Have you ever been challenged at work to come up with a BHAG or “Big Hairy Audacious Goal”? Were you ever told that you needed these ginormous goals to be successful because “Good is the Enemy of Great?”
These principles come from management consultant, Jim Collins in his best-selling books entitled, Built to Last and Good to Great in which he encourages company leaders to practice and retain certain principles to become GREAT companies.
At first glance, these both seem to be sound principles for our everyday life. And, long before those books were ever published, many of us set goals to be “Perfect” or “Great” as we aimed to stay energized, healthy, and sane.
It’s Hard to Stay “Great”
It turns out that even the greatest companies referenced in those books don’t stay great forever. In one of many articles on this topic, Chris Bradley wrote in MarketPlace.com that, “It’s not the fact you have a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) but whether or not it is actually a good one.”
So, should we aim for “Perfect” or “Great” when it comes to our energy, health, and sanity? I say NO.
I propose that if we settle for “Good Enough” goals – then we are far more likely to attain and maintain energy, health, sanity, and weight maintenance. Not just for today and tomorrow – but to easily be able to keep our healthy habits for years and even decades.
This idea of striving for “Good Enough” isn’t new for me. After years and years of aiming for “Perfect” (while suffering from anorexia, then bulimia and binge eating…ya, that’s why I trained to become a dietitian), I finally realized that those perfectionistic goals were getting in the way of my success.
What about you? Do you make such Hairy Big Audacious Goals for your health that you can’t possibly keep it up long-term? If so, you’re not alone. I’ve seen this thousand of times in my many decades-long career. I even wrote about the study I did with “successful dieters” in one of my earlier books, Dr. Jo’s No Big Deal Diet (which BTW really isn’t a “diet”, but this change in mentality about diets).
What if you were to make goals that were reasonable, realistic, and practical instead? What about setting goals that cut you some slack instead? That way you don’t have to beat yourself up every time you failed to reach perfection. “Good enough” goals allow you to be successful over the long run without zapping all the fun out of life.
EXAMPLES OF “GOOD ENOUGH” GOALS
Here are some ideas that have worked for me and my clients:
- Good Enough Eating – Instead of aiming to cut out ALL sugar, decide where you COULD easily cut back on your sugar intake. Maybe it’s just cutting it out of your coffee or tea, but allowing yourself the pleasure of eating one dessert a week. For me, I allow myself a few Dove dark chocolate miniatures every day! I always say, “a chocolate a day keeps the ‘death-by-chocolate’ binge away.
- Good Enough Movement – Instead of promising to hit the gym every single day for a full hour, could you come up with a three-times a week schedule instead? My physical goal is to simply “do something physical” every day. Tuesday night is yoga. And, I tap dance on Wednesday. I’m not a runner anymore. But, at least once a week I just feel like running sprints – they help me stay in shape so I can keep up with my grand kids. Other days I simply wake up and ask myself what I feel like doing that day. I never think of myself as a failure if my brain decides one day that I need a nice slow walk. That’s still movement – and a great stress-relieving activity.
- Good Enough Work Schedule – Do you aim to work steady through your eight, ten, or twelve hour work day? Why not opt to take periodic breaks to rejuvenate your energy? So many people believe that taking breaks cut back on their productivity, but there’s plenty of research to support the benefits of taking breaks, especially mini-bouts of movement.
What “Good Enough” goals have you been able to sustain long-term? What ideas do you have that you’d like to try? I would LOVE to share these with my audiences and readers. Drop me an email ([email protected]) and let me know.