The Quickest and Easiest Way to Use the GPS System for Goal Setting

Jan 12, 2017 | The ONE Thing | 0 comments

It’s been a few years since we highlighted the GPS system, but given that everyone is setting goals for the New Year we felt it was time to revisit this highly effective tool. Even though the majority of people make resolutions, only a small percentage actually follow through and reach their goals. Often it’s not a matter of desire that makes a difference but rather having a system in place for reaching the goal.

It’s not enough to say you want to achieve something. You have to take action to get it done, which is exactly what the GPS system helps people achieve. The structure of the GPS system is designed to help you focus on ONE Thing at a time and figure out what steps to take next.


GPS System Basics

Prioritization is the basis of the GPS system. It forces you to focus on a single, big goal then determine what steps have to be taken in order to achieve success.

1 – Choose one big goal (your ONE Thing).

3 – Identify three priorities (milestones) that are needed to reach your goal.

5 – Find five strategies for handling each of the three priorities.

Until the items on this list have been accomplished all the other nonessentials can wait. With the GPS system, you can identify what your top priorities are and know that these are the things in your life that need the most focus. Now you’re set to start making progress!


Step 1 is Usually the Hardest Part

Research tells us that the fewer goals we set the more likely we are to reach them. With that in mind, we encourage people to focus on just one big goal at a time. The beauty of the GPS system is it can be used to set any type of goal whether it’s professional, personal, spiritual, etc.

We’ve learned from our Time Blocking Mastery course and those in our Living Your ONE Thing Community that figuring out your ONE Thing is often the most difficult part of the process. Some people don’t take enough time to really analyze what will make the biggest difference, while others stress out over the decision and ultimately go with the most obvious goal. If you need help with step 1 in the system these tips could help:

  • Use the Focusing Question – The Focusing Question is a great tool for narrowing your attention to the ONE Thing that matters most. Ask yourself, “What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”
  • Give Yourself Time to Decide – There’s no rule that you have to have a resolution set on January 1st. Hastily choosing a goal and priorities could potentially cost you more time in the long run if it doesn’t actually get you closer to your ONE Thing.
  • Consider What You’re Saying No To – Saying yes to your ONE Thing is a commitment that will take up a lot of your time. That means you’ll have to say no to others things that aren’t on the GPS list.
  • Choose Something That’s Truly Meaningful – If you aren’t truly invested and motivated to reach the goal you’ve chosen, the chances of it happening are Reserve your ONE Thing for something truly meaningful.
  • It May Help to Include a Timeline – If you set a date for when you want to accomplish your goal, it can help you narrow your focus.


Managing the GPS System Throughout the Year

Like the 4-1-1 productivity form, the GPS system should be updated as you make progress. The GPS worksheet is a good first step in getting the ball rolling. You can use it to write your goals and priorities down on paper, as well as to determine what smaller steps you’ll need to take in order to accomplish your ONE Thing. Putting pen to paper to write down these goals automatically increases your chance of success.

Once you’ve completed the GPS worksheet, follow up with the 4-1-1 form to stay on track every month. If you complete a strategy or milestone make the necessary changes to reflect that so your focus stays on the next step ahead. You may also find a month or two into the process that a milestone or even your ONE Thing is off base and has to be re-evaluated. What if you reach your goal? You can keep the momentum going by making your ONE Thing bigger or starting over with a new goal.

Making updates and tracking progress along the way is perfectly fine and can double your chances of reaching the goal. Think of the GPS system as a flexible framework that provides guidance without completely boxing you in.


Get the guide for putting the GPS rule into action! Use the handy one-page GPS system guide we created to get the New Year off to a productive start.