Everyone likes having big goals. Thinking about the things you want to do some day makes you feel good about your life, even if you're not there yet. However, smaller, achievable goals may have a more realistic chance of getting you off your butt.
Picture: John O'Nolan
As tips blog The Art of Manliness points out, big goals tend to overwhelm us into inaction. Most people could agree the view from Mount Everest is amazing, but few of us actually want to go there because the challenge to get there is astronomical. The loftier your goals are, the less likely you are to get motivated to reach them. However, if your goals are easier to take action on, you'll probably get off your couch and start doing stuff:
The enormity of your goals ends up overwhelming you into inaction. What we moderns call "stress" would be better termed "fear"; the physiological reaction is the same in both emotions. A big, audacious goal looks to the brain just like a saber-toothed tiger stalking us in the woods, and the idea of paying off $US100K in student loan debt seems so impossible that it's actually scary. And when our brain encounters scary, the old amygdala kicks into fight-flight-freeze mode, and you assume the position of deer-stuck-in-headlights.
Of course, that doesn't mean you can't have long-term dreams. Everyone could use something to shoot for. However, if your only goal is "Some day I want to make a big Hollywood movie!" you're probably not going to get as much done as you would if your goal is "This week I'm going to shoot a video in my backyard."
Get 1% Better Every Day: The Kaizen Way to Self-Improvement [The Art of Manliness]