Ms ZiYou Goals

More-Better-Different-Less – A Goal Evaluation Framework

Holler, where has the year gone? Can you believe we are exactly halfway through the year? Me neither, as I get older time seems to fly by more quickly. And being a field marshall – ENTJ personality type, I love to plan and review progress. Lately, I’ve been liking the more-better-different-less framework to evaluate progress, as an evolution of the stop, start, continue framework.

Framework? What is that?

Some goals are easy to measure, if you want to pass a test, there is a pass mark and then if you meet that mark you pass, and if you under that mark you fail. However, as life develops, the clear black and white of academia becomes much greyer. When things are more subjective, how do you determine progress and success? There are many different approaches out there, and new frameworks being developed all the time. Like clothes, some frameworks come into fashion as others become dated and uncool.


Ms ZiYou WallEnter more-better-different-less. This framework is originally developed for feedback, but I also like it for evaluating progress myself on goals and life in general.

It’s really simple and allows you to segment items into the four named categories. What I love is the forward-thinking approach, so as well as evaluating the past, you are forced to think about the future. You can evaluate the past and plan for the future together.

More: What went well, did you really enjoy and want to do more of? I love this for encapsulating all things you love and are excited by.

Better: What do you want to still do, but tweak your approach? And this acknowledges these items are important and can be improved.

Different: What do you want to do in a completely different way? Yet here you have items that you still want to do, but need to rethink the method or approach.

Less: And what do you want to stop doing, or cut back on? Here are the failures, and items you have now realised are low-value activities.

What are my big goals for 2018 and how are they coming along?

Ms ZiYou Evaluating


Like a mad woman, I’ve on a two marathons a year schedule. And in the first half of 2018, I have already run one marathon. It was a trail marathon and I was very slow – despite my hopes to love it, I really did not.


I’m learning Chinese and making slow but reasonably steady progress. I am aiming to pass HSK 3 & 4 this year. I have the HSK 3 test in mid-July, so I’m feeling the HSK 4 by the end of the year is feeling kind of ambitious.


I’m loving blogging and connecting with people in the FI community, but procrastination gets me occasionally. I feel I need to be in the right frame of mind to write, whereas I can do my day job – write code and manage projects no matter how tired or unenthusiastic I am.

Plans for H2 2018

If all the planets align I could be quitting work in two years, which is equally exciting and terrifying. Or it could be 2.5 years. Or more. So I need to get myself comfortable with all these possibilities – I want to be truly flexible.

I’ve got my 40 by 40 list to be crossing off – am I making progress on this?

Revaluate – More, Better, Different, Less

Ms ZiYou Evaluate

So how will I approach the second half of 2018? I know doing exactly the same thing exactly the same way gets exactly the same results. So I need to be prepared to make changes to obtain better results.

Hence I want to use the more-better-different-less framework to shape my thinking and drive the way I approach the latter half of the year.

More: I want to spend more time learning Chinese, I feel I’ve taken my foot off the pedal and I really want to refocus here for the second half of the year.

Better: I’m going to put running here, I need to up my training to try and improve my marathon time. I know what I need to do here, drop some weight, eat more healthily and keep to the training plan. Moreover, the bit I always struggle with is running harder and faster. I need to seek ideas and inspiration to get over this barrier.

Different: I’m going to start mixing up my commute with my newly purchased bike. As detailed here in Should I get a bike? I live too far from the office to initially cycle commute, but I might be able to work up to it. And in the interim, I am breaking in the bike by cycling to the station. And also learning how to cycle in the city, by Boris biking it from station to the office. So far, so good.

Less: I’m loving the blog, but some parts of it are less fun than others. I’m hence going to make an executive decision to care less about SEO and just write what I love without clickbaity titles. And I’m going to stick to the core blog and twitter, and officially close the Pinterest trial. At the end of the day, I found the Pinterest clicks too low quality, alongside it feeling like a mammoth undertaking to design pins. And it is very freeing to make that decision.

Over to you

  • How do you evaluate your goals?
  • How are you doing for your 2018 goals?

