why it helps to set “lazy goals”

Short answer: Consistency

Long answer:

After experimenting with goal-setting and habit maintenance for a few years, I’ve realized the importance of setting some goals that are as lazy and as small as you can make them be.

The reason is that we are human beings instead of machines. Some days we might not be feeling as alert, fresh, or present as other days. Or we might be going through something difficult in life that makes it challenging to show up to work with our best (or even good) performance.

In these times, it becomes easy to drop the healthy habits and routines out of exhaustion or lack of care. However, healthy habits become even more crucial to maintain in these times because they can help us cope.

Setting “lazy” or minimum goals can help us at least maintain consistency in our habits while making space for our human-ness, and the fluctuating nature of life.

Consistency is important because it helps you remember to do what you need to do, no matter how poorly, and exhaust fewer reserves of your willpower by turning some activities into habits you can perform on auto-pilot.


You want to exercise to stay healthy. You can make two sub-goals out of the main goal of exercising: 1) Maintain consistency. 2) Work your way up to more challenging sets to push your limits.

It may be that there are some days you don’t even want to exercise, much less push your limits. Instead of getting overwhelmed by your own expectations, you can decide to set the minimum goal of at least showing up for exercise at least 2 to 5 minutes a day.

This way you will trade off your inclination to stop exercising completely for the sake of a “lesser” goal, just showing up. This lesser goal of accepting imperfection/mediocrity for some instances in your exercising journey will help you stay committed to your overall goal of exercising long-term.

And while you exercise for 5 minutes that day, you can decide to change your mind midway and do more if you want to. However, it is important, to be honest with yourself and stop at 5 minutes if you want to instead of lying to yourself and making yourself do more when you really don’t want to. Otherwise, you will lose trust in yourself and stop showing up out of feeling overwhelmed like before.

Showing up to what you need to do imperfectly on some days and maintaining long-term consistency might be much better than getting frozen and dropping your job altogether, and not even making small progress over time.

You can try the same thing with other habits such as studying. If you really don’t feel like studying one day, then make the habit to study at least 20 minutes each day no matter what. Even if your concentration is bad or your head is hurting etc. Just make sure to show up no matter how imperfectly. That alone can help you establish a consistent habit and act as a saving grace in the long term.


So while you set goals that challenge you and push your limits, set the minimum goals to act as the “consistency safety-nets” for the low days.


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