Run a marathon. Go vegan. Learn how to write computer code. Get a mentor. There are so many of these kinds of suggestions and goals out there, which is great. These are all some examples of how people push themselves to achieve incredible change, break records, and show the world what’s possible.
But these lofty goals don’t happen overnight. They require a lot of time, discipline, creativity, and motivation, which explains why they are so impressive. But even if a goal is doable, that doesn’t mean we have to pursue it. With such a goal-driven environment, it can be easy to get carried away. If we just go with the flow and eat up every suggestion that’s out there, we’ll be filling our plate with so many goals that we won’t be able to achieve any of them. Just because a goal sounds good, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.
How do we know what goals are good for us? Not all goals are created equal, in either difficulty, value, or time. It’s best to be curious when deciding which goals to pursue. Pick an interesting topic and see where it takes you. Better yet, I suggest experiments.
Experiments are different than going after the goals themselves because experiments allow us to try something different without as many rules or due dates. To start off, see where you would like to improve, then make an experiment that’ll help make that possible. Experiments allow us to make changes that we normally wouldn’t make, allowing our curiosity and personal development room to grow and explore.
While some may really want to push themselves and pick extremely challenging experiments, we can also pick experiments that we see as more attainable. People have done experiments like trying a new workout regimen, joining a new meditation group, deleting social media apps off their smartphone, or signing up to volunteer at a nonprofit organization. These are just a few ideas, but feel free to come up with your own as well.
The point of these experiments is to try something new and see how it changes your life. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but give it a solid effort. At first, it’ll probably be extremely difficult, and you’ll be wondering why you ever started it in the first place. Stick with it for a little longer, and see if the benefits start to reveal themselves. Pick the length of the experiment ahead of time, to avoid quitting just because things are getting difficult.
Will this experiment method change your life forever? I hope it does, but I don’t know if it will, and neither will you until you’ve tried it. At the very least, it allows you to say that you’ve tried something. Now you know what it would be like if you pursued it on a longer-term basis. If the experiment does go well, try making the change long-term. If it goes sour, don’t be upset over it. Whether the experiment teaches us what works, or what doesn’t, we still learn a valuable lesson. Run the experiment, and see how it helps your success journey.