Why We Should All Set Goals So Big They Scare Us
The better version of yourself starts with challenging your limits. The magic in extraordinary goals is that it requires you to take massive action, forces personal growth, and the payoff — even if it’s an epic fail — is worth the risk.
Three reasons to set big goals:
1. Big goals require you to think on a higher level. It forces you to stretch what you believe is possible. To challenge your thinking, this level of goal attainment requires that you start with planning your approach and invoking a level of innovation and creative thinking that may not be necessary with small goals.
2. It requires you to take inventory of your skills and assess what you really need. Many of us are forever students, consuming information, hoarding our skills, rehearsing scenarios in our heads. Yet, we still feel we are too inadequate to act and execute our knowledge. This resistance to risk and embracing opportunities only feeds fear. However, have you challenged that lately? Fear doesn’t always give us an accurate assessment of danger, or in this case, how well prepared you really are. To determine that, you have to take your assets and use them.
Here’s how- Take a look at what you want to achieve, list 3 skills and strengths that you already possess that can get you there, and use that data to support following through on your SMART goals. Athletes are a great example of this. Each time they compete, they execute their plan that incorporates their training. Once the event is over, they reassess where they are based on their performance. Audacious goals require you to have a plan to take your training and compete at your highest caliber, then fine-tune your skill sets and get back out again.
3. It fosters a sense of mastery. The more you practice executing all that knowledge and skill you’ve spent all this time building up, the better you’ll get in your field of expertise. Even if you’ve recently experienced failure or rejection, shift your focus to the lessons you can learn that will support mastery of your craft.Repeated failure for example can indicate a lack of preparation – that some skill or combination of skills is missing. For example, I haven’t been as active I would like to be in the past year (pandemic and all) and if I get out and try to run 3.1 miles in 30 minutes, it’s just not happening (even though your girl is a Marathoner). However, it’s not that I’ve failed at running, I have to start over and focus on mastering an aspect or one piece of the puzzle that supports reaching my goal. In my case, it may be learning to manage my breathing again so I don’t pass out at .2 miles or setting a mini goal to build my physical endurance by adding CrossFit to strengthen my dormant muscles, which can then support that endurance towards the goal. Master the parts, get closer to the whole.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s scary as hell to set goals beyond your realm of comfort and in those moments our minds have a funny way of finding all the challenges to help you change your mind. This is where procrastination begins to set in: as we try to avoid what we perceive might be overwhelming or hard work, we find ways to get sidetracked and trick ourselves into thinking that we’re busy. So rather than working towards our big goals, we hesitate to commit, we ignore, we lose motivation, we settle, we quit.
If the goal doesn’t scare you a little bit though, it probably isn’t big enough. Big goals require a big commitment and will inspire you to become a completely different person than the one you are right now. In order for those big shifts to happen, that discomfort has to be significant enough to get under your skin so you consider something else besides that status quo.
Just know that when you do take that one small action towards what is required to achieve that next level of success, you short circuit that internal system built around fear, and if you do that enough that feeling of fear becomes a positive experience, making it easier to continue the small steps needed towards your goal.
We all have plenty of fears and excuses, but all it takes is to do that ONE thing. Embrace the big-ass goals and keep at it day after day, you’ll be surprised where it takes you personally and professionally.
How about you, what is your big audacious goal? What’s one step you can take towards it today or in the next week? Share it with us in the comments.
Amanda Fludd is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Coach, and Mental Health Consultant addressing the emotional needs of individuals and the work cultures that support them.