Thanks for reading – please leave a comment below and join in the conversation. You can also connect on Twitter.

Looking forward to your thoughts and ideas – all are welcome. 

18 comments on “More-Better-Different-Less – A Goal Evaluation Framework

  1. Hello Ms Zi You – good for you to start biking. I did get a bike, and I could have also biked to my bus station but, ahem… I drive every day to the bus station instead… Don’t be like coco… 😛

    I also find that I enjoy twitter and blogging the most. Others, not so much

    1. Hi Coco, so you got a bike, that’s cool. What’s stopping you getting on that bike? So far my bike is just replacing journeys I’d usually walk, but you’ve got to start somewhere right?

      Agree – twitter is awesome, as is blogging. I’m going to keep it simple.

  2. Ive been to Iceland in the winter and still did the waterfalls Didn’t do the Northern lights sbd several people had been out 3 times that trip and still not seen it. I was told Canada is one of the best places

    1. Hi FBA – that’s cool to hear the waterfalls are still good in the winter – I suspect they are much better than us about keeping everything going when it’s snowing! And I’m starting to realise there are many other options than Iceland for the Northern lights – I’ll now add Canada to the list!

  3. Sadly bitter sweet memories for me beautiful place but the last holiday i went on with my ex before we split up

    1. Yes, Lake Bled was absolutely stunning – such a unique place and great hiking. Sorry to hear it has bad memories for you – sounds like you need a repeat trip to make some new memories.

  4. I’ve never heard of this framework before. It’s interesting. We’ll see how it works out.
    As for blogging, it’s probably a good move to care a bit less about SEO and Pinterest. They are a lot of work if you want to do it right. Good luck with the 2nd half.

    1. Hey Joe, you have clearly been out of the workforce so long to have forgotten all about the corporate BS – most of it is rubbish but the odd bit works!

  5. It’s true. Pinterest is so time consuming – and if you’re looking to simply share your journey – I wouldn’t waste your time! We know you’re on Twitter and we’ll find your stuff (the people who matter!). I can’t believe you’re running marathon after marathon. You’re awesome!

  6. I really like the framework and now I have to ruminate on how it applies to my year so far. Right off, I have to say that blogging is so time-consuming and I only write about once a month! I still think there will be less. I want more trailer trips, and to get better at hiking. Nothing comes to my mind on “different”. And so I will be brainstorming on this one for a while. Thank you.

    Also, your marathon running is impressive. My husband was a very good marathon runner way back in his 20s (his PR is 2:23) and he could not do more than 2 a year. I ran back then, very, very slowly. Now at age 58 and he is 61, we are just happy to challenge ourselves in the Sierras.

    1. Hi Susan- I completely agree, blogging is very time-consuming – I’m always amazed at those who manage to post so often and do so many other things – it’s amazing.

      Wow – your hubby was a very, very decent runner. Impressed. I’m more a leisure marathoner! The sierras sound lovely to explore.

  7. I feel you on the procrastination front. What are any methods you use to get over procrastination and keep yourself on a blogging schedule? New habits are hard, and I’d love to hear how you keep yourself accountable. Thanks! <3

    1. I don’t think I really have a great solution yet; some days I am motivated, some days I am not. So I’m trying to stockpile enough posts so I have them scheduled in advance. Trying being the word, life’s been busy so not got there yet.

  8. I’m not a great one for setting goals in the first place. Having worked in an (artificial) target orientated environment for so long I dislike sitting down and thinking about what I want to achieve for the year, hence still no bucket list at 50! Having said that I keep setting mini goals for my blog then ignoring them or changing them. Just getting started on SEO and it’s hard! I actually like Pinterest, it’s kinda fun. But it is a total time suck and there is no point in doing it once or twice a week of you want it to increase traffic.

    1. Flexible goals are the type I love – mixing and matching them depending on how life is going and how my interests have changed.

      Good luck with SEO, the fact the algorithms keep changing, and there is no “right” answer really deters me from putting in much effort.

What do you think?