big hairy audacious goals

Are You a Goal Setter?


Wow! It is amazing how fast the years go by and here we are already at the end of another year. This was a really big year for my family. Two of my “kids” got married and a third one finished up his college education.

I am excited about next year and the opportunities it will bring. It is this time of the year I start to think about my goals for next year. I am sort of a nerd about this. I like to set goals in multiple areas of my life. I do not think I have ever hit 100% of them, but sometimes I get pretty close. I nailed about 75% this year and I actually feel really pretty good about it.

I break my goals down into four separate areas. There is often some overlap between the different areas, but usually a goal seems to fit better in one than the other. My four areas are spiritual, relational, work/finance, and personal/health.

I try to have 3–5 goals for each area and I write them down. Studies have shown simply writing down your goals improves your success tremendously.

I do think the secret to meeting the goals is to review them—often! I try to look at my goals once a week and strategize what my next steps are for the coming week. It usually only takes 5–10 minutes. I have found Fridays work best for me. I am not sure why, but it works for me.

Once a month, I try to take an afternoon off and really look at my goals and my progress. I also use the time to get some thinking done. As crazy as it may sound, I usually go to one of the public libraries and find a corner.  Oklahoma City has an amazing new library on the NW side. I stop at Starbucks for a cup of coffee, and then I am ready to go!

About midyear, I often adjust some of my goals. Life has a way of changing and I try to be realistic and flexible. Some goals are not always possible when life throws you a curve. One year, I had an injury and couldn’t get my miles in. I had to make some adjustments to my goals and my expectations. I do try to be realistic but not to let that be an excuse for not reaching a goal. I try to make my goals hard but not impossible.

Another thing I like to do is to come up with one or two BHAGs. BHAGs are Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goals that really move me out of my comfort zone. I try to come up with one BHAG for each of my four areas. One of the four becomes my primary goal of the year. It is usually the hardest, the one that stretches me the most. The crazy thing is, I almost always get my BHAG.

The New Year is coming. It is going to be filled with opportunities and challenges. I believe we can do some amazing things and even more so when we actually plan for an amazing life!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown

Big Hairy Audacious Goals

Do you have a BHAG? BHAGs are Big Hairy Audacious Goals. They are something that will stretch you, challenge you, and make you get out of your comfort zone. I think they are essential for leading an amazing life!

I was in Chicago the first time I heard the term BHAG. I was listening to Bill Hybels speak at a Christian leadership conference. I’m not sure if he made up the word or if someone else did, but the word and the idea resonated with me some twenty years ago.

I try to set BHAGs for the four main areas of my life: spiritual, family, physical, and work. I think the best time to set them is usually at the first of the year or if you are going through a transition in life. I do like to review my goals every so often to see how I am progressing. I may not always reach my goals, but I usually fall forward trying!

I think having BHAGs are critical for living an amazing life. Having BIG HAIRY ADACIOUS GOALS will keep you focused and energized. I see so many people that are depressed or stressed out to the max; almost all of them do not have any direction or goals in their lives.

Having BHAGs will keep you focused outwardly (providing you set healthy goals) instead of inwardly all the time. They usually will give you a framework for making decisions. It helps you learn to say no to some opportunities that might be good but maybe not best for you. They usually make you learn a new skill or experience something in a different way.

One of my favorite memories of a BHAG was running my first marathon. I was never much of a runner and the thought of running 26.2 miles was overwhelming. With the help of some friends and encouragement from my family, I survived. I can still recall the feeling of crossing the finish line for the first time. I felt as if I could do anything that I set my mind to accomplish. I made new friends, learned a lot about myself in the process, and I am still running today.

Some BHAGs are easy to think of, while others are not so simple. I usually struggle with my spiritual ones. I think these are the hardest for me because I like to be in control. In all honesty, I don’t have a spiritual BHAG at the moment. I think spiritual BHAGs should be something big, something challenging, and something that I cannot do on my own. They should be so big, that the only way they can be accomplished is if God shows up!

So the next time you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, consider your BHAGs. (Oh, by the way, you are never too old to have BHAGs!) Do you have something in your life that is challenging you? Are you out of your comfort zone (a little anxiety can be a good thing)? Do you have something in your life that is pushing you to become better? What are your BHAGs?