Do you have a Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Here’s why you should.

My lovely husband is very useful in all sorts of ways. He makes a mean fajita, he irons better than I do, and he brings me a cup of tea in bed every single morning. He also, every now and again, rocks back home from work with little snippets of information from his day that prove to be just a teeny tiny bit life changing. Now that IS useful.

It was on one of these days a few years ago that he was filling me in on what he’d been up to – on this occasion a leadership course with some pretty fancy high profile people. And quite casually, he dropped the term Big Hairy Audacious Goal into the conversation, like it wasn’t something that was going to change my life.


Have you ever heard of it? I really, really hadn’t. It was devised by two guys called James Collins and Jerry Porras in the 90’s and it is a strategic business statement; like a vision but with more strategy so that a business has something to hook onto. Crucially, it is a medium to long term thing, which is audacious, perhaps questionable but the people involved believe it is possible. Basically it is as far away from the SMART goals I grew up on as you can get. Its also a hugely popular management idea and there are books and websites full of information about it.

Now, I love a goal. And I LOVE the idea of an audacious goal, one that other people may think is bonkers but which you truly believe may just be possible. And so I adopted this idea for myself. Not for a business of mine, but for my life.

So I now have a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (or BHAG, if you like) all of my own. Actually, I have two (apparently that’s allowed) – one all of my own, and one jointly with my husband (there aren’t any legal papers or anything, but I think that’s fine). They have names and everything. And no one else knows what they are. No one else needs to. They’re just hanging around in the background, chucking motivation in my direction whenever the need arises, not making a scene or anything, just chilling. They even have their own Pinterest boards, which are obviously secret ones. They have their own notebook too, where I jot down anything that helps me or us work towards achieving them. I can honestly say I would not be without them now.


So, do you need a BHAG in your life? Lets look at what having one of your very own could do for you….(please note, I’m talking life here, not business, that’s not my bag and I’m no expert)

  • It makes you really stop and think about where you want your life to go. What do you want your life to look like in 10, 20, 30 years? That’s probably your vision, but add a bit more detail (and a bit more audacity) – what do you want to be achieving at that point? And if you really pushed yourself, what could you achieve? Now you’re getting close. For me, thinking about this has unlocked a bit of ambition I never knew I had, and made me believe I can make a dream a reality with a bit of focus.


  • It gives all the ‘to-do’ lists a bit of perspective. Now, there are obviously things I have to get done as part of everyday life, but when it comes to some of the ‘shoulds’ there are things I can let go, as they aren’t important in the long term.


  • It places less emphasis on small failures. When things go wrong, or not according to plan, it seems less catastrophic if there is a long term overview. For me, it turns things that would previously have been a major problem into more of a minor blip, and these are way easier to contend with.


  • It can help you to take risks. For us, we have stepped off the housing ladder as part of a bigger picture. Cue gasps of horror and worried questions from family, as we aren’t doing things in the expected manner. We, however have a long view in mind and this is simply all part of the plan.


  • It can make you compare yourself less to others. We are at a life stage now where everyone around us is buying BIG houses, or extending with fabulous bi-folding doors, or upgrading their cars,or hiring cleaners; the list goes on. We, however are not doing any of those things right now, and people have been asking a few questions both to our faces and amongst themselves. In the past I would have felt pressure to perhaps be amongst them, doing the same things or perhaps even done some of them without really thinking it through. No longer though, as my BHAG is hovering behind me, reminding me of what I really want to achieve and that I would only be disappointing myself if I gave into the pressure of comparison.

So have a think. If you could, what would you really want to achieve? Could having a BHAG hanging around in your life help you to get there? Let me know.



Two Tiny Hands
Diary of an imperfect mum



  1. June 8, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    I want to know your BHAGS hahah. This is sensible advice 🙂 #tribe

    • June 12, 2016 / 6:33 am

      Thanks Sarah, and I’m not putting them out there just yet – they feel quite powerful as they are and I worry the magic might be lost if I share too much!! xx

  2. June 8, 2016 / 9:18 pm

    I set goals all the time for other people at work, but never heard of this!
    I like to set myself completely unachievable and unrealistic goals…win the lottery, own an instagram worthy house, loose 2 stone etc.

