Bake meta-goals into your plan for 2021.

Finn Shewell
3 min readMar 6, 2021


NB: This was originally posted to my personal website in late 2019. The lessons still hold true — all I’ve changed are the references to the year.

Let’s talk about goals that help us achieve all other goals — let’s talk about meta-goals.

The secret strength behind meta-goals are that they allow for non-linear growth in any given area.
Whatever grows your growth doesn’t just add to your development, it multiplies it. Likewise — any goal that upon completion quickens your achievement of other goals has an exponential effect on your productivity.

Baking in at least one meta-goal every year will get you to your goals quicker, and let you create more informed goals as you go.

There are many ways meta-goals can manifest. They could involve meditation, exercise, time management, communication, stoicism — the general principle to follow is if your goal includes developing a highly-transferrable skill and/or increases your capacity in some form, it’s a meta-goal.

More often than not, we don’t focus on these kind of goals. It’s not intuitive to focus on that which doesn’t directly contribute to our end-goal — but the way we outpace the rest is by breaking out of linear, and jumping into exponential.

It’s important to note that meta-goals aren’t overarching goals or common-ground goals — these are both forms of goals that can feel like a meta-goal, but will keep you on a linear trajectory.

Overarching goals are goals you create that are fulfilled by the completion of at least two other related goals we have — for example, if you wanted to go to the gym more and eat healthy foods, an overarching goal would be to get into better shape.

Common-ground goals contribute toward the completion of at least two other goals we have — if we use the same two examples of going to the gym and eating healthy, a common-ground goal might be to focus on developing your power of will.

The difference between these two goals are directionality — illustrated below.

The difference between these two goals and meta goals is cross-transferability & capacity-building potential:

Meta goals are universally applicable, so they increase the progress of all goals. They can also be capacity-building, allowing for more goals to be held simultaneously. Instead of working on three goals at once, we can work on 4 or more — and achieve every single on quicker.

I’ll be baking meta-goals into my new years resolutions this year — will you be too?



Finn Shewell

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 I help people work together