• Priya Venkatesan

Secret sauce of goal achievement


Welcome 2020!

Wishing all readers a year full of moments that matter!


Year beginnings for most of us is a period of letting-in. Its a clean-slate moment when most of us are ready to look beyond. Somehow the earth going around the sun, one more time, gives us the privilege.

I am no different & have been having my share of reflections & look-forwards. As reflections are for learning, I am trying to distil wisdom out of my experiences & the experiences of the people I coached.


During my reflections, I was trying to find the secret sauce for achieving one’s goals / outcomes.


My experiences and reading on the subject gave me multiple answers, most of them appealed to the “logical” part of who I am.


  • Set clear goals

  • Focus on them

  • Visualise them

  • Be it till you make it

  • Feel it in your body.

  • Alter your belief.

  • Setup systems that help you achieve it.

  • Measure what matters

  • Action is the key recipe

  • Celebrate small wins.

  • Ensure your identity is re-defined.

  • Motivate yourself.

and so on. All these help. And they prepare you for the path towards reaching your goal.


Still, I was sensing something was incomplete. There were days when I checked most of these. But I didn’t move an inch.

There were days when I moved miles as if I was born to do this.

What could be the missing link?


I have this habit of asking some abstract questions to people around me (to their chagrin :-).

I could only catch my 12 year old daughter this time. She always has an answer to my question if its outside her text books though. She said, “Its simple - I get things done when I am happy or stubborn.”


I thought about her answer - happy was a ‘state’ & stubborn was a ‘quality’. I combined both - Voila! - answer was ‘quality of state’.


So I ran past this finding with all the times I made progress - the quality of my state of consciousness/awareness before I started working can be described as ‘calm and peaceful’ or ‘positive and vibrant.’


Distractions in my head was low. I was more focussed on what I was doing at the moment. The resultant state while doing the activity was what Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi would call ‘Flow’.


I also observed the type of activity or whether I liked it did not matter. But interestingly the state of entry into the activity was a key determinant to whether I went to flow state or not. However outcomes could be reached faster from this state. I didn’t know the reason why.


Scientist Steven Pinker noted, “The Second Law of Thermodynamics defines the ultimate purpose of life, mind, and human striving: to deploy energy and information to fight back the tide of entropy and carve out refuges of beneficial order.”


The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the entropy (lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder) of any isolated system always increases.


Applying this to ourselves, our body & mind are in increasing states of entropy every day.


From higher states of entropy ‘structured-ness’ is a far fetched goal.

If we need to create outcomes for ourselves, we need to build ways unique to us that energises our system in a way that helps us pull in all that we have got. Its like pressing the reset button - coming back to factory settings or lower/neutral entropy.


For me, exercise & spiritual activity with meditation is very beneficial. Adding some music will be delightful.


I still remember vividly one of my coaching sessions at 8AM in the morning. Within five minutes of our conversation, the client said she got what she wanted & moved to another goal!


My friends who run marathons talk about the “runner’s high”.

Some even sleep to get reset.

There are others who enjoy time with friends and family.

Whatever it is that makes you feel your best - make time for it even if it is for a few minutes a day.

The key to better states is to sprinkle your day with little bit of these activities as much as possible. These could be absolutely not related to your goals for the year. But they help you achieve them!


So what differently are you going to do today to be in the best state to achieve your goals?

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