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Hard goals

10 Tips for Setting and Achieving HARD Goals: Pushing Yourself to Greater Heights

Hard goals are goals you set for yourself when things get tough. They require grit and determination and might not be easy to achieve initially. But setting hard goals will make you stronger, push you to new limits, and drive you to succeed. It comes with a high risk of failure but a great reward of satisfaction once you meet your goal.

Hard goals are the long-term goals that you set for yourself. They’re more challenging than your short-term goal setting. If you want to be a better version of yourself this year as a manager or become a better person, hard goals are what you need to set. You’ll be setting goals that will require consistency and hard work to achieve over some time.

What are HARD goals?

The HARD goal is a framework that emphasizes setting challenging and emotionally driven goals. The acronym HARD stands for Heartfelt, Animated, Required, and Difficult. By setting HARD goals, individuals can push themselves beyond their comfort zones and achieve outcomes they may have once thought were impossible. HARD goals require a high degree of motivation, focus, and dedication, but the rewards can be significant in terms of personal growth, accomplishment, and fulfillment

Overall, the HARD acronym encourages individuals to set emotionally driven and challenging goals while also being necessary and relevant to their overall objectives. By setting HARD goals, individuals can push themselves to achieve more than they thought possible while finding purpose and fulfillment.

H- Heartfelt

Creating goals that activate your brain for extraordinary results can be challenging. Big goals require big thinking and often need you to step outside your comfort zone and think critically about how you want to achieve them. However, this goal-setting process can be challenging. It requires a strong emotional connection with the goals you are setting. A heartfelt goal is one that you care about, as it can motivate you to make it happen. 

H – Heartfelt: A heartfelt goal is significant and aligned with an individual’s core values and beliefs. When a goal is genuine, it is driven by passion, purpose, and personal motivation. A heartfelt goal resonates with an individual on a deep emotional level and can provide a sense of fulfillment and purpose when achieved.

A- Animated

An animated goal inspires and energizes an individual to take action. When a goal is animated, it evokes a strong emotional response and provides a sense of excitement and enthusiasm. An animated goal can help an individual maintain focus and motivation over the long term, even when faced with obstacles or setbacks. These goal-setting methods involve creating goals so vividly alive in the mind that not achieving them would be disappointing.

Visualization and imagery techniques, such as perspective, size, color, shape, distinct parts, setting, background, lighting, emotions, and movement, can help individuals create memorable and engaging goals. These goal-setting methods help individuals stay motivated and achieve their goals over the long term. They are a powerful way of setting goals and improving personal performance.

R- Required

A required goal is necessary for an individual to achieve a desired outcome. When a goal is required, it is an essential step on the path toward a larger objective or goal. A required goal can help an individual stay focused and motivated by providing a clear direction and purpose.

D- Difficult

A difficult goal is challenging and requires significant effort and dedication to achieve. When a goal is difficult, it stretches an individual beyond their current capabilities and requires them to grow and develop new skills and abilities. A difficult goal can be intimidating but can also be gratifying, providing a sense of accomplishment and confidence when achieved. To create hard goals, set a goal that is 20% more difficult than it currently is to activate the brain. These goals will challenge you to work hard and achieve success, but with a more challenging goal than you now face.

Examples of Hard Goals

Mark Murphy developed the HARD goals method in his 2009 book, ‘Hundred Percenters,’ as an effective way to set goals, with the acronym H: heartfelt, A: animated, R: required, D: difficult. Here are some examples of what HARD goals should look like: –

  • Increase team productivity by 25% within the next six months by implementing new project management software, providing team training, and setting up regular performance evaluations.
  1. Heartfelt: Improving team productivity will allow the manager to support their team better and help them achieve their goals.
  2. Animated: The excitement and motivation of reaching a productivity increase goal will help to keep the manager and the team on track.
  3. Required: Increasing productivity requires the team to achieve its goals and objectives.
  4. Difficult: Increasing productivity by 25% is a challenging goal that requires significant effort, dedication, and innovation.
  • Improve employee engagement by 20% within the next year by introducing new team-building activities, offering opportunities for professional development, and implementing a recognition and rewards program.
  1. Heartfelt: Improving employee engagement will create a positive work environment that is fulfilling for the manager and employees.
  2. Animated: The excitement and energy of increasing employee engagement will motivate the manager to improve the work environment continuously.
  3. Required: Employee engagement is necessary for retaining employees and achieving organizational goals.
  4. Difficult: Improving employee engagement by 20% is a challenging goal that requires creativity, innovation, and a deep understanding of employee needs.
  • Reduce employee turnover by 30% within the next year by conducting stay interviews, improving employee benefits, and offering training and development opportunities.
  1. Heartfelt: Reducing employee turnover will create a more stable work environment that is more fulfilling for the manager and employees.
  2. Animated: The excitement and energy of reducing employee turnover will motivate the manager to improve the work environment continuously.
  3. Required: Reducing employee turnover is necessary for retaining talent and achieving organizational goals.
  4. Difficult: Reducing employee turnover by 30% is a challenging goal requiring careful planning, communication, and collaboration.
  • Increase customer satisfaction by 25% within the next six months by improving the customer service process, providing additional resources and training to customer service staff, and implementing a feedback mechanism.
  1. Heartfelt: Increasing customer satisfaction will help the manager and team to build strong customer relationships and create a positive reputation for the organization.
  2. Animated: The excitement and energy of increasing customer satisfaction will motivate the manager to improve the customer service process continuously.
  3. Required: Increasing customer satisfaction is necessary for retaining customers and achieving organizational goals.
  4. Difficult: Increasing customer satisfaction by 25% is a challenging goal that requires creativity, innovation, and a deep understanding of customer needs.
  • Launch a new product line within the next year by conducting market research, developing a product strategy, and collaborating with cross-functional teams.
  1. Heartfelt: Launching a new product line will help the manager and team contribute to the growth and success of the organization.
  2. Animated: The excitement and energy of launching a new product line will motivate the manager and team to overcome any obstacles and work toward success.
  3. Required: Launching a new product line is necessary for achieving organizational growth and remaining competitive in the marketplace.
  4. Difficult: Launching a new product line is a challenging goal that requires careful planning, collaboration, and innovation.

