Goals are the challenging targets we set for ourselves and strive towards. They are the things we wish to achieve.
What fascinates me is the way we respond to the goals we set.
Too easy and we get bored. Too hard and we give up.
In other words, good goals are a little bit like the three bears and their porridge – not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
1. They are usually harder than normal goals, and
2. They involve novelty (creative thinking, or total overhaul).
Stretch goals are for the brave.
They help you challenge yourself to get better at what you do.
And they are a bit like highly concentrated dishwashing liquid – you only need one or two drops to get amazing results.
Some people call them ‘impossible goals’.
I like to think of them as hard, scary but believable goals.
And in business, just as in life, stretch goals are a wonderful tool to help you move through fear, challenges and self-doubt.
What Is A Stretch Goal?
Extreme difficulty means going beyond your current capability and performance.
This could mean going all out to lose 15kg, or holding a big marketing event to attract 100 people to your business, or just saving an extra $300 this month.
Extreme novelty means working differently, creatively, following new paths or approaches never tried before.
For you, this could mean trying a totally new exercise approach, or making a complete change in your business model.
Why Set A Stretch Goal?
And it is ALL those things.
BUT the results you get from a stretch goal are worth it:
• the ability to manage risks, and
In summary, a stretch goal is a hard goal that really pushes you outside your comfort zone so you can truly discover what you’re capable of.
It requires you to be creative, resourceful and focused, to be courageous and determined, and well organised.
Top performers know that failure is part of the process so more than anything, stretch goals are an exercise in developing self-belief, acceptance and persistence by achieving bigger things than you thought were possible.
Choosing a Stretch Goal
Think about an area of your business that you find super challenging, but which is within your reach.
Maybe it’s the courage to speak at a networking group – if live conversation is generally a strength of yours already.
Maybe it’s submitting an article to an online magazine you’d love to be featured in, like Mamma Mia, or Thrive Global.
Maybe it’s running a free 5-day challenge to people in your audience and getting in touch with everyone you know to help you promote it.
Maybe it’s asking for help from a mentor to get some tech set up, or attending a course, so you can finally get your business going.
Alternatives to Stretch Goals
Here are some ideas:
• Choose a smaller goal that you KNOW you can win (confidence)
• Choose a small-risk goal that might be a loss but that will teach you something (knowledge and growth)
• Create efficiencies in what you’re doing now (improve, enhance)
• Create a buffer of time, money or other resources to help you overcome your current obstacles (build a buffer)
Recently, I challenged myself to do 30 minutes of exercise every day of the month. I managed to exercise every day, but it wasn’t always 30 minutes.
So, I won most days, and lost a few.
But I learned SO much in that process.
Committing to exercise no matter what forced me to be agile when situations changed, so I could still fit in some exercise.
It made me schedule time each day to fit it in.
It made me think creatively to overcome my barriers to exercise: tiredness, rain, cold weather, a busy schedule.
Most of all, this challenge taught me to anticipate disruptions and plan for them so I could fit in some exercise every day, no matter what.
Yes, I ‘closed my rings’ on most days (still wearing the Apple watch).
But I also sharpened my agility, and I learned more about how I work and planning, how to get the best out of myself in any situation, how to persist, and I enjoyed more work life balance, a better mood, more focus and a sense of achievement.
Stretch goals can be something that boost your business to the next level, by helping you muster the courage to propel yourself past, around and over the obstacles.