Smarter Goals: The Pac-Man approach to goal achieving

What can Pac-Man teach us about smarter goals achievement? Back in ancient days, well, the 1980s, there was an arcade game that conquered the world called Pac-Man. Don’t believe me? Go ask your parents if they played! 

Pac-Man is considered a classic and an icon of 1980s popular culture—in fact it even had an animated TV series and a top-ten hit single called “Pac-Man Fever.”

You’ve probably seen how to play: the player would navigate Pac-Man through a maze containing various dots—and Pac-Man would gobble up those dots.

But think about this—what would have happened if Pac-Man ever encountered a dot that was just too big to eat in one bite? Would it be game over?

Hold that thought, I’ll come back to it.

One of the principles to achieving a goal is that a great big goal can be broken down into an even smaller one that can be broken down into a smaller one still, until the goal is a size we can manage—in one bite even.

In fact, you can keep breaking your goal down until it’s just small “action steps” or “tasks”—which are the one action, or step, you need to take next to move closer to your goal.

Smarter goals have clear action steps or tasks: the one step you need to take next to move closer to your goal.

For example, most every millionaire out there was first a half-millionaire. And before that a quarter-millionaire, and a sixteenth, and a thirty-second… and on and on. If you think of it that way, we’re all on the path to becoming a millionaire—as long as we know what small step we need to take today to be one step closer to that goal.

When you’ve made your action steps simple and clear they’re easy to accomplish even when you’re tired or unmotivated. When you deal with specifics, there should be no guesswork about what to do next.

The most important thing to remember is to make each task in your goal achieving process so small and easy that there’s no reason not to achieve it!

Maybe Pac-Man had it figured out after all: eat, avoid mean people, and keep moving to the next level.