Big Hairy Audacious Goals or BAHGs are ambitious and inspiring. Setting them is important, but only the first step. Here are 8 traits you must cultivate to achieve Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

8 Ways to Achieve Big Hairy Audacious Goals:

1. Persistence

Some people will not believe in your goals as much as you do. Some people will tell you you’re going in the wrong direction, and some people will say “no” when you ask them for help.

In the face of all that, say yes. Persist towards your goals in the face of that opposition, remember why you want to achieve them, and go do it. People who are successful and achieve their goals are extremely persistent. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel like quitting sometimes – it’s normal to feel discouraged when you get bad news or negative feedback. But more importantly, those people know how to take it in stride and persevere.

2. Focus

If you want to achieve big hairy audacious goals and make your dreams a reality, you need to learn how to focus. People who are successful have learned how to tune out the background noise and work on whatever needs to get done. In addition to knowing how to focus, they know how to pick what to focus on. If they have a lot on their plate, they know how to analyze what will be the most worth their time and devote all their attention to it. They don’t waste time trying to finish three tasks at once while also messaging their friends on Facebook – they go through one task at a time until they’ve successfully completed everything they set out to do.

3. Optimism

Have you ever noticed how obsessing over the negatives never gets you anywhere? Optimism is extremely important because it’ll keep you focused on your dreams, get you through the obstacles in your way, and push you through those tough times.

This isn’t blind optimism, of course. This is realistic optimism. If you get negative feedback, take a serious look at it and see if you can rework your plans to respond to it. Negative people will be tempted to give up – optimistic people will appreciate the feedback and alter course if needed.

4. Flexibility

A common misconception about those people who live the life of their dreams is that they stay focused on their goal in the face of all opposition – not true! In fact, to achieve your goals, you must always be open to revising your original plans.

Gaining more knowledge and experience may change your goals as well. Your industry will always evolve, and maybe it will change into something that won’t support your goals. Maybe you, or the people around you, will change too much to continue pursuing the original plan with them. In any case, always keep an eye on the motivation behind your goals, and how your goals fit into the big picture and be ready to chart a new path at any time if necessary.

5. Self-Reliance

Sometimes things are out of our hands, but successful people are great at taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Instead of blaming it on others, they recognize when something is their fault, and commit to doing better in the future (and actually follow through on that). Being able to rely on yourself is critical in achieving your goals.

When you make a hard decision, you’ll be able to stand by it and defend it, because you know you’ve put a ton of thought into it. When you take on a responsibility, you know you will follow through and deliver results successfully. When you set big hairy audacious goals, you know you’re willing and able to put in the time and effort it will take to get there. That reliance on yourself is what will get you to the finish line.

6. Passion

If you don’t care about your goals, you won’t be able to make other people care. You have to be totally committed to your goals and passionate about them to the point that you can convince other people they are achievable and worthwhile.

Have you ever tried to sell a product you didn’t care about? It’s almost impossible. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re trying to accomplish, it will affect every aspect of your attempt to achieve it. It will be difficult to focus properly on it, persist through tough times, and stay optimistic about it. In fact, it will run counter to all those things. So, cultivate your passion, and it will help you reach your goals.

7. Detail-Oriented

There is no getting around it – if you want to be successful, you need to be detail-oriented. Every goal has a million moving parts, and you have to be able to keep track of them and see how they all fit together. Being detail-oriented will help you manage all those moving parts without getting overwhelmed or forgetting crucial steps.

Breaking up your goals into manageable pieces is another benefit of being detail-oriented. Want to lose 30 pounds? Start by working out 15 minutes a day. Seeing your goal as one huge behemoth entity can make it feel like you’re climbing Mount Everest – instead, focus on the smaller sections of that goal and climb each small hill one at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be at the top of that mountain.

8. Dissatisfaction

If you’re easily satisfied with what you accomplish, how will you keep moving forward? Learn to appreciate and enjoy your accomplishments, but look forward with excitement and anticipation at what is still to be achieved. Always set a new goal when you achieve one, always aim higher, and you’ll reach your goals and so much more.

Growing is essential. Cultivating dissatisfaction for that sense of stasis will help propel you forward to new places, new heights, and bigger, hairier goals than you ever thought possible.


Janet Miller

Janet Miller is a reformed workaholic, personal development coach and cofounder of JenReviews.com. She writes extensively and has been featured on Fast Company, The Muse and The Huffington Post. Connect with her on Twitter.

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