How to Conquer Your Big Goals

Why you should think about your goals how you would think about eating an elephant

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Just about anything you read on personal development and success training will suggest, and rightly so, that you add goal setting to your life’s routine. Goal setting is essential if you wish to get anywhere or achieve anything of significant magnitude.

Like a ship’s Captain, one must know precisely where they are going if they are to chart a course on how to get there. One must have a clear destination in mind. Drifting at sea without a map, rudder, raised sails, or a functional engine and hoping to float into some fabulous port of riches accidentally is extremely unlikely, if not impossible. Not only do you need to know exactly where you are going, but you also need to know what it is that you are building in your life.

If you come across a man laying bricks in an empty lot and ask him, “Hey, nice work, what are you building?” and he replies, “To be honest, I don’t know.” You would think, “Wow, that’s crazy. He’s working so hard, and he doesn’t know what he’s building. This sounds like a huge waste of energy and effort. It also sounds like he’s not going to build anything of any real value either.”

If we are going to live a life with purpose, we must know where we are headed and what we are creating. Goal setting is central to this personal philosophy. I believe that if we are going to invest the time to set goals for ourselves, we might as well make them big, bold, beautiful goals.

Why aim for mediocrity if we are going to set out on a personal journey? Why strive to get a C on an exam when an A is available to anyone willing to work hard enough to earn it? Set big courageous goals. They tend to be better than small, timid ones. Achieving a massive goal is like building a big brick wall. It has to be done in small steps. It has to be done one brick at a time. Even the best bricklayers don’t lay two bricks at once.

I like to compare this to eating an elephant.

If your goal is enormous, like an elephant, there is only one practical way of achieving it – and that means in small pieces. If you intend to eat an elephant, you have to eat it one bite at a time. You certainly can’t eat an elephant by swallowing it whole. You can’t even cut it into 2 or 3 huge pieces. With that approach, you won’t even choke on it, because you won’t even be able to get pieces of that size in your mouth. To eat an elephant, you would have to cut into tiny, manageable, bite-size pieces. You would also have to be patient and determined. You couldn’t get sick and tired of eating the elephant. You wouldn’t expect to eat an elephant by yourself in an hour, or a day, or a week, or a month. Eating an elephant is an enormous undertaking. And, eating an elephant may not be for everyone.

Take a close look at your life. Is there anything you’d like to change? Are there areas you’d like to improve like your fitness, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, home, car, income, or savings? Most of us would answer yes to at least one of these questions. If you are in that category, go for it.

Set a big goal to improve and go for it. Don’t wait. Start today. Get out your knife and fork and begin devouring your personal elephants. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be done. Then you can order another elephant for dessert.

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