal that is relatively easy, like losing 7 pounds.

The problem with this is we tend to give up quicker with an easy target as we think we can do it anytime we want.

This means we don’t prepare for it as well as we would have had we chosen the stretch goal or the moonshot goal.

When you set a stretch goal you tend to prepare much more for it e.g. thinking about the month you’re going to start; is it school holidays, or you on holiday, do you have to travel for work etc. So, you would pick a month that you’re going to be busy at work, the kids are at school, and your mind is generally going to be preoccupied with other things. This gives you a better chance of sticking to your goal.

The Purpose of The Moonshot Target

The moonshot target is there to stretch your mind.

Imagine for a second I asked you how much more money do you think you could easily earn per day. Now, the average person earns around $100 per day, before tax and insurance, which is daily amount taken from their income from their job.

So, you might say you could easily earn an extra $10 per day ($70 per week or $280 per month) doing some overtime and you might stop there.

If I asked you to give me an easy figure, a stretch figure and a moonshot figure, you might say:
$10 would be easy
$50 would be a stretch
$100 would be a moonshot target

However, had I asked you to think of ways of earning an extra $100 per day, a moonshot target, your mind would be stretched to the limit. So you might think about renting out a room in your home, selling items on Facebook marketplace, getting an extra part time job, renting out your car, teaching something you’re skilled at, sell services on Fiverr, start a blog and so on.

The thing is your mind has been stretched to the extreme and now the perception of your stretch goal becomes easy, and your easy goal is like childs play.

You see what you’re doing here, you’re opening your mind from the outset rather than closing it at the outset.

Opening Your Mind

We are programmed to think of the path of least resistance when it comes to setting goals which means we tend to lower our targets.

When you open your mind to a much higher target than you think you can “realistically’ achieve you open your mind to new possibilities that would have been closed to you had you set your mind on the easy target.

What happens when you set a higher target for yourself is your mind immediately goes to solution mode. In the background you constantly ask how can I achieve this and your unconscious mind comes up with lots of possibilities.

Here’s an example

You have a goal to write a book within the space of 1 year and the book will be around 100,000 words in length.

So you set yourself 3 targets

Write the book in 1 year – (Easy (ish)

Write the book in 6 months (Stretch)

Write the book in 3 months (Moonshot)

When you start from the perspective of writing a book within a year, your mind immediately shuts down as it doesn’t have to do any work, it has no solutions to solve. Your mind will say
“okay, that’s about 300 words per day, which is about 20 minutes per day, dead easy no thinking time involved in this.”

When you start from the Moonshot target your unconscious mind has something to solve?

How am I going to write a book in 3 months?
How can I make more time to write?
How can I make a plot for the book quicker?
How can i write faster?
Could I get up an hour earlier to write?
How can I stay disciplined?

You see the mind has lot of problems to solve from the get go and starts opening the mind up to look for possibilities and solutions as to how you can write a book in 3 months.

Try It Now

Think of two things you want to achieve within the next year and try the ESM method of creating that goal starting from the Moonshot down the the easy.

You’ll find that your ae much more opena nd will believe that you can acheive your goal much easy when your mind has stretched itself to the limit.

Let me know how you got on.

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