Aug 282011

Don’t Forget Your Next Big Goal

If you’ve taken the step to commit your goals to paper and track your progress toward them, don’t forget to put your next “big goal” on the horizon.

Have you ever accomplished a major (“big”) goal, celebrated a bit, and then felt completely lost, wondering what you were going to do next?  It’s happened to me a couple of times and I’ve seen it happen to my clients and colleagues as well.  In my experience “super-achievers” are the most susceptible to this phenomenon, as they are typically the ones who get so immersed in what they are doing that they often lose sight of everything else happening around them, including lining up their next big challenge.

The good news is that this situation can be relatively easily avoided if you are willing to be deliberate and “plan two big goals ahead”.   When I say plan two big goals ahead, I’m aware that in fact you may have dozens of smaller goals that support your “big goals” and I’m also aware that if we’re talking about long-term planning you may actually have more than two “big goals” that you’re working toward.  The two big goals I’m talking about are relatively short term in nature, say less than one year.  Please note that these goals can be for any part of your life, but they must be goals that really get you fired up, in order to be considered “big goals” and for this approach to work most effectively.  Let me give you an example for clarification.

An example in my case at present, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, is that I’m preparing for a challenging race called Tough Mudder ( that will take place in three months.  It’s a twelve-mile “mud run” race with between 20 and 25 challenging military-style obstacles.  That’s a big goal and to do it well, it takes a lot of discipline and preparation in both strength training and aerobic work.  Because this “isn’t my first rodeo,” I’m aware that if I don’t put another race or challenge on the horizon after the Tough Mudder, it will be all too easy to breathe a big sigh of relief after the race, then not keep training to maintain the tip top shape I will have achieved in preparing for the race.  For this reason, I am putting a marathon on my calendar for three months after that race, and importantly, developing the detailed training schedule for that marathon now.  That way, right after completing one big goal, I will not feel lost; rather, I will be able to step directly into my training programming for the next big goal.  No confusion.  No excuses.

You can take this same approach with “big goals” that you establish in any area of your life.  As you can see from the example above, since one of the big benefits of this approach is being able to build on previous accomplishments, it’s beneficial if the “second big goal” in such a sequence leverages whatever you’ve been able to achieve in preparing for and completing the “first big goal”.  That said, there is no rule that says that you cannot have two or more “two big goal” sequences going simultaneously in different areas of your life.  The only limits really are your imagination, your willpower, and available time.

I strongly encourage you to start trying “two big goal” sequences in various area of your life, including in your business, and let me know how it works out.  In my own experience and that of my “super-achiever” clients and colleagues, I have seen this approach pay big dividends.

Paul Morin

  • Paul, I love the way you explain your ideas, always a crystal clear example to help. Very interesting post. Thank you! = )

  • Thanks, María. I try to include examples wherever possible, as it really does help to “drive the point home”.

  • Interesting idea here. My one question in response would be to wonder whether it can become overwhelming to schedule multiple big goals in succession. Initially, I believe you provide somewhat of an answer by saying that you are breaking your second goal into planned steps now. I would certainly have to create a high-level plan in order to avoid being overwhelmed by an abstract goal looming just beyond my current capacity to deliver on that goal.

  • Barrett, yes, agreed … all the planning has to be done in the context of available time and energy … stacking too many two goal sequences simultaneously could quickly overwhelm anyone. That said, for those who are already setting goals in several areas of their lives, it’s not too much of a stretch to do some stacking. There may be a limitation on how “big” the stacked goals can be, but other than that, and assuming the goals still get you fired up, the benefits of planning “one goal ahead” can still be substantial. Paul