Reference #43: An Elegant Puzzle


Bad goals are indistinguishable from numbers. It is unclear from reading them whether they are ambitious or why they matter. Good goals comprise four specific types of numbers: a target, a baseline, a trend, and a time frame. A target states what you want to achieve. A baseline identifies where you are today. A trend describes the current direction and speed. A time frame sets bounds for this change. A good goal should allow an external observer to get a sense for how difficult that goal is, and should allow them to afterwards evaluate whether it was achieved.

Larson. An Elegant Puzzle, 2019. (76)

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