Psychology Tip of the Day: Goal Setting--Why End High?

"Shoot for the moon...even if you miss, you'll end up among the stars." I used to have a sweatshirt with this saying. It was one of my favorite sweatshirts when I was younger, not because it fit well or was stylish (it was probably neither :) ), but because I loved the message. I dreamed big, and it reminded me to keep trying even if things weren't going quite right.

So where does this fit in with setting low goals, which I talked about in my last post? As I mentioned, aiming high from the start can seem overwhelming and get in the way of doing anything at all. Once you've started to make progress toward your goal, however, it's a good idea to switch gears and end on a high note.

While setting small attainable goals can help  get you on the right track, setting higher goals that seem slightly out of reach can help you reach your full potential. So once you feel comfortable with the steps you're taking, try challenging yourself to do just a little more or go just a little faster than you think you can.

Always make sure to always keep your goal specific (e.g., "I will hit this number," as opposed to "I will do as much as I can.") Why? Research shows that having a specific goal, even if it seems unattainable, leads to better results than setting vague goals of doing "as much as possible." The team with the specific goal will almost always outperform the team with the goal to do "their best."

This is how Olympians set world records. They aim not to go just as fast as they can, or even faster than the others in the competition, but to beat the specific number that is the best anyone has ever done. Even if they miss, they may still win a gold!