If you plan to make a New Years Resolution then you need to read this weeks article. I wrote this article nearly two years ago but to this day with nearly 230 articles written, this one remains one of my favorites. Why? Because the goal setting rule that I will share in this article changed the way I will set goals forever and quite frankly, it changed my life, which is why I want to share it with all of you. To be clear, this isn’t only for New Year’s Resolutions but it’s a great time of year to try it out. Let’s get started…
Why did our parents put the cookie jar on the top of the refrigerator when we were young? Because it was out of reach, right? Or so they thought… Did that mean we didn’t get cookies? Shit no. If you were anything like me, it meant you found a way to climb up there and get what you wanted. Maybe you climbed on the counter, or the stool, or stood on your siblings back, but you found a way. You set your sights on a goal that appeared out of reach and you were creative enough to find a way to reach it. Then, as we grow older, for some reason we lose that dedication and creativity. We become so afraid of failing (because society convinces us that failures a bad thing) that we set too small of goals inside of our comfort zone. But if we don’t set goals that are challenging enough, we eliminate the incentive to be creative. Sure, smaller goals are easier to accomplish but they don’t challenge us grow and break outside of where we are most comfortable.
Creativity sparks growth. I love setting goals that make me question my ability to succeed because the excitement comes in exploring new ways of testing my limitations. That is what makes life so exciting. When you set goals that appear out of reach, you force yourself to become creative again just like reaching for that cookie jar as kids. It forces us to try strategies that we otherwise would have never tried. We work harder and smarter than we ever have before because we are chasing something that appears out of reach. Sure, the risk of failure is always higher when we set high expectations for ourselves, but that’s what make the feeling of accomplishing such a difficult goal so euphoric.
Someone once told me, “Under promise and over perform. That way, you don’t let yourself or anybody else down”. Bullshit. I have tried that and it doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to be average and live a life trying not to let people down. I want to live a life of ambition and drive. I want to set goals that appear so far out of reach that people question my sanity because I love the shock factor. I love when someone questions my ability to accomplish a goal and then says “Holy crap. He actually did it.”
Most importantly, I love the feeling of proving to myself I can do anything I set my mind to. What’s the point of setting goals for ourselves that we know we can reach? How does that help us grow? Maybe setting smaller goals helps build confidence in the beginning but so does reaching for the stars and falling flat on our face, because if you are ambitious enough, short term failures will motivate you to try harder. True growth in life calls you to set goals that appear out of reach. It requires us to set goals that challenge the limits we have set for ourselves which is exactly why I created the “Double It” rule.
Allow me to explain…
Let’s set a quick goal. Let’s say to lose 5 lbs. in a month as an example. In theory, that is an awesome goal and anybody that accomplishes it should be proud, right? Now double that goal. That’s right, whatever you decided your goal was, double it and the timeline must remain the same. Rational thought would tell us that we have doubled our expectations and probably cut our chances of success in half, but I disagree. I would argue that you have doubled you goal and likely doubled you chances of accomplishing that goal.
The same work ethic needed to lose 5 lbs. won’t work here. If you doubled the goal to losing 10 lbs in a month but left the timeline the same, you must at least double the work you put in to have a chance of success. Maybe this means we need to workout everyday now instead of 3 times a week. Maybe we run for 30 minutes instead of 15. When you double a goal that you have set for yourself, you give yourself no option but to step outside of your comfort zone and find that creativity again, like reaching for the cookie jar.
At the end of the month if I accomplish my goal then I have exceeded my original expectations for myself. I realized capabilities that I never knew I had and recognized untapped potential. Again, if you are anything like me then you have set goals that you have failed to reach. That’s a good thing. Maybe at the end of the month when you step on the scale you’ve only lost 6 pounds. Is that failure?
No, because remember your original goal was to only lose 5 pounds in the first place. Set goals that appear out of reach because it will challenge you to work harder than you’ve ever worked before and if you don’t reach your doubled goal, chances are you’ve already reached further than you ever thought you could in the first place.
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