Monday Spark: Why taking on a CHALLENGE may be more powerful than setting a GOAL.

goals and challengesIn many ways challenges and goals are similar.

Both are about achieving something important at some point in the future. Both can give us a sense of purpose and direction in our lives, and in our work. Both set the bar a little higher and drive us to perform at our best.

But I think there is an important difference in how we perceive challenges and goals.

First, let’s look at goals.

A goal often takes the form of a written description, with a deadline. “I will publish my first ebook by the end of this year.”

There is nothing wrong with setting a goal like that. Apply a little self-discipline, set a schedule and you’ll get that ebook written and published.

But there is something a little impersonal about a goal. Also, it’s at a distance. The moment of achievement is months or years in the future. It’s that thing in the future we are striving for. But we don’t really get the reward until we get there.

A challenge feels different to me. It is very personal, internal and something we feel and live with every day.

Set a challenge, especially if it is a little scary, and that’s something with a heartbeat, pumping a little adrenaline into our system every day.

Maybe it’s just me who sees and feels a distinction between goals and challenges. For me, one of the best ways to get me moving is to hear someone tell me I can’t do something. As soon as someone tells me I can’t, I take it on as a personal challenge, just to prove them wrong. (Assuming it is something I would like to do.) But I also set challenges for myself, privately.

If this distinction resonates with you at all, you may want to take a look at your own goals and reframe them in your mind as personal challenges.

Live the challenge every day, instead of peering into the future at a distant goal.

Get that adrenaline flowing!

About the author: Nick Usborne is an online writer, copywriter, author and coach.

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3 thoughts on “Monday Spark: Why taking on a CHALLENGE may be more powerful than setting a GOAL.

  1. Nick thanks for crystallizing the distinction between goals and challenges for me. I find the “distant” goal I set often gets lost in the clutter of today, buried under a stack of undone to-dos, whereas a personal challenge takes on an “in-my-face” attitude, threatens me with failure and dangles the carrot of reward within my short-term grasp.

  2. Alan, hi. Thanks for the feedback! Yep, it’s that in-your-face immediacy that helps, when you reframe those distant goals into a challenge you can feel every day.

  3. Nick, I couldn’t agree more! Goals … and especially “goal setting” as done by today’s feel-goody motivational setting … just don’t have the teeth of challenges. It’s not goals that will get you out of bed in the morning. Challenges, on the other hand, will get you up and keep you fighting.

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