Set Smaller Goals

Success always seems like such a big thing doesn’t it? It seems nowadays that to be successful you have to be a billionaire, a top athlete or a movie star and that if you haven’t reached those heights then you’re a failure.

We see the glossy, polished lives of successful people and instantly compare ourselves to them. We want what they have and we want it now!

So we set ourselves a grand (and often unrealistic) goal to achieve. We get started with a bit of motivation but don’t see the results as quickly as we want, we reach an obstacle and give up.

Feeling disheartened we tell ourselves that we’re a failure and we give up on our goal.

Are Your Goals Too Big?

Are you putting unrealistic expectations on yourself or setting goals you’ll never be able to achieve?

The film director James Cameron said that you should set your goals ridiculously high and then if you fail, you’ll fail above everyone else’s success.

This sounds exciting but for most people it’s bad advice. Setting unrealistic goals are demotivating and disheartening. You end up feeling like you’re never making any progress.

For most people you can’t go from broke to billionaire in 6 months, or win next year’s London marathon if you’ve never run before.

Don’t Set One Big Goal, Set Many Small Ones

A better way to look at it may be to set small goals that are actually achievable. Give yourself a really short deadline and then once you’ve achieved that goal, slightly increase it. For example:

  • If your goal is to run a marathon, start with the goal of just trying to run 3 times this week.
  • If you want to loose weight, try just eating one healthy meal today.
  • If you want to be more sociable, try speaking to 1 new person this week.
  • If you want to be smarter, try reading just 1 page of a book each day.
  • If you want to be a tech billionaire, start with try coming up with 3 business ideas this week.
  • If you want to be calmer, try meditating or mindfully breathing for just 1 minute today.

Set smaller goals, achieve them then build on them until eventually your “easy to achieve goals” are really big.

To take the running example again, in month 1 you could start by running for 5 minutes 3 times a week. Then in month 2 you build it up to 10 minutes 3 times a week. Then build it up until eventually you’re comfortably running long distances. Each month you set realistic goals that stretch you a little but you’re able to achieve.

Get into the habit of regularly achieving goals just like the idea of the 1% rule.

You can still have the big goals, but keep them at the back of your mind. Break them down into smaller chunks and instead focus on continued steady progress.

Consistency is Key

Remember, smalls steps taken regularly are better than giant leaps taken infrequently (or never).

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