There’s no better time than right now to get started on your big goal.
What’s a dream goal that you’ve always wanted to achieve? Maybe it’s a hobby that you’ve always wanted to pursue. Or an idea for a novel that you’re excited to write. Or maybe you’ve always fantasized about moving to another country.
Big goals are so exciting because they tap into our deepest desires and dreams. Which is also why many of us deny ourselves the opportunity to chase after our big goals. We second guess ourselves and start to doubt that we can ever accomplish something big.
But wouldn’t you rather try and go after your big goal then spend the rest of your life wondering…what if?
A big goal doesn’t have to be a flight of fancy. With the right mindset and strategies, you can give yourself the best chance of accomplishing your big goal. Starting now.
Pick a goal that you can’t wait to get started on
If you want to set yourself up for success, make sure your big goal is something that you’re actually excited about.
It sounds obvious but pursuing a goal that you feel pressured or expected to do is going to be a lot more challenging than going for a goal that you want to do. Another way of looking at it is to think about a goal that you secretly want to do, but you’re too scared to pursue out of fear of failure or other concerns.
You think you should apply to grad school because all your friends are going to grad school.
But you secretly want to start your own podcast.
You think you should take up running.
But you secretly want to take a dance class.
You think you should read a book a week.
But you secretly want to go hiking every day.
Choosing a goal that you’re genuinely excited about is half the battle. It will carry you through tough times and give you the motivation you need to stick with it.
Have a loose strategy in the beginning
Far too often we postpone working on our goals because we’re too busy fine tuning our action plans until they’re absolutely perfect.
But there’s no such thing as the perfect plan or strategy. And in many cases, you have to get the goal started before you can even determine what the right course of action is.
So instead of fretting over every single thing you have to do, write in your planner a general list of things you can do.
For example, if your big goal is to start a photography side hustle, then a loose strategy can look something like this:
- Research photography equipment
- Build a photography portfolio
- Reach out to new clients
Then, give yourself a loose timeline. Maybe you’ll reach out to new clients every week or other week. You’ll build your portfolio over the next quarter.
You’re allowed to get acclimated to your goal and figure out steps as you go along. You don’t have to set anything in stone.
Then, when you feel more comfortable with your goal, and start to recognize patterns in your working style and routines, you can add more specificity to your strategy.
I will reach out to 5 clients a week.
I will earn $5000 by the end of the quarter
I will get testimonials from every former client
Learn to work with your internal obstacles
When it comes to big goals, it’s usually not the work itself that’s particularly challenging, but the internal resistance that’s so hard to overcome.
We’re enthusiastic at the beginning stages of our goal, but then, the doubt starts to creep in. We bemoan our lack of progress. We fear that we’re never going to make it.
At this bleak and uncomfortable stage, it’s so easy to feel like you’re the only person on earth who’s ever experienced fear and doubt. But even the world’s most successful people have had to combat their fears.
While you can’t get rid of fear and doubt altogether, you can figure out a way to work with the fear.
Make a list of your doubts and fears. To help you work with your internal obstacles, try this simple but effective exercise. Jot down all the fears and insecurities you have around your big goal: I don’t feel smart enough. I don’t have enough money. Then, next to that statement, offer a counterpoint.
Fear: I’m not smart enough to achieve this big goal.
Counterpoint: I am smart enough and have proven this by teaching myself how to do things in the past, problem solving at work, and countless other reasons. What I don’t know, I’m allowed to learn.
When you present a counterpoint, your fears can’t hold water. The evidence will prove that you are more than capable of going after something big.
Adjust your expectations and deadlines
People tend to give themselves a year to achieve a goal. But keep in mind that some goals are going to take longer to achieve, especially if it’s a big goal.
The bigger goal, the more work it’s going to involve. You’re going to have to master a certain set of skills. You’re growing your network and meeting new people. And you’re developing new habits and routines. This all takes time to develop.
Don’t lose hope just because your goal doesn’t work out by the end of the year. It might take two, five, or even ten years to achieve the final result.
So how do you maintain focus and energy for the long haul? Answer: choose small to medium-sized goal posts that you can strive for.
Your big goal: Write a novel
Medium goals: Write 100 pages in three months and organize a weekly writer’s group.
Small goals: Write one page a day or week and sign up for a writing class.
Instead of waiting around forever to see results, turn your big goal into smaller and medium-sized goals to get a regular sense of accomplishment. You will gain traction in those areas and the momentum will help you ultimately reach your big goal.
Written by JiJi Lee