“Dream small dreams. If you make them too big, you get overwhelmed and you don’t do anything. If you make small goals and accomplish them, it gives you the confidence to go on to higher goals.” John H. Johnson
When it comes to Achieving Your Goals, Keep it Simple
As 2014 comes to a close, many of us will start making our New Year’s resolutions which most of us probably won’t keep. We’ll vow to get into shape, become more involved in the community, or change our lives for the better. But do these noble intentions only set us up for the inevitable disappointment of dreams left unfulfilled?
I’m not a big believer in making New Year’s resolutions. I think that self-improvement or self-fulfillment is a year-long project that has no starting or expiry date. I am an ardent believer in setting smaller, attainable goals rather than setting unrealistic, lofty goals. I honestly believe that we should think small and dream big. Setting reasonable, attainable goals and achieving them is an accomplishment in and of itself. We are only setting ourselves up for bitter disappointment when we are unable to live up to the grandiose plans that we have made for ourselves. Getting started is difficult enough for some people. The fact that you have started to work towards accomplishing something that matters to you is a moral victory and one that should serve to motivate you throughout your entire journey.
I wrote my first book, a children’s book, back in 2013. I had always wanted to write a book but always thought that it had to be this great work of fiction or else it wasn’t worth it. It was a challenge for me to write the book as I had to write with a specific audience in mind. I had to keep the book short, simple, and to soften some of the sadder aspects of life for a shelter animal. I had written many articles about the shelter and its precious residents so I was familiar with my material. Sitting at a blank computer screen hoping that it would be filled by the next classic novel is not how one should approach writing whether it be a book or an article. I am not a very patient person by nature. I tend to rush through things hoping to finish as quickly as possible. I wanted to craft my book with care and not rush through the process just to have it available to the public.
When I decided to go back to Brock University to pursue my History degree, rather than take on a full course load, I decided to take 2 or 3 courses at a time. When I was younger, I had no appreciation for academics or university life. As a man in his thirties, I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life. There was no temptation to skip classes to hit the pub or to sleep in and miss lectures. I relished every minute I was there. I went to all of my lectures and seminars. I actually enjoyed researching and writing essays. Perhaps the fact that I had matured and transformed so drastically from the directionless kid I was a few years ago played a major role in my academic success. Once again, I did not overload myself with courses. Yes I was making up for last time and not having my degree was one of the biggest regrets of my life. But I knew that it was going to take time and so I took a couple of courses each semester and in May of 2010, I finally got my BA in History.
I’ve written this article not to boast of my accomplishments but to show how setting smaller, more realistic goals leads to success. It’s okay to have lofty ambitions as long as you don’t succumb to the all or nothing mentality. Take your time and enjoy the ride. Don’t worry about when you’re going to be done.. It’s what happens in-between that matters most.
“Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall..” Oliver Goldsmith