How big must the change in our lives be in order for it to be meaningful? What counts as change?
Many people believe that for change to mean anything in their lives, the actual goal must rate as extremely important on the “importance and impressiveness” scale we have in our heads. So we conjure up enormous goals, which look impressive and magnificent, but at the same time are daunting and overwhelming. Then after a few unsuccessful attempts at trying to achieve these unrealistic goals, we throw in the towel and become disheartened.
Why do we gravitate towards ginormous unrealistic goals? Often, because we make unrealistic comparisons with other people. We become distracted with other people’s goals, dreams and success stories. Instead of just focusing on ourselves and what feels right for us. We forget to be true to ourselves.
The first rule of goal setting: follow the SMART model. Make sure your goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed. These goals should be set against our own abilities, resources and time frame. Not to be measured or compared to others. If that means that you can only do something small right now to move yourself forward, that is significant. That is meaningful. It is not about the size of the goal or what other people think, but your commitment to making the change and then moving in the right direction, irrespective of where it sits on the “important and impressive” scale.
The second rule of goal setting: Large, long term goals must be broken down into smaller more manageable medium and short term goals.
Some goals are realistic and very achievable. They can however be big and overwhelming. An intimidating goal can seem like an elephant sitting on your plate. You have no idea of how to eat it. But how would you eat an elephant? Easy, one bite at a time.
Large goals should be broken down into small “easy to eat” mouthfuls. Smaller intermediate goals are as important as your big, overwhelming goal. If you are moving forward, even if its an inch, you are moving in the right direction. Any change in the right direction, is change that counts.