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Your Goals Are Too Small

1) I want you to think about something.

Maybe you’re like me: coasting along, doing okay, not lacking for anything material. You have a good life.

What else is there? Oh, that’s right: everything.

At a certain point you have you ask yourself, am I playing a small game or a big one? Am I truly striving? Am I really challenging myself?

Sure, life isn’t a game. But thinking of it like a game can help. Every day you’ve got to clear the obstacles, defeat the boss, and get to the next level. Along the way there are pitfalls to avoid and opportunities to grow stronger.

It should be fun but it shouldn’t be too easy. At each stage we should feel a sense of accomplishment. That was a close one! But look what we did.

Life also isn’t a practice session. It’s the real thing, with little opportunity to reset or lower the difficulty level. And you don’t want to lose the game, do you?

2. Let’s talk about goals.

You may prefer to live entirely in the moment. Well, enjoy that feeling while you can. Sooner or later, you’ll realize there’s more to it.

When it comes to goals, at one time you might have preferred small. That was nice. That was what they call a good start.

Don’t get me wrong: when you’re beginning, the little things matter. Running a mile is a big deal if you’ve never done it before.

But later, when it becomes a regular thing to lace up and hit the neighborhood for a 4-miler, and the whole time you’re thinking about other things and there’s no challenge … that’s when you’ve got to make a change.

It’s time to sign up for that marathon—before you’re ready. It’s time to say, you know, I’ve been thinking about this thing for a while. Maybe instead of thinking about it, I should do something about it.

Or maybe I’m already doing it, but my vision has been too small.

Bigger isn’t always better, but sometimes it is.

So step it up! You know what to do.

3. Your confidence from overcoming earlier challenges has given rise to two new belief structures:

  1. That wasn’t so hard, was it?
  2. What’s next?

Because it’s not a goal if it’s something you’re going to do anyway. If your stretch goal is to walk to the store and get milk, you can accomplish everything you want in life before lunchtime but still feel hollow.

It’s not the fear of missing out you need to worry about. It’s the fear of being unafraid to take a risk when you knew the time had come.

You don’t want to wind up thinking, “Huh. I wonder if I should have tried that.”

You want to look back and think, “Hell yeah!”

It can be tough, I know. When you have a good life or a good job, it’s easy to accept it for what it is.

But somehow we need to rise above the ordinary, even when the ordinary is fine and well.

If you don’t like goals, no worries. If you don’t get it, it’s all good. But this one goes out to the people who need to hear it.

If that’s you, your goals are too small. Raise the stakes!


Are you stepping up? What holds you back from raising the stakes? Share comments here.


Image: Matley