Big or small? Realistic or unrealistic? Conservative or BHAG? What’s the BEST type of goal to set in 2019?

The answer is in this video…




If you’re watching this video you probably saw the image that I put out on social media about goal setting for 2019, asking the question, which one do you think is better between the two types of goals? And out of curiosity, which one did you choose?

Because when we look at goals there are a lot of different myths out there in regards to goal setting. What’s the right way to do it? What’s the wrong way to do it? Some people will say, “You need to set small, realistic, achievable, attainable goals and then accomplish those.” And other people will say, “You need to set the big, hairy, audacious, unrealistic goals and they need to be far out there that it stretches you and FORCES you to grow and develop.”

What is the right and the wrong way? I’ll let you in on kind of a secret there – there is not a right and wrong way. There is not one that is better, and there is not one that is worse. Let’s take a look at a reason why…

If you look at the first one, all of what we’re going to talk about throughout the course of this video is what we call in psychology, explanatory style. And it’s basically whether we achieve something or whether we don’t achieve something, what is the style that we use to explain the events that have happened or have not happened in our life?

So, the first goal is a realistic or an attainable goal. If you look at and if you achieve and you accomplish that and from a positive standpoint you feel really good about yourself and it builds your confidence and it empowers you to say, “That’s a job well done and I really achieved and accomplished what I set out to do.” Then that’s absolutely the right type of goal.

Or you could look at it and you could say, “Well, that was easy. Anyone could have done that. It was simple, it took no talent,” and diminish yourself. This is what we call personalization underneath the kind of explanatory style part of psychology. It’s how much personal responsibility and accountability you take for the results or for the things that end up happening in your life.

So you can very easily look at that small goal and you can say, “This was great,” and it can empower you or it can bring you down as well.

Maybe you set out and you’ve never done a race before and you decided you’re going to do a 5K this year. Well, if you do a 5K race and if you get done with it and you really feel good about yourself and say, “I set out and I did that and it was awesome!”, then that could maybe empower you to do a five mile or a 10K or something else. Or you could look at it and you could say, “Well, a 5K is nothing. I know all these people that do marathons and do hundred mile runs and crazy stuff like that.”, and you can put yourself down and think that what you did was really no big deal, rather than letting it build your confidence.

The second goal is the unrealistic or big, hairy, audacious goal. And you can also look at that one of two ways. Because especially if you’re looking at the first goal on top and then the second goal underneath it, you can look at those two and you can very easily, even though you fell short of your goal, you can say, “Well look how far down the line I am from putting this goal out there, even though I fell short, I’m still so far down this road and I’m actually further along than I would have been had I set the more realistic, or more attainable or achievable goal!”

You can look at it like that and you can look at it positively, or you could look at it and you could say, “I’m a failure. It was a mistake and I didn’t achieve and accomplish what I want.” Instead of actually feeling good about the progress you did make and how far along you are towards that goal.

Let’s take weight loss because that’s a popular new year’s resolution. You can say, “In 2019, I want to lose 20 pounds.” And maybe you only ever get to 12 or 15. Okay, well when you look at that 12 or 15, do you give yourself some credit for that amount of progress that you’ve made on the way to 20 pounds? Or do you beat yourself up because you never actually got to that number on the scale that you wanted?

What you say to yourself from that explanatory style perspective MATTERS. It matters in everything. And the bottom line, when it comes to these two goals, is it’s different strokes for different folks. No two people are exactly the same, and I would bet that both of these goals and some way, shape or form have probably played out in your life. I don’t know how you’ve explained them, but I hope from listening to this video that you’ll start to look at when I set a goal, small or big, and achieve it or fall a little bit short, what do you say to myself afterwards? Because we’re never looking at one goal in a vacuum, we’re actually looking at how can that one goal or that one thing that I did, how is that going to stack up and how is that going to affect things over time?

That’s where explanatory style becomes so big. So as you go forward from here, pay attention to that, what are you saying to yourself? I don’t know which goal will be best for you. If you’re someone that’s taken your knocks and you struggled to be successful in some things for a while, I’d probably steer you towards building up some small wins and setting some of those more achievable and attainable goals to build your confidence and empower you. I’d recommend that starting out.

But if you’re someone that is kind of like me, where you’re okay putting big, lofty goals out there, and even if you shoot for the moon, you still fall amongst the stars, then put the big goal out there. It’s completely up to you, but go out there and go get it in 2019! And as always, wishing you the best of health, happiness, high performance. Have a great day.