The Danger Of Setting Attainable Goals

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attainable goalsI’ve written before about how important it is to set goals. I even wrote a post on making tiny habits a stepping stone for goals. The smaller and more attainable you make your goals, the greater the chance you follow through and achieve that goal.

But there is a danger to setting easily attainable goals – selling yourself short. The best way to describe this is to tell you a story about myself.

Setting A Goal To Achieve

Late last year, I bought myself a fitness tracker because I wanted to see how active I was. I have always been active – lifting weights, running, riding bike – but I never knew how active I really was. The recommended number of daily steps is 10,000. I thought I did this on a daily basis so I left the setting alone.

The first few days, I was blown away – I barely hit 5,000 steps! It turns out that my desk job had me sitting around a lot more than I imagined. Being a competitive person, I wanted to hit a goal. But, I knew that finding a way to fit in over twice the amount of steps I was used to would be a recipe for failure. So I lowered my goal to 5,000 steps. I started to hit that goal daily and after a few weeks, I increased the goal to 5,500.

After a few weeks of hitting that goal, I increased my overall steps again. Fast forward to today, and I am hitting 10,000 on a daily basis. While lowering my goal to an attainable one worked for me, it could easily have derailed myself.

This is because I might have become comfortable hitting 5,000 steps and not try for more. After all, I was hitting my goal.

Push Yourself And Stay Accountable

The key in making attainable goals is to make sure you continue to push yourself. Don’t settle once you hit a goal. Create a new goal that will force you to continue pushing ahead. When you attain that goal, increase the goal again.

You can apply this principle to any area of life that you want. Let’s say you want to start flossing regularly. Instead of trying to floss every night, set up an attainable goal of flossing on Sunday and Monday nights. Once you have succeeded, add in another day or two.

Understand that the point isn’t to avoid failing at your goal. You should know by now that I am in favor of failing. But sometimes, we like to bite off way more than we can chew. This is understandable as we don’t know the commitment a certain goal will take to reach. If you take a step back and look things over, you will know when it is right to set an attainable goal.

I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to reach 10,000 steps on a daily basis with my schedule. So I modified things and set up a goal that I could reasonably achieve. When I met that goal, it was time for more work, not time for celebration.

Final Thoughts

I urge you to consider setting attainable goals for the things in life that you want to achieve but seem way too big or scary to reach. If you can break it down into smaller steps, you will see that the goal is attainable and by hitting your smaller goals, you will build momentum and motivation along the way.

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