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5 Reasons to Eat an Elephant

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Are You Dreaming Big Enough?

I'm sure you've heard the question, "how do you eat an elephant?". The answer is "one bite at a time". This is a striking metaphor for setting big goals. As one professional speaker likes to call them Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (BHAGs). These are goals that are beyond stretch. They are miles past your current capabilities and even vision.

Personally, I think there is great reason to argue whether you should set big goals or small, incremental goals. On the one hand, big goals stretch your thinking and give you great energy, or fuel, to push you beyond yourself. Getting yourself to take action is a critical step in change. On the other hand, small, incremental goals give you confidence to set more goals. In reality, these objectives are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they work together. First, set HUGE goals, then, set smaller goals that are in alignment with these goals or as some might say, DREAMS.

What If I Fail?

Initially, it seems like radical, crazy goals contradict the R in SMART goal setting. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, and Time Constrained. You may immediately dismiss a desire you have by saying to yourself that you could never achieve something that grand. However, think about all of the the people who have changed the world. Do you really think that Steve Jobs, who was given up for adoption, had any reason to believe that he could build a company that would bring the power of computer technology to the masses?

You will never know your own limits until to test them. If you've never considered setting outrageous goals or you have moved away from them, consider the following 5 reasons to set bigger, mind-blowing goals:
  1. To create excitement. Big goals, day-dreaming, or even fantasizing will get you excited about your future. Imagine for a moment what your life would be like if you could do anything you wanted without your current restrictions of money supply, low energy, poor relationships, ignorance, or other barriers to what you really want. Big goals and dreams overcome the inertia created by a lack of willpower. Imagining how things could be will push you to take action. The higher the goal, the less likely you'll be distracted by self-pity or small hindrances.
  2. To breakthrough barriers. In the short-term, your options are somewhat limited by your past experience, current circumstances, and personal skills and abilities. However, in the longer term, your options are virtually unlimited. When you broaden your vision through bigger goals, you notice the things that are holding you back. You may have personal beliefs to change, skills to acquire, resources to accumulate, or networks to build. A bigger vision forces you to look at your through a telescope instead of a microscope; thereby, noticing the big adjustments you need to make to be who you really want to be.
  3. To Become more resilient. When your goals are really important, minor setbacks will not derail you. If all you have is small goals, it's easy to quit on them. However, if you set some big goals, somehow the smaller problems become less important. For example, when it comes to distractions, it's easier to say 'no' when you have a bigger 'yes' burning inside you. Big goals give you that bigger yes.
  4. To confront our shortcomings. Regardless of where you are on your personal journey, you still have weaknesses or deficiencies that you need to address. It's easy to let these slide if you're comfortable or happy with good enough or mediocre. However, if you've decided that your current state is not good enough and the next few incremental steps are not going to cut it either, you must take a hard look at your current bad habits, limiting beliefs, and meager performance. In short, you must take responsibility, personal responsibility, for your own success. This requires you to fix you.
  5. To develop sustainable behavior, i.e. habits. Big goals require ultimately changes in your behavior. If you change your behavior, you change your environment. It's simply just a matter of time for your environment to catch up to your new behaviors. Through this process of creating and striving toward big goals, you will become a positive, solution-oriented thinker. You will develop a confidence in yourself including your ability to change and to get things done.
When you realize that your results are a result of what you've been doing, you will start to see changes in yourself that you never thought possible. This is possibility thinking and this is why you eat an elephant. While you may never actually finish eating your elephant, you will change who you are and what you do in dramatically positive ways in the process.

We have tools that will help you eat the elephants in your life. If you want to start small, try one our individual Planner Forms. These pdf forms are designed to help you take your BHAGs and make them actionable.
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