The most satisfying and worthwhile goals tend to be the ones that feel just out of reach.
I used to test the maximum amount of weight I could lift for one repetition — a 1-rep max — every 8–12 weeks. Depending on the lift I was testing, the goal was to lift at least 5–10 pounds more than I lifted before.
Every test was met with a bit of doubt and discomfort:
Can I really do this?
Sometimes I did, sometimes I failed spectacularly. If you’re pursuing truly challenging things, it’s all but guaranteed that sometimes you will miss your target.
Well-designed stretch goals ideally strike a balance between being very hard to reach while remaining in the realm of achievability provided you put in a great deal of effort.
Here’s the great news: even if you don’t hit a stretch goal, the pursuit of it — the discomfort you will have to go through to try to reach it — almost always leaves you stronger, more resilient, and more competent.
Imagine what would be possible over time if you challenged yourself to aim 1% higher (or more) in everything you did.