Posts Tagged ‘high goals’

Learning and Changing by Having Low Goals?

I thought we were supposed to set high goals? “Aim for the stars, and then at least you might be able to hit the mountaintops.”

The problem for some, however, is that they aim high and then when they fall short, they feel like a failure and give up. “Hopeless,” they say. “I just cannot achieve highly like others seem to do so easily.” Then they reduce their effort to minimal, or give up altogether, saying to themselves, “Let’s get real; I am not cut out for real success.”

Many a brilliant student (and adult) has thus given away their high potential in the face of seemingly good advice: “Aim high.”

My fellow Canadian, Raymond Aaron, has a unique approach to the goal-setting problem. More about Aaron’s genius in a future post. You can check him out for yourself if you wish:


Another way to look at this is to use a medical example. One of my physician friends had a patient who was too exhausted to get out of bed. She was under good medical care (his) and she wanted more pills for more energy. He said to her, “What you need is movement — exercise — not more pills.”

She expostulated: “Exercise! I can’t even get out of bed!”

He thought of the goal of aiming for the stars and hoping you hit the mountain tops, or even just the foothills.  Here it just would not do. So he gave her his low-goal version of goal-setting. He asked her if she could do exercise for him for just 10 seconds. Well, she could hardly refuse. She did that for a few days and then he asked if she could give him 30 seconds of exercise. She did it. (He told me later that if she had been unable to entertain an initial goal of 10 seconds of exercise, he would have simply reduced the goal to 5 seconds, or to 2 seconds if necessary.) He was out to guarantee her success, not her failure.

He then gave her his highly-modified version of “aiming for the stars”:

“Start low . . .

go slow . . .

and don’t stop!”

She did start low, she did go slow, and she didn’t stop.

Would you be surprised to learn that she exercised her way to perfect health? Just a minute, “progress, not perfection,” right? Okay, she exercised her way to good and steady progress in health for the rest of her days. She says that she could never have done it without setting low goals.

And keeping them.

And not stopping.


Doc Meek

South Jordan, USA; and Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA

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    January 2021
    S M T W T F S
    Parent and Teacher Choice