    • June 12, 2016 / 6:31 am

      Ha!! So the deal is that even though it might be a bit out there and audacious, and other people might think it is impossible; if YOU think you can achieve it then that’s a goal that can be set. So if you want to do and think you can do any of those things……..go for it!! (Not sure about the lottery one though ;-)) Thank you for your comment! xx

  3. June 8, 2016 / 9:31 pm

    Oooooh I loved this, I love the big, scary goals. I went on a GOALS course last year which was amazing and in that I had to write down my goals for 5 years and 10 years and how I might get there. Also, Getting Things Done is great because it works on ‘what’s the next step’ so your goals seem achieveable. That’s what I like about the scary goals – writing them down makes them real and touchable. I hope you achieve yours x #ABrandNewDay

    • June 12, 2016 / 6:28 am

      Yes! Writing them down seems key. Your course sounds very interesting, I like thinking about things with a longer term view but ‘next steps’ are so useful in helping us to get there. I hope you achieve yours too xx

  4. June 9, 2016 / 12:30 am

    This sounds very interesting to me. I really need to work on my own goals. I spend most of my days helping others reach theirs for work. I need to learn more about this. And I am intrigued about your BAHGS. #TribalLove

    • June 12, 2016 / 6:27 am

      Oh Sarah, you do need to concentrate on you too. In my previous work (before children) I too concentrated very much on helping the people I worked with and it was only the space of maternity leave that gave me the chance to figure out my own goals. I think there can be room for both. Thank you so much for your comment xx

  5. June 9, 2016 / 8:53 am

    Yayyy I love this post! I also have BHAG’s! It certainly kicks you up the butt!

    Lucy xx


    • June 12, 2016 / 6:24 am

      Thank you for your comment, its so nice to know I’m not the only one with big goals!! xx

  6. June 9, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    What an absolutely brilliant idea!!! I am sick of hearing about SMART targets and I want some big thinking…I totally get how this can give you perspective and like the idea that it can help you take risks too… I’ve just taken a huge risk of changing jobs to help me towards my ultimate goal… Thanks for introducing me to BHAG! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime ?

    • June 12, 2016 / 6:23 am

      Thank you Catie, I too am sick of SMART goals – although I understand that they do work, its just nice for not everything to be as rigid as that. I really hope your job change works out and takes you closer to your goal, I have every faith in you!! xx

  7. June 9, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    I love this – my OH is a firm believer in goals and every January 1at we sit together and write 3 goals (not resolutions) for the year. Strangely enough they often end Up materialising – it must be to do with writing things down, focusing your mind. This is inspirational and I love the term BHAG ? #triballove #ablogginggoodtime

    • June 12, 2016 / 6:21 am

      Yes! Me and hubby also do this, either in the week before New Year or on Jan 1st. Its nice to meet a fellow goal setter!! Thank you so much for your comment xx

  8. June 9, 2016 / 6:47 pm

    Not heard of this before. I like. I’m a list maker and I’ve stopped writing long term goals down for some reason. I’ve recently started bullet journaling, I totally think I can have a BHAG page! Consider it done. If I write it down it might work! Thanks for linking to #abrandnewday

    • June 12, 2016 / 6:20 am

      I think writing it down really does make a difference, and its always good for us list makers to have something else to write down! I’ve been meaning to look in to starting a bullet journal, thanks for the reminder! Thanks so much for your comment xx

  9. June 9, 2016 / 7:35 pm

    I don’t have a BHAG, but this makes me think I need to get one. I’ve just been focused on trying to get through this year of maternity leave, but now that’s coming to an end, so it’s time to look at the bigger picture again. Thanks for the inspiration! #ablogginggoodtime #triballove

  10. June 9, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    I love this, your post title had me hooked. I have heard of this term before, actually from our previous church leader who encouraged and still does encourage us in this. The point about friends with extensions and bi-fold doors is so true, comparing ourselves to friends doesn’t do us any good. This is a really inspiring post and is making me think about my BHAGs. I like the thought of the private pinterest board too. x #ablogginggoodtime

    • June 12, 2016 / 6:19 am

      Thank you so much for your comment. The saying about comparison being the thief of joy really is true. Give the private pinterest board a try, its very freeing! xx

  11. June 10, 2016 / 11:54 am

    This is such an inspiring post. I’d love to hear more. I love hearing from people who have big dreams, because I think that so much is possible when we set our sights on something big. I never heard this term before, but I recently finished writing a book which was kind of a BHAG, so I’ll have to think of another one! #abrandnewday

    • June 12, 2016 / 6:16 am

      Wow, a book!! That’s amazing!! Thank you for your comment, and yes, get thinking! xx

  12. June 12, 2016 / 8:47 pm

    Aside from your blogpost, I also think our brains and bodies are very clever (to quote your footnote bio!). Part of my crystal healing practictioner course is physiology and I’m learning so much. To shun your brain is really quite ignorant! As for the BHAG; what a fantastic concept and one that sounds hands-down better than the SMART model! #abrandnewday

  13. July 21, 2016 / 6:12 am

    Oh here is absolutely love this post I’m going to start thinking about my item big hairy and see what I come up with! Hope both of yours are on plan still

  14. September 2, 2016 / 1:48 pm

    Love BHAG!

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