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Justin Wright

Monday Velocity - Lean List Method

publishedabout 2 months ago
4 min read

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Lean List Method

The Lean List method is a goal-setting strategy consisting of creating three categories, or tiers, for your goals. It's a system that I built years ago to help clients of mine organize and achieve goals that they previously thought unattainable. Next week, I will be launching a digital planner around this method (some of you may remember the original, hard-copy planners!), and I will be offering it up as a referral bonus for sharing this newsletter with your friends. (Note that you can also share this newsletter with random people who aren't friends, I don't mind.)

That said, the method revolves around three categories of goals organized by color. Green goals represent things that you want to accomplish in the short-term. These items will be your daily, repeatable tasks that help inch you closer to your bigger goals. Green items are better thought of as habits instead of standard goals. (As a pro tip, I use the Todoist app to track my daily repeatable tasks. You can type something like "read daily" and the app will automatically set a recurring goal based on the timing you provided.)

Yellow goals represent things that you want to accomplish in the not-so-distant future. These are your mid-term goals and help mark moments of tangible progress towards your bigger dreams and aspirations. Yellow items are the big-ticket items that mark true progress; they extend beyond the small, simple, repeatable tasks and encompass true accomplishments that you should be proud of.

Red goals are the big ones: the things you would wish for if you ever drew a Genie from a lamp. Don't ever be afraid of making Red goals too big or too distant, they are the ultimate targets. If Red goals are the destination then Yellow goals are the GPS and Green goals drive the car!

That dream of yours may very well seem mammoth, distant, and foreboding. The important thing to realize, however, is that there are many, smaller goals that fall under the umbrella of every dream. As you work your way from task to task and goal to goal, you will find that you are inching ever closer to the Red items on your list. Once you have defined your Red list, you will also define your Yellow and Green items: the individual hurdles on the pathway to achieving the bigger, scarier goal.

As you learn to define each task and tackle them individually, you will find that you begin to build confidence and momentum which will allow you to achieve these smaller goals at a much faster rate. This momentum will help reinforce your commitment to the greater goal and help you to develop discipline along the way. These are the keys to accomplishing things that may seem improbable or impossible at this current moment in your life.

When thinking about Red goals, I find that focusing on identity helps. Who do you want to be in the future? Based on this avatar, backtrack and define the goals you will need to reach to become that person. Maybe you want to write a book and become an author. That's a lofty goal! Utilizing the lean list method, you would define your Yellow goals as completing pages, chapters, and ultimately editing your manuscript. The Green task here is simple: write every day.

Breaking goals down into the subsequent pieces is no new strategy. The reason the Lean List method works is not in the Red->Yellow goals breakdown, but in the Green habits that you define and commit to on a regular basis. Habits lead to progress which allows you to "eat the elephant" piece by piece. Don't be intimidated by where you want to go, focus instead on the little steps that get you there over time!

There will be a lot more on this next week as I officially launch the digital tracker and set up the referral system. In the meantime, feel free to respond to this email with questions!


Hit List

The most interesting things I've encountered this week

Some good news: "A Few Reasons To Be Bullish" by Ramp Capital

Bad news, doom and gloom, and negative headlines are everywhere. You can't turn to any corner of the internet without hearing someone preaching about markets crashing, the housing crisis, or how the pandemic is still affecting the world. This article succinctly lays out several cases for why the future of our economy can, indeed, be bright.

Improve your motivation: "Tools to Manage Dopamine and Improve Motivation & Drive" from Huberman Lab

This article documents a number of tangible ways to manage dopamine levels which, in turn, helps improve motivation and combat burnout. I've personally been feeling pretty run down lately, and this article, combined with the good news above, helped me put things back in perspective.

What I’m Watching: Chef's Table: Pizza on Netflix

I love documentaries, and I especially love documentaries that are beautifully filmed and produced. Chef's Table is the brainchild of David Gelb, the creator of legendary documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Go watch the first episode, it will knock your socks off.


Quote of the week:

"In 1900, the average American spent $76 of every $100 on food, clothing and shelter. Today he spends $37."
- Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist

This week I spent a lot of time ruminating on perspective. Whenever I get overwhelmed, I take a step back and do my best to focus on the bigger picture. Things are never as dire as they seem, and the quote above from The Rational Optimist stuck with me when I first read it.

No matter how hard things seem now, and how much the media tries to portray the world as going to hell in a hand basket, we really do have it better than previous generations. It is my opinion that the optimists are the ones who determine the future, not the pessimists. We have the ability to build a better world, let's not forget it.