Written by Ellen Scott
Running low on drive? A BHAG can help you hit reboot, says Karina Antram.
Ever feel like you’re kind of… idling? You get through the work day, then slump. Your evenings quickly evaporate in a mist of lazing on the sofa and doing anything is nigh on impossible. The same goes for the weekends. Saturday arrives and you might have lofty visions of catching up on reading, doing a class, finally writing that novel you’ve pondered for years… but you just can’t be bothered.
In short, your motivation has gone AWOL and your energy is nonexistent. There are a bunch of possible causes for this – burnout, depression, aimlessness, caffeine dependence, lack of sleep, to name just a few – but let’s be real, when you’re in this low-level state, you aren’t that bothered about digging deeper into the why. You just want to pull yourself out of this sluggishness, sharpish.
A BHAG could be the key, says coach and nutritionist Karina Antram in her book, Fix Your Fatigue.
What is a BHAG, you may ask? It stands for ‘big, hairy, audacious goal’.
“A BHAG is no ordinary goal,” Antram tells Stylist. “It is a big, hairy, audacious one. “Forget setting SMART goals: all you need is just one that enlivens and excites you in equal measure. It is what keeps you alive in the good times and the tougher times. The term was coined by Jerry Porras and Jim Collins in the book Built To Last: Successful Habits Of Visionary Companies.”
The point of a BHAG is to really think big. What would you really, passionately, love to achieve? What excites you? What makes your heart skip a beat?
Now, of course, figuring out your BHAG won’t magically solve all problems, and if you feel like your motivation is suffering due to issues like chronic stress, rustout or mental health issues, it’s vital you investigate these issues and tackle them. But for that nudge of motivation once any big problems are sorted, you need to have a BHAG. Otherwise, you’re going to feel a bit purposeless.
A BHAG works as a major boost because it pulls you out of boredom and general blah-ness. Having a BHAG doesn’t mean you’re just trying to be productive for productivity’s sake – instead you have something to work towards, something that actually excites you.
“Boredom is a huge energy leak,” Antram explains. “If you have something to aim for in life that lets your imagination run wild and really intrinsically motivates you it can be a real energiser.
“The definition of an energiser is ‘to move people from a state of lethargy or disengagement to vitality and engagement’. I believe a BHAG can be one of these energisers.
“We all need energisers in life and energisers come in different forms, If you include more of these energisers in your day you will feel so much better and less fatigued.”
Not sure where to start in the journey to deciding on your BHAG? Antram has a suggestion: “Grab a pen and paper and, without any judgment at all, write down some things that you would love to achieve that you feel are totally out of reach.”
“A good way is if you have seen someone’s LinkedIn profile or an achievement in an article which made you think ‘that is so cool’; write it down, even if you don’t feel you have the capability or skills,” she recommends. “I would suggest using Warren Buffet’s 25/5 rule to get to you one ultimate BHAG. If you can, write down potentially 25 things that you think would be amazing to achieve. Then immediately cross out most of them that perhaps don’t excite you, until you have the final five left. Then with those five, ask yourself which one of these would I be most proud of achieving. Circle that one and commit to focusing your efforts on that one goal.”
Don’t let any self-doubt or limiting beliefs hold you back for this. The key to a good BHAG is that it actually has to be big, hairy and audacious.
“It has to have a ‘gulp factor’,” Antram notes. It also needs to be interesting enough to hold your focus amid all the distractions of everyday life.
“I think BHAGs go wrong when you either have too many other distractions, you don’t truly believe you can achieve it or you lose interest in that BHAG,” Antram tells us. “That is why trying to find something so out of your comfort zone is important because it has to be difficult, it has to amaze and delight you.”
Once you’ve determined your BHAG, and made sure it’s one that really gets your heart racing, the motivation, energy, and drive will all fall into place.
Antram shares: “My BHAG two years ago was to write a book. I never thought that it would be possible. But I decided to dedicate some time every day to focusing on that one goal. One year later I won my book deal with Penguin Random House without an agent or social media following. Two years later it launched on 2 March 2023. I am no different to anyone else.
“But what I did was commit five minutes a day to that goal every single day: on tired days, rainy days, ill days – even if I only wrote one line. I never gave up even when imposter syndrome and doubt set in. You can do it. Just choose the right BHAG. Don’t limit yourself and don’t stop!”
Fix Your Fatigue: 5 Steps To Regaining Your Energy by Karina Antram is out now.
Images: Getty; Stylist
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