Always Aim Smaller

If you have read Dark Places you will know where that comes from (Ben’s last monologue). I was in my bed, reading last night and that line hit me. Always aim smaller.

so true.  never wallow in misery.  if you need to be sad, be sad for a little while, but then pick yourself up.  there is still goodness in the world.  sometimes you have to seek it out.

Oh boy, ready for some unload? I live a lot of my life by this motto. Always aim smaller. By smaller I don’t only mean that I keep my days in a tight, rigid box but also I aim downward. I don’t  make lofty goals for fear of failure. I don’t want or need elaborate things because they lack justification to me. I keep my eyes forward never looking up for more or down to see how far I have come. I aim small. I contain my goals, wants, thoughts, actions and keep them small. I tend to doubt my ability to overcome things. What’s worse, surviving rather than living tends to come into play.


I guess I wouldn’t say I have ever seen a problem with that. It makes me feel more realistic. However, I feel like it is all catching up with me. Aiming smaller for me means sometimes forgetting to respect me, who I am, every part of the person I have grown into. We all get it, we all get bombarded with social media, tweets, blogs that give xyz of what they do daily, of amazing assets they possess or are looking to gain or about what they are doing. It is a trap of comparisons I just can’t shake for the soul reason that I aim smaller. I put others above my own respect, tearing myself down in the process. Why can’t I do that? Why am I not doing that? Why am I not like that?

What is worse for me, is in this quest of aiming smaller I