Why Your Goals Should be Big and Scary

Why Your Goals Should be Big and Scary

Goal setting is so important. But it can be hard to know what kind of goal to set. I say make your goals BIG and SCARY! #Goals #Goalsetting #Fitness #Health

It’s January (barely, I know) and it’s the time that we think about resolutions and goal-setting.  I’ve thought a lot about these topics this year because I have big things I want to accomplish in 2018.  The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that it is so important to have goals that scare the you-know-what out of you.

You know what I’m talking about. Those kinds of goals that you aren’t sure whether you should share with other people because it’s scary just to say them out loud.  You really aren’t sure whether you can accomplish them, so it’s better to make sure your goal is realistic.

I say hogwash (how awesome is that word??) to all of that. You know why?  Because we are capable of so much more than we know and while really big goals are scary, they are also so much more exciting.

Okay, *gulp* I’m going to share with you one of my big, scary goals for 2018.  It’s a fitness goal.  In 2018, I want to be able to complete one unassisted pull-up.  Doesn’t sound big and scary? Oh, but it is for me. And the pull-up and I have a bit of an ugly history. Follow me, and I’ll share why this goal is so big and scary for me.

What makes a good goal?

I’ve never been able to do a pull-up. For most people, that probably wouldn’t matter. But, as a former athlete, it’s one of those things I just can’t shake.

My first run-in with the pull-up came when I was in 8th grade. I wanted to play junior varsity softball.  Since I was too young, I had to complete a fitness test in order to be accepted onto the team. While I wouldn’t say I was in the best of shape, I was able to complete everything …. except the pull-up.

I was devastated when I was told that I couldn’t play junior varsity softball that year. And I never wanted to do a pull-up again.

Then, in college, I played field hockey and the pull-up reared its ugly head again. As part of our weightlifting routine, we had to do pull-ups. I stared at that stupid bar and memories of 8th grade came flooding back.

Even with the help of a fitness band, I could not pull myself up and needed someone to help lift me up for each pull-up. I hate you, pull-up.

So why, a lot of years later, do I care at all about the pull-up?  Honestly, I don’t. I could have set a goal to lose 30 pounds, which is big and scary in itself, but that isn’t motivating to me.

I know how it is to lose weight and not be healthy or fit.  That’s not what I want.  I want to feel fit and be an example for my kids. And I want to prove to myself that not even the pull-up is going to get the best of me.

I think that’s the most important thing in setting a goal.  It has to be motivating TO YOU. It has to have a reason behind it and something that will motivate you even when you don’t feel like working toward it anymore.

For me, losing weight just to lose weight isn’t motivating. But I know, in order to do a pull-up, I’ve got to lose weight, build up my strength, eat healthily, and overcome my mental block.  Now that’s a goal worth fighting for in my book!

Break your goals down

I think a goal is worthless unless you break it down into manageable chunks. I like to create a quarterly plan and then a monthly plan to make sure I am on track. With my pull-up goal, my quarterly plan is to focus first on healthy eating and weight loss and then transition into lifting.

It almost never works to go crazy with your goals in the beginning. You think that you can diet, lift, be superwoman, and then you burn out within a few weeks.

So, I decided that for the first quarter in 2018, I will try to lose 15 pounds. In January, I am focusing on my eating.  To do so, I’m completing Whole30 (I will write a post on my experience when I finish!). Starting in February, I will add in cardio three days a week, and in March add in weightlifting.

I’ve got specific goals for each month about how much weight I’d like to lose, how many days I want to do cardio, and how many days I want to lift.

Build in rewards

For me, rewards are so important to my motivation. Just like my son who can’t wait to show me the sticker he gets for good behavior at school, I need to remind myself of my achievements.  When I create my monthly goals, I immediately build in a reward for hitting my goals.

If my goal is a fitness goal, I try not to have my reward be food. It could be getting a pedicure, or planning a fun outing with the family, or treating myself to a good book.

The reward is something to look forward to, but more than that, it is a way to say GO YOU!  You’re on your way!!

Get support

I’m not always good at asking for help or letting people know I need support.  But, if you want to hit those big, scary goals, you have to get over that!

At first, I didn’t want to share my big, scary goal because I thought people would think it was silly.  And there’s the part of me that’s terrified of not reaching my goal.

But, then I saw some friends on Facebook talking about some of their fitness goals for 2018 and I decided that I wanted to go all in this year.  I started a Facebook group where we can share how we are doing and give each other support.

And it’s amazing! I have the support of my husband and this amazing network of people that make me feel like I can’t fail!

Believe in yourself!

When your goals are big and scary, it is easy to doubt yourself.  In fact, it’s almost a given.  But here’s where you have to use your support network and trick your mind into believing that you can do it, even when you may have some doubts.

I tell myself every morning in the shower that I know I will be able to do a pull-up and I picture lifting myself up to that bar.  It makes me smile and want to follow-through with my daily, weekly, and monthly plans.

So, now you know my big, scary fitness goal for 2023.  What are your big, scary goals??


  1. Liz says

    Great Post for creating a big goal! That is something that can be intimidating to do. I especially like how you recommend having a reward. Sometimes for me, that has to be a big one just to get started but I love rewards! Thanks a ton and keep up the great posts!

    • Carolyn says

      Thank you! Aren’t rewards the best? I especially love when it is a reward that I will keep seeing over and over again. Like bright red nail polish or a beautiful new book. A constant reminder of my accomplishment! Thank you for your comment!

  2. Roni says

    I love the last point about believing in yourself, I feel that is the most important aspect of reaching any goal! Funny enough, one of my goals for this year is to dream bigger and make bigger goals! So thank you for this post!

  3. Erika Lancaster says

    My big scary goals in 2018 all revolve around this business that I’m creating! I’ve been working as an employee full-time my entire life until last July, and I must say, IT’S SCARY not having a regular income coming in and IT’S DIFFICULT to keep believing in oneself throughout this starting process! But I have to keep working for my dreams and I have faith that the hard work I’m doing is going to pay off! Thank you for this inspiring post!

  4. Lisa says

    Goal setting is so important in getting yourself motivated to accomplish something. Goal setting for blogging is easy for me. I have a harder time with setting fitness goals! 😉

  5. Susan says

    Great read! I am a big believer in the reward system as well. It’s actaully how I structure every day. I make a list of things I want to do and a list of things I have to do. I alternate doing one from each list. So, I get a “reward” for each item I check off the have-to-do list:).

  6. Nina says

    Great post! Very inspiring. My main goal this year is to actually take advantage of my gym membership including the free childcare and finding a schedule that I can stick to.

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