What do you want your life to be like, in the future?

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We all want to be happy and to be successful--but what does happiness or success look like, to you?

It may involve a promotion... a new career... a change of scenery... or the time and ability to practice new skills. Whatever the answer is for you, learning how to set 'stretch' goals will help you turn those dreams into reality.

What is a 'stretch' goal?

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A stretch goal is any goal that requires you to learn and grow in order to achieve it--making you 'stretch' yourself to rise to the challenge!

Stretch goals aren't only about making goals more challenging. They're also about forcing us to solve problems and think of our situation in a different way, so that we grow and develop.

Quiz

A 'stretch' goal...

... helps us grow

... requires us to learn

... is challenging

All of these

The value of stretch goals

By stretching ourselves, learning, and gaining new perspective in pursuit of a stretch goal, we've achieved something worthwhile even before we achieve the goal itself.

Astro Teller, an innovator with Google and the founder of Google X, once famously remarked:

Here is the surprising truth: it is often easier to make something 10 times better than it is to make it 10 percent better.

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This quotation from Teller sums up the value of stretch goals. If we set out to make something 10 times better, we are challenged to think of new ways of doing things and approaching a problem from a new perspective.

This means that even if we don't accomplish our stretch goal right away, we'll learn new skills and new ways to grow, along the way, making the goal even more valuable.

The difference between a stretch goal and a dream

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Stretch goals are challenging to attain and they take time to achieve--but they should still be specific enough to be achievable!

Imagine the goal "to be happy." This isn't specific, so you won't know what you need to learn in order to achieve it. "To be happy" is a dream, for a goal.

Your stretch goal should still be specific and measurable, such as:

  • To pay down my debt

  • To become fluent in a new language

  • To get a promotion in my career

  • To run a marathon

Each of these examples are long-term goals that require learning and personal growth.

Quiz

An example of a specific stretch goal is:

To be successful

To be healthy

To open an online business

To be happy

Break down stretch goals into smaller steps

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Stretch goals are so challenging that they often require us to develop new skills, in order to achieve them. It's useful to work backwards from your stretch goal to determine the smaller steps you will need to accomplish, in order to achieve success.

Take the example stretch goal of "to pay down my debt." There are steps we need to take, before we can start making those payments! Some examples could be:

  • Learn to track my spending

  • Learn to create a monthly budget

  • Learn about savings account options

By breaking down the smaller steps, we see several avenues to learn along the way!

Take Action

Stretch goals are goals that require us to learn and grow in order to achieve them.

The value of stretch goals is that they challenge us to stretch ourselves to solve problems from a new perspective, and approach things in a new way.

Stretch goals are specific and measurable and it helps to work backwards from our end goal to determine smaller steps to success, along the way.

This week: challenge yourself to think of a stretch goal that will require you to learn new skills, then work backwards to break down smaller steps to success.

And remember: learning and growing is a reward in itself!

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This Byte has been authored by

AL

Adam Langton

Writer, Actor