How Cutting Your Goals In Half Can Make You More Successful
When you’re setting goals for your business or your life, perfectionism will tell you to go big or go home. So you tie your goals to an immense number.
Sometimes this works for you, and you crush it.
But sometimes it works against you. Your goal is so big, it’s impossible to reach. And rather than feel good about what you accomplished, you get discouraged and focus on where you fell short.
An example would be the time you set a goal to drop 10 pounds, but instead of 10 pounds you only lost eight. All you can see are the two pounds you didn’t lose.
Or maybe you set a goal to write 5000 words a day when the most you’ve ever written was 1872. When you only produce 3500 words, you view it as a failure because you didn’t reach the 5000-word goal you set. You totally overlook the 3500 words you did write.
You need a new way of goal-setting.
Cut your goal in half.
Now before you freak out over cutting your goal in half, stay with me.
In Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff, Jon teaches counterintuitive ways to reach your goals. You learn to fight perfectionism and procrastination so you can finish what you start. One of his ideas is to cut your goal in half.
According to Jon’s research, when you cut your goals in half, you increase your odds of success by 63 percent.
How Do You Cut Your Goals In Half?
There are two ways to do this, depending on your goal.
The first way is to cut the goal in half. Take 12 weeks to lose 10 pounds. Don’t push it into six weeks and then quit because you only lost six pounds in six weeks instead of the 10 you wanted to lose.
Or plan to write 2500 words a day instead of 5000.
Or build your emergency fund to $500 instead of $1000.
You can always expand your goal once you have some success.
The point is to set a goal so you succeed and finish. (Get it? The book is titled Finish.)
What if you have a goal that can’t be reduced? Like $40,000 in student loans. While you can’t magically reduce your debt by half (wouldn’t that be nice?!), you can give yourself more time to pay it off while staying ahead of the standard repayment schedule.
Instead of trying to pay it off in two years why not give yourself four years?
You might be objecting, “But Jennifer, if I cut my goal in half, it’ll take me forever to [lose the weight] [write the book] [pay off the debt], etc.
Yes, it might take you longer. BUT you’ve increased your chances of success by 63 percent.
Ask yourself: what’s the worst that could happen if you take one year to write a book instead of six months? Or even two years instead of one? Do you know how many people want to write a book but never do? What are an additional 6 months to accomplish something as phenomenal as finishing an entire book?
Or what if it does take you 12 weeks to lose 10 pounds instead of losing it in six weeks? Isn’t your health worth setting yourself up for success and taking a bit longer? Isn’t the end result worth the extra time if it keeps you motivated and more likely to win?
What if you do take four years to pay off the loan instead of two? Isn’t four years better than the standard 10, 15, 20 years? And again, cutting your goal in half makes you 63 percent more likely to achieve it.
It comes down to knowing yourself. Do you successfully accomplish your goals when you set crazy big ones?
Or do you get discouraged and give up when the initial goal-setting excitement fades away?
If crazy big goals work for you, keep doing what you’re doing.
But if you get overwhelmed and frustrated and quit, try cutting your goal in half.
There are lots of other ideas about goal-setting in Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done. Like, “Getting Rid of Your Secret Rules.” Yep, you’ve got rules you didn’t know you had. Or “Choose What to Bomb.” That’s a fun chapter. You get to pick what you won’t do so well.