HARD Goals: The Secret to Getting From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

If you’ve ever had the experience of setting ambitious goals only to come up short, then Mark Murphy, the author of the bestseller Hundred Percenters, has a new book that’s just for you. I received HARD Goals: The Secret to Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be from the publisher at the end of 2010.  This book combines the latest research in psychology and brain science with the law of attraction, then wraps it all up in a goal-setting process that you will be excited to learn and use.

A HARD Goal Is an Achieved Goal

When I first heard the title of this book, I thought HARD referred to the level of difficulty of the goals.  Instead HARD is really an acronym:

H = HEARTFELT: No matter how evolved we think we are, we are ruled by our emotions.  The more emotionally attached we are to our goals, the higher the likelihood that we’ll achieve them.

A = ANIMATED: You won’t be surprised to learn that “vision” is the driver behind achieving your goals.  Your brain can’t tell the difference between reality and imagination.  The more you replay the “movie” of your vision, the closer you will get to achieve your goal.

R = REQUIRED: The more urgency you have around what you’re working toward, the more likely you are to get it.  Maybe obsessive is too strong a word – maybe not.

D = DIFFICULT: There’s a reason we say that necessity is the mother of invention.  The greatest achievements come from tough challenges, so don’t shy away from goals that seem out of reach.

Armed with just this information, you will become a better planner, goal setter and achiever.  But why stop there when this book is so much fun to read?

You’ll Have Fun Reading and Find Yourself Using the HARD Principles Without Even Trying

You know how sometimes goal setting and planning books or workshops have this patronizing way about them?  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I walk away feeling like a hopeless loser.  Murphy’s style is nothing at all like that.  Murphy gives you the goal setting principle, then backs it up with scientific evidence, and finally gives you some examples or case studies to reflect on.

If you liked the flavor of Freakonomics and Tipping Point, you will enjoy HARD Goals. In fact, you’ll get more out of this book because it’s an interesting read and you’ll find yourself setting and re-setting goals as you read.  By the time I was done reading the book, I’d already been practicing some of the strategies and been getting great results.

Inside the Book

This is a short book – just over 168 pages.  That means that you’ll probably get through it in a day or two, but you’ll be thinking about what you’ve read for much longer than that.  And you might even go back to the book as you start implementing and achieving your goals.

The introduction explains why some goals are achieved and others aren’t.  Murphy goes through years of research in science and psychology around how the brain works as well as how we are wired as human beings.  The conclusion wraps it all up with some parting tips that will help you stay on track.  In between, the meat of the book outlines each of the HARD attributes and how to put them to work so that you get what you want.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the “Required” chapter (that’s the “R” in HARD).  Like the rest of the book, this chapter reads like a coaching session.  And at the heart of the chapter, Murphy outlines some “tricks” that you can use to increase your chance of success:

Tip #1 and #2: Put your present cost into the future and put your future benefit into the present.  These two tips are related to the phenomenon that humans tend to put off until tomorrow what they could do today.  That’s because we value things in the present more than we value things in the future.  In one example people were asked to increase their savings rate every time they got a raise in salary.  That way, they got the future benefit of savings without paying the current cost of losing income.

One more tool that I didn’t mention is the online resources at the Hard Goals website.  The book references this site, but since it’s a fairly new release, some of the components aren’t yet available.  You can also follow Mark Murphy on Twitter for more insights.

Are You Ready to Achieve?

Whether you’re setting goals, doing business planning or simply getting through your task list for the day, HARD Goals is a valuable resource.  This book is simply overflowing with all kinds of terrific tips and tricks that you can use to help you get what you want out of your business and your life.

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."