Should they be big or small?
Which is more realistic?
Most people would say obviously a more modest goal is also more realistic.
Wrong! says writer Tim Ferris ("The 4-Hour Work Week"), but his answer isn't based on positive thinking or The Law of Attraction, but on facts.
He cites an experiment he did with two university classes. He said he would give a round-trip ticket to anywhere in the world to any student who could contact three seemingly impossible-to-reach people (Bill Clinton, Warren Buffet, anybody who fit into that category) and get at least one to respond.
Twenty heard the challenge. How many do you think completed it? Zero. Most didn't even try. They had various excuses, but Ferris said they boiled down to one: 'It's hard and one of the others is sure to do it better than me.'
The next year he told this story to a similar class. Knowing how the first class had failed gave this group the courage to try it. Of the 17 who took part, six got their answers within 48 hours.
Ferris writes, "99% of the world is convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre middle ground. The level of competition is thus fiercest for 'realistic' goals, paradoxically making them the most time- and energy-consuming. It is easier to raise $10million than it is $1million. It is easier to pick up the one perfect 10 in the bar than the five 8s."
He also points out that having a big goal motivates you more: "If the potential payoff is mediocre or average, so is your effort."
It's something to keep in mind as you set your writing or other creative goals for the coming year (and if it's a big goal, don't wait for January 1st to get started, the best time is right now!).
(One thing you need if you want to reach a big goal is focus. That also is the name and subject of my book: "Focus: use the power of targeted thinking to get more done." It's published by Pearson and you can get it from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller.)