Why you should set aggressive goals
As a novice runner, and by novice I truly mean novice, I have a unique aversion to running. I’ve always wanted to but I find it a truly daunting undertaking. I recently ran my first mile in… 10 years?? I’ve been talking for years about how my dream is to run a 5k, but did I ever successfully make it even a mile? No. That is, until I signed up for a half marathon. You must be thinking, as was everyone who knew me… Melanie, you hate to run WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Well, I am taking what I learned through my work experience and applying it to my personal life. Throughout my life, I’ve always been told to set attainable goals, to tell myself that I’m going to run half a mile, because I’ll feel good having done something I know I could accomplish. Don’t set yourself up for failure they said. I’ve since learned that taking the “attainable goals” route leads to inactivity. I know I can do whatever the task at hand is, so I don’t worry about it. It’s pushed to the back of my mind, replaced by things more pressing, things I’m more worried about.
Now, I am a convert. Forget the SMART goals you’ve heard about – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound and start setting goals that motivate, goals that push you beyond what you knew you could do - go for goals that are specific, measurable, aggressive, relevant and time-bound. I understand that there is a fear and stigma against failure driving us to set goals we know we can accomplish, but use that fear to your advantage. Let’s think about this. Say an author sold 10,000 copies of his book last year, so he decides that a good goal is to sell 10,000 again this year. But what’s wrong with this? If you were that author would you continue with the status quo, pushing this goal aside because you know you can achieve it? Or, would you focus on it, worry about it, and try something new to make it happen? You would continue as you are and because of that, maybe you wouldn’t even manage to meet that safe, attainable goal. Aggressive goals force themselves into every conversation; they force you to make a plan (like how I’m going to run a certain number of miles each day until my marathon). They make you think about the future and what you need to do to ensure that you reach that goal, or at least to get close to that goal.
Stretch goals take your fear of failing and use it as a motivator, as a driver. The goal is set, we can’t back down – so what are we going to do about it? My favorite thing about stretch goals, is that even if you miss the goal, say of selling 50,000 books this year by 15,000, you still sold 35,000 books – 25,000 more books then you might have otherwise. Stretch goals translate to results in a way attainable ones usually cannot. Don’t let fear of failure stop you from making a difference. Set aggressive goals.