How to set HARD Goals

  • Make your goals specific and measurable: Goals that are clearly defined and measurable help to keep you focused and motivated. In addition, tracking progress and celebrating milestones when your goals are specific is easier.
  • Set challenging goals: HARD goals are meant to push you outside of your comfort zone, so do not be afraid to set challenging goals that require effort, focus, and innovation. When you achieve a difficult goal, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that can help to build confidence and self-esteem.
  • Make sure your goals are emotionally driven: Your goals should be meaningful to you and connected to your values and purpose. This can help to create a sense of motivation and inspiration that can help you to stay on track even when you encounter obstacles.
  • Establish a deadline: Setting a deadline can help to create a sense of urgency and keep you focused on achieving your goal. Ensure your deadline is realistic and gives you enough time to work toward your goal.
  • Identify potential obstacles: It’s important to anticipate potential barriers that could get in the way of achieving your goal. This can help you to develop a plan to overcome these obstacles and stay on track.
  • Break your goals into smaller tasks: Breaking them into smaller, manageable tasks can make them feel less overwhelming and help you progress toward your goal. Each small job you accomplish can help you to build momentum and stay motivated.
  • Get support from others: A support system can provide encouragement and accountability as you work toward your goal. For example, consider sharing your goal with a trusted friend, mentor, or coach who can provide support and feedback.
  • Track your progress: Regularly tracking your progress can help you to stay motivated and adjust your approach if needed. It can also help you celebrate small wins and stay on track to achieve your ultimate goal.
  • Stay flexible: Goals can sometimes change, and it’s essential to be flexible and adjust your approach as needed. This can help you stay focused on the end goal while being open to new opportunities and possibilities.
  • Celebrate your successes: Celebrating your successes, even small ones, can help to build momentum and keep you motivated as you work toward your goal. Take time to acknowledge and celebrate your progress along the way.

HARD Goals Vs. SMART Goals

HARD and SMART are two different approaches to setting goals, but both are important depending on the desired outcome. SMART goals help individuals focus on specific achievements and organize them into an overarching plan. However, they can be too limiting regarding creativity and flexibility needed in goal setting. HARD goals tap into an individual’s emotional, visual, survival, and learning systems. They encourage individuals to be bold and pursue their dreams without limitations or constraints.

HARD goals are:

  • H: Heartfelt or emotional
  • A: Animated or inspiring
  • R: Required or mandatory
  • D: Difficult or challenging
HARD goals are typically set to push oneself to achieve something beyond what one might have thought was possible. These goals often require a lot of effort and dedication, but they can also be very rewarding.

HARD goals are more ambitious and often set far into the future. They’re defined by what you want to achieve rather than how you want to get there. – They provide a sense of focus and urgency to the goal-setting process, intentionally setting the bar high for the individual.

SMART goals, on the other hand, are:

  • S: Specific
  • M: Measurable
  • A: Achievable
  • R: Relevant
  • T: Time-bound
SMART goals are designed to be more focused and specific than HARD goals, with clear success criteria and a particular completion timeline. This approach can help individuals break down larger goals into more manageable tasks and ensure that they are making progress toward their ultimate objective.

In summary, while HARD goals are more emotionally driven and challenging, SMART goals are more structured and achievable. Both approaches can be effective depending on the individual and the goal they are trying to achieve. 

Conclusion

Setting goals is an essential part of achieving your goals and dreams. When you set goals, you arrange a path to where you want to be. A goal can be hard to fix because it requires that you look at the future positively and be able to see yourself achieving it. However, setting goals is vital if you want to reach any goal. You must understand the importance of setting goals and how setting goals can help you achieve your goal. It also helps keep you motivated. In this blog, we gave you a technique for setting goals that are not commonly spoken about but could give you great results. 

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