The importance of goal-setting is crucial for success in life. Operating without goals is like driving without a destination. You’ll travel some distance but you’ll never get anywhere you want to go. People employ different strategies when it comes to goal-setting. Some people employ mini-goals so as not to get overwhelmed. A mini-goal is easier to meet and you’ll see results faster, which encourages you to set the next mini-goal. But having an overall goal is important too. Would you strive so hard to reach that 5 pound weight-loss mini-goal if your overall goal of 25 pounds wasn’t so big?
Some people fear setting a high goal. They aim lower because they don’t want to fail in reaching their goal. They fear that failure to meet the end goal would mean failure of all efforts and progress. If you set a high goal and you don’t meet it, what is the worst that could happen? You’ve tried to meet your goal and you’ve made progress towards your goal. If you’ve failed then you can make adjustments. Maybe you change your goal or you change the amount of time you’ve given yourself to meet that goal. Becoming more comfortable with failure is as important a part of self-acceptance as being a success. You can fail at achieving a goal and still be a confident person if you’ve tried your hardest and you’ve made progress.
For so many professions, failure and criticism is a part of daily life. Actors endure hundreds of failed auditions before getting a part. Writers and musicians see their work go unpublished before getting a deal. People looking for jobs may go on interview after interview before ever getting an offer. If your goal is to succeed without failure then you are sure to be disappointed. Don’t be afraid to fail in the process of achieving your goal. Failure is an important part of the process and will make the achievement of your goal that much sweeter.
If you can overcome your fear of setting a large goal, don’t be afraid to set it higher than you might think you can achieve. Part of setting the goal, writing it down, determining it in your mind, is the declaration of your intention. If you have the intention and desire for success, it is more likely to come to you. I learned this lesson from Girl Scout cookies. My 6 year-old daughter decided she wanted to win the stuffed cow for selling 200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Two hundred boxes is a lot of cookies and I didn’t think we’d come close, so I tried to manage her expectations. A few days before the end of the sale we had sold about 175 boxes and I had run out of people to ask. All of a sudden people I never would have thought of started giving me orders: the receptionist at the doctor’s office, the school bus driver, a friend we hadn’t seen in a long time. At the end of the sale we had sold 200 on the nose. It was the setting of an unrealistically high goal that brought those extra sales in, because I wouldn’t have been looking for them if we weren’t striving for that number.
Whether your goal is for success at work, relationships, or personal achievement, you can set it higher than you think. If you let go of your fear and trust in your own ability you can achieve more than you ever thought possible.