The OGSM Method
Creating change in life is about transforming big objectives into smaller goals and actions.
This way it becomes easier to work on your goals on a daily basis.
But seeing how small actions can contribute to a larger goal requires an overview.
That’s why the OGSM method can be a useful tool to outline how objectives are supported by goals, strategies and measures.
Strategically plan ahead
The OGSM Method is a strategic planning process that can us support us with the implementation of new behaviour.
It focuses on transforming the primary objective into underlying goals, strategies and action plans that are fundamental to achieve the higher objective. It can serve as a guiding light to make sure we stay on the designated path of intentional change.
The Big Objective
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”– L.J. Peter
Change always starts with a vision of a new future. An objective that we want to reach.
Maybe we want to:
- Improve our health and level of fitness
- Strengthen our social relationships and network
- Start up a business / become financially independent
- Become mindful and live a low stress life
- Improve our writing
- Learn to do public speaking / presenting
- Learn how to cook
- Master painting or another creative skill
But what is the criterium whether or not we will have reached this objective? Without a quantification it becomes difficult to measure progress.
So, we need a way to cascade this high level objective towards the lower level activities that make up our daily life. Then it becomes clear what we can do on a daily basis to reach our ambitions.
In other words, the objective serves as the vision that shapes the approach of your initiative. The next step is to create concrete goals.
A goal is a quantification of our objective, which outlines specific circumstances and conditions that have to be fulfilled. Once we reach our quantified goal by using the SMART method, our qualitative objective will be reached too.
For each objective, goals help us shape the result we want to obtain:
I will continue with the lifestyle improvement objective mentioned above.
Goals to improve our health and level of fitness
We can set various goals within the objective of health and fitness. Here are a few examples.
- Being able to do 30 pushups and 15 pull-ups in a row
- Obtain 10% bodyfat
- Fast for 24 hours on a weekly basis for 1 year
- Reducing the intake of sugars and bad fats to less than 10% of our daily caloric intake
- Eating 300 grams of vegetables on a daily basis
By adding a deadline to each of these goals, our motivation will be sparked to take action.
Strategies are specific plans that can be used to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
A good strategy contains the following 5 elements.
- Specific; the strategy outlines what you are going to do.
- Selective; the strategy also outlines what you are not going to do
- Sustainable; the strategy is set up in such a way that it can be executed on a consistent and long term basis
- Sufficient; the strategy covers the objective in in entirety (meaning no areas of relevance are ignored)
- Synchronized; the strategy is in line with other goals and objectives that you are trying to reach (there is no conflict)
For improving our health and fitness an effective strategy would be to use a training schedule that emphasizes push and pull strength in order to achieve the push-up and pull-up goal. If the goal is also fat loss a dietary approach would have to be selected that emphasizes caloric restriction. Moreover, it should be designed in such a way that the training as well as the dieting method can be maintained over the long term.
But there are also things that we should not do, like refraining from substances such as alcohol. These are counterproductive in reaching our goals. The same goes for our diet; we should exclude foods that are not contributing to the overall objective and related goals, or incidentally use them as rewards during specific times to reinforce the right behaviour.
When the strategy contains all the elements, it becomes an effective approach to reach the long term objective.
Goals and strategies help us take the right action in order to achieve a result. But measurement is an important element to make sure we continuously obtain feedback whether or not we ware effectively working towards our objective.
The measure in this case is whether or not you are gaining strength on a weekly or monthly basis. The same applies to weight loss. Tracking progress might not be linear but it is still an important part of creating motivation and consistency in your approach by knowing when to adapt your strategy.
Create your own OGSM
Get a whiteboard and start writing out your own OGSM one pager.
Use it as a daily visual reminder what it is you are working towards.
Let it be your guiding light that shows the small steps towards your big objective.