Stepping Stones to Success
“The most important thing about a goal is having one.” –Geoffrey F. Abert
New Year’s resolutions often fizzle out. We aren’t too far into 2022 and you may have already cheated on yours. Big dreams might motivate you, but just thinking about them isn’t enough. Goals differ from resolutions and dreams. They aren’t just things you wish you would change. As Napoleon Hill says, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” A goal is specific, measurable, and has a deadline. Goals give you direction and force you to grow. Essentially, they are the greatest method for helping you focus on the task at hand. They pull you along, helping you to identify the things in your world that are keeping you from transformation and encouraging you to embrace the surrounding things that can facilitate your advancement towards something different; something greater.
“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.”–Brian Tracy
Goals give you the ability to create your future in advance. This can be the future of your career, your finances, your social life, your physical health, or any area of your life. But there are some keys to seeing those goals realized.
Psychology professor, Dr. Gail Matthews, at the Dominican University in California, led a study on goal setting with nearly 270 participants. The results? You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down and share them with a friend.
In order to write and share your goals, you must first identify them. When you think about goals, think about them in four categories; Short-term goals, Mid-term goals, Long-term goals and The BHAG’s (or Big Hairy Audacious Goals).
Short-Term: A short-term goal has a timeline of 30 days. It’s something small and very obtainable. Most likely something you can work toward right now.
Mid-Term: A mid-term goal has a timeline of 6 months. This goal is attainable, but it will take a little more planning and a little more discipline.
Long-Term: A long-term goal has a timeline of 1 year and will take much more planning and discipline.
Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG):
What is a BHAG? A concept developed by Jim Collins in the book Built to Last. “BHAG (pronounced “Bee Hag,” short for “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”) is a powerful way to stimulate progress. A BHAG is clear and compelling, needing little explanation; people get it right away. Think of the NASA moon mission of the 1960s. The best BHAGs require both building for the long term AND exuding a relentless sense of urgency: What do we need to do today, with monomaniacal focus, and tomorrow, and the next day, to defy the probabilities and ultimately achieve our BHAG?”
A BHAG is the ultimate vision of where you want to be. This goal will take a large amount of planning, discipline and sacrifice.
The Big Hairy Audacious Goal is the kind of goal that you lie in bed at night and imagine achieving. It should be just outside your belief level. As Ted Turner says, “You should set goals beyond your reach so you always have something to live for.” Like the high school track star who sets his sights on winning Olympic gold.
When setting your BHAG, consider the ultimate achievement or state that you could reach in each area. Don’t worry about whether you think you can achieve this particular goal. Don’t worry if it seems unrealistic. Some of the greatest accomplishments started as unrealistic dreams.
Ideally, these four categories of goals should feed off each other. Accomplishing your short-term goal should be a stepping stone for your mid-term and long-term goals. Accomplishing a series of long-term goals should put you on the path to accomplishing your BHAG.
A simple example that can apply to any category of your life is setting a BHAG to run a marathon. Your short-term goal would look like getting to 5 miles within 30 days. A mid term goal might be 10 miles, and for a long-term goal you could compete in a half marathon. All of these goals will require discipline and sacrifice and build on one another until you are ready to run that Marathon.
So today, take some time to imagine what your most ambitious dream is. Think big and bold. Turn that dream into a goal that is specific and has a deadline. Then write it down. Then, tell a friend.
Next week, we will go over how to break those other categories down into SMART goals that pave the way, one goal at a time, until your BHAG is now an achievement.
“It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.” — Benjamin E. Mays