Aim High (but not too high) with your New Year's Resolutions

I hope you had a wonderful first weekend of the New Year. Before we move onto how to make all of your right brain resolutions happen - we’re going to up the ante a bit during the setting process. 

Now your resolution list can definitely have some easy wins on it. If you are resolving to drink 64 ounces of water every day in 2020 - that’s fabulous. If you’re going to meditate for 15 minutes every day - wonderful (learning to meditate is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, by the way). These are small habits that can have a big impact on your wellbeing.

But let's also put some hair on your goals…

I’d also like you to consider having some BHAGs on your list. What’s a BHAG? It’s a BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL. Martha Beck calls them your WIGS (Wildly Improbable Goals), Brooke Castillo calls them your impossible goals and Jim Collins calls them your BHAGS. I’ve recently come to calling them a scary Gary goal because my positive psychology colleague, Gary Ross, starting setting some big goals lately that I find to be very inspiring. Go Gary!

Call them whatever you’d like, but commit to getting comfortable getting out of your comfort zone in 2020. 

Your BHAG might be to write and publish a novel/memoir/coffee table/self-help book, it might be to give a TEDx talk. Maybe it’s to have a sold-out art shown in a gallery that feels outside of your league, start a podcast, write a screenplay, sell a screenplay or have your photos featured in a magazine. Or perhaps you want to make mid-six or seven figures. Or you finally want your side hustle to replace your main hustle. Or maybe your BHAG is to take the family on a sabbatical to Singapore for a year.

In the next 12 months, it’s likely that you’ll encounter crosswinds in making your right brain resolutions a part of your life, so, as my dear alma mater, Cranbrook, taught me, aim high, then aim higher.

Cranbrook's motto, Aim High

Whatever it is. Aim High.

In a Wiese and Freund, 2005 study, research showed that those who set goals with high difficulty experienced statistically significantly more positive emotions than those who set goals with low difficulty. Those who set high goals didn’t experience burnout either.

According to Mento, Locke and Klein in 1992, hard goals lead to more pride and respect. Their research concluded that although high goals require more energy and effort to pursue, the subjective benefits largely outweigh the costs. In lay terms? We are more energized, alive and engaged with our big goals than we are with our little ones.

In this 2-minute video, Viktor Frankl, the holocaust survivor and writer of Man’s Search for Meaning, shares a story about taking flying lessons. He says that his flying instructor explained that pilots must do something called “crabbing” when plotting their flight path. 

In order to counteract inevitable crosswinds, they need to aim north of their destination. 

When they aim higher than the target, the pilots make it just fine. If they aim for just the target, the crosswinds blow them off track and they miss.

A few inspiring BHAGS

A few years ago, I attended grandparents' day at my daughters’ school. The grandfather in our group shared a story that when he was a boy, he was barefoot, dirt poor and growing up on a farm in Kansas, and, one day, he saw an airplane fly over his house. 

His family barely had enough money to make ends meet and, but at that moment, he set his BHAG and decided he would be a pilot when he grew up. This over 65-year old gentleman then shared with us the details of his long career as an air force pilot, a commercial pilot and, of course, a personal pilot, as he had also bought and built planes for his own family fun. 

JFK set a BHAG when he challenged our country to make it to the moon and back safely. Microsoft's BHAG was to have a computer on every desk and in every home.

Stuck? Try this

If you are feeling frozen right now and can't conjure up a BHAG to save your life, ask yourself a few of these key questions:

1) What activities do you do when you're procrastinating
2) What's something that gives you chills
3) What gives you butterflies in your stomach?
4) What's something you envy in a friend?
5) What did you love to do as a kid?


The caveat to all of this is that BHAGS need to be outside of your comfort zone, but not all the way into your panic zone.

BHAGS are relative. You don’t need your BHAG to be the same as Elon Musk’s. It just needs to be something that stretches and is meaningful to YOU. When I was struggling with infertility, my BHAG was to be a mom. This is something that comes pretty easily to a lot of people, but I was not one of them.

Think about your BHAG like you’re about to jump into a body of water from a high dive. Look down at the water and notice your fear. 

If you’re scared, but you’re jumping into an inviting crystal clear lake or turquoise Caribbean sea
. If you’re up on the high dive and feel like you're about to plummet into a vat of sludge, this probably is not a goal worth pushing yourself for.

You’ll be scared either way, but who wants their result to be to swim in sludge?

I promise we will learn how to deal with the fear before I send you on your way, so don’t let your emotional elephant panic before even putting pen to paper. Write down that BHAG no matter how hairy, scary (and exciting!) it might seem.

Lizzie Larock
Larock Star Creative
Creator of Gratitude Gravy and The Life Feast

 PS The Life Feast And The Life Feast part deux both open for registration soooooon. Not yet, but very very soon. 

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