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There’s a lot of really good goal-setting programs out there. You probably use one or two yourself…
And that’s good. After all, most of what they tell you is probably pretty much on target… which is why this post isn’t a full-blown program about every aspect of setting goals.
So, yes, you need to set a start date and deadline for your goals. You need to make them measurable. You need to put in place the resources you’ll need to actually implement them. All that sort of thing…
But there’s one area where I disagree with most conventional approaches to setting goals.
This is a big deal ‒ it can make the difference between “marginal” improvement in your life… and exceptional, explosive progress. And it applies to everything from your personal life and relationships, to finances, health, and spirituality.
What is it?
Simple: you should not set realistic goals…
The Problem with Realistic
Here’s the problem with goals that are “realistic”: if something’s realistic from your present point of view, then you already know you can do it. In other words…
A realistic goal doesn’t inspire you.
It doesn’t offer much of a payoff. It doesn’t help you get to somewhere new, radically different, and amazing in your life.
And if your goal doesn’t offer enough of a payoff to really fire you up… how are going to motivate yourself to accomplish it?
Big and Bad Is Better
Your goals should tap into the the very best that you can be. The part of you that’s practically dying to be set free…
When you start setting goals, you want to imagine what it would look like to see that “you” living life to the fullest.
And to tap into that kind of energy, to see that kind of change in your life… you need goals that speak to that place deep inside of yourself ‒ this place where “realistic” just doesn’t cut it…
There are two big advantages to this approach.
First, BIG goals yield BIG payoffs ‒ and that means big motivation.
You need motivation to reach your goals. And when you look at a goal and think, “Yeah, that’s kinda cool. I guess it will be nice when I’ve done that” ‒ well, there’s just not a lot of energy there.
But when you look at one of your goals and think…
“That’s amazing! When I pull this off, it’s going to be a game changer. This is something I’ve wanted my whole life ‒ and I’m already moving towards it!”…
… you can feel the difference. It generates its own unstoppable momentum.
Second, aiming high means that even if something sets you back, or you do fall short of your goal, you’re going to make a lot more progress than if you only went for low-hanging fruit.
Life happens. There are things that come up that you can’t control, and sometimes they’ll force you to postpone reaching a certain goal or having to settle for less (at least in the short run).
But think about it: if your goal is to make, say, one million dollars in a certain year, and you fall short… you may end up making “only” $879,000. So you fell short ‒ but it’s a lot more than your current income of $150,000 (I’m just using these numbers by way of example).
But if you start out at the same $150,000 and set a goal of $200,000, then you fall short… you may end up making only $175,000. That’s not nothing ‒ but it’s a far cry from $879,000.
In other words, when it comes to falling short of your goals, close to exceptional… is a lot better than close to marginal or “realistic.”
(I give another, more personal example of this dynamic in the video above.)
What Are You Really After?
If you want want marginal, incremental change, set realistic goals.
But if you want to fundamentally change your finances… your health… your spiritual vision… your relationships… dig deeper and aim higher.
Unlock the motivation that will inspire you even when you’re not at your best on a given day.
Unlock the kind of momentum that guarantees massive change and success ‒ even when you fall short.
Set big, bad goals that are almost a little scary.
Write down whatever it will take to make them happen.
Then actually do twice as much as what you wrote down.
And don’t worry: you’ll be able to do twice as much to get where you’re going… because you’ll be truly inspired by your “unrealistic” ‒ but amazing ‒ goals.
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