Lucy Piper is a dreamer, and not in that fluffily, la-di-da cartoon kind of way that would see her skipping down the road ignoring the honks from the traffic she’s just obliviously skipped in front of – although, she is known for her occasional skipping outburst in a controlled environment. She is a dreamer who set herself goals to get where she wanted to be, and here she shares her seven reasons for setting outrageous goals to follow your dreams.


Just over a year ago I was on the eve of toeing the start line my first ever Ironman. When I initially signed up to the event a year before, I had been in one triathlon. Just one. It was a sprint distance – and it was a disaster. I was that guy out in the water that the lifeguards were literally begging to rescue “I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to drag you out of the water – you are the textbook definition of ‘person in imminent danger of drowning’”. But I persisted in my defiance of rescue, and told them that my goal was to finish a triathlon. Even when they suggested that today might not be my day, I managed to blurt out assertively in between each hyperventilated inhalation: “I – WILL – FINISH – THIS – RACE”. Man, I totally crushed that 400m swim.


Not surprisingly, when I signed up to an Ironman two weeks later, many people questioned my sanity. Based on my existing level of achievement, completing a full iron-distance race was impossible. But that’s the great thing about goals: they transform the inconceivable into the achievable.


So, if you’ve been kicking back in your comfort zone for a while, here’s a comprehensive look at why you should be setting yourself some audacious goals:


1) Goals define your deepest ambitions. And that, my friend, is the secret to success.

Lots of us are shy about sharing our goals with others, as it makes us vulnerable. It’s much easier to keep them a secret – no one can question them or make you feel stupid. But the truth is, when you set outrageous goals, you’ll encounter The Classic Naysayer. They’re the people who want to bring you down before you even get started on your path to success. Who knows what it is, but these guys just love to highlight all the reasons you won’t accomplish your goal. It’s like your desire for success highlights their incapacity to break out of their comfort zone. Ignore the negative Nancys and set those goals big!


2) Goals make you accountable for failure.

A wise man once said “success requires no explanation, but failure permits no alibis”. Once you set your goal, then you become accountable to achieving it. Without a goal, you’re just going out for a bike ride. Without a goal, you’re just swimming up and down a big box full of water. And without a goal, it doesn’t matter if you don’t go out and run in three very big circles.


Goals © Delly Carr

© Delly Carr

3) Goals boost your belief in your own abilities.

Short-term goals, mid-term goals and long term goals create a failure-proof structure for boosting self-confidence. The rush you get when you achieve one of your goals is immense. And every time you attain a goal, the feeling gets a little bit more familiar, and addictive, to the point where you KNOW that if you set a goal, you will achieve it. That self-belief is the kind of thing that self-help books and psychology gurus would love to bottle up and sell to people, and it’s all at your finger tips. All you have to do is set the goals, and start working. You got this, right?


4) Goal-setting leads to cumulative success.

Once you set one goal, your next goal will be an accumulation of learnings and attainment from the previous goal, and as such becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of success. Each goal leads to success. Each goal pushes you higher than the last, therefore each success gets bigger and bigger. Kind of like earning interest on your savings. But you’re earning interest on success. JACKPOT.


5) Goals keep you motivated, even when you hate everything in the world except chocolate and red wine.

Motivation comes and goes, fact. There’s nothing we can do to avoid it. Even the greatest athletes in the world struggle to maintain motivation. But a solid goal, that you have visualized, desired and pursued with a pin-sharp precision, will turn up every single day – even when the motivation doesn’t. A goal is a trustworthy guide that makes sure you turn up and do the work, even when all you want to do is collapse on the sofa and watch Modern Family with a glass of red wine. Sounds like heaven – but when you’ve got the threat of a mega-goal looming over you, and when failure is NOT AN OPTION, then there is no way you are not going to put in the work.


Goals2 © Wilkie Productions

© Wilkie Productions

6) Goals provide you with a measure of your progress.

Without a goal, we rarely test ourselves. When it comes to training, a specific plan that is designed with one goal in mind will allow you to maximize your fitness and conditioning over a set period of time, and then taper and peak in order to perform at the very limit of you capability, at just the right time. And on that day when you finally get to test yourself in a race, you will get an honest report back from your body. You will know on that day what you are capable of right now. And then you can set yourself a new goal and take yourself further or faster or both.


7) Being goal-orientated shows discipline and consistency, and marks you out as being all-round awesome.

Not a lot of people set goals for themselves. Most of us drift through life, subject to whatever the daily or weekly routines dictate to us. And that’s fine – but when you set yourself ridiculous goals, you become the driver of your success. Defining what you really want to achieve in your sport (and in life in general) shows that you are willing to go out on a limb, that you’re not afraid of failure, and that you’re willing to work hard to achieve whatever it is you put your mind to. And that’s a damn sexy quality.


So that’s my thoughts on setting yourself outrageous goals that expand your comfort zone and push you to achieve more than you think you’re capable of. All you have to do is want it bad enough. After my disastrous first triathlon, I’m pleased to say that I turned things around and finished an ironman successfully. And now, my biggest, scariest, most audacious goal is to race in Hawaii one day. It might not happen until I’m in the 75-79 age group, but I’m putting it out there so that I’m accountable to achieving it. So, now I dare you to put it out there: what’s your outrageous goal?


Text by Lucy Piper

Photos by Wilkie Productions and Delly Carr

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14 Responses

  1. Isobel Callaby

    Baby you are such an inspiration so I’m putting this out there: ‘I’m going to lose 25lbs the PROPER way. No cookie diets, just sensible eating and more exercise’. (Ahhh, I’ve done it now, it’s too late to back down……) X

  2. Kecia

    Great article Lucy!! So many of these apply to racing, but also to life. I am working toward achieving the following goals for IMWI in September:
    1. Swim time 1:20:00 or faster
    2. Maintain a 17 mph or faster bike
    3. Set myself up for a 4:30:00 marathon (or faster)
    4. No nutritional disasters (like I encountered IMWI 2011 where I ended up with hyponatremia and don’t remember the last 8 hours of my event)
    There…now my goals are out there and I will work hard to achieve them ;)

    • Lucy Piper

      These are AWESOME goals! And super-stoked that you have put them out there to share with us – we’ll be following up to see how you go!!

    • Lucy Piper

      WOW! That’s a mega-goal! Holy smoke! Mine is more along the lines of “clear out my inbox by the end of the week…”.

      Can you let us know when it’s finished please?? Awesome stuff.


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