I’m very goal-oriented. I’ve been setting goals since forever, although meeting them is another story.
I’ve always been trying to set SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. And breaking down those goals into smaller steps to make them more manageable. This is what I used to set my goal to become a billionaire by 40. Spoiler: it didn’t happen.
I still set goals. Often really big. Often failing at reaching it.
People say that setting these Big Hairy Audacious Goals help spur you to achieve great things. Some reasons they give:
- If you strive to meet those big goals, even if you miss, you still would have reached further than you were before.
- Meeting these big goals drives you to say no to the many other things that distract you and allow you to focus.
- Setting these big goals allow you to stretch yourself and break free of your limits.
But lately, I’ve been wondering if this is the best way to do this.
My own experiences with BHAGs has left me feeling like a failure rather than motivating me to push myself beyond my perceived limits. While I would break down goals into smaller ones, I didn’t feel a sense of accomplishment after hitting those if the bigger goal is not being met. Plus, when I didn’t make a small goal, I feel a greater sense of dread because I know my big goal is screwed.
Instead, I’ve been trying to build my processes, focusing more on doing something rather than accomplishing some objective. For example, if my goal is to write the next greatest novel, I won’t break down my goals as Chapter n by x date and Chapter m by y date. Instead, I would set a goal to write n number of words or write for m number of minutes at x time of the day. Setting the time of day is essential to build the habit.
This I’ve found to be most helpful for me in growing. It’s allowed me to learn new things and make progress for the Master’s project. But it’s challenging when working with deadlines because while this process helps you complete a goal, the progress may not align with the deadline.
If your goal is to be better than you were yesterday, with no deadline attached, then try this.
I’m still looking for something that works for me with deadline-oriented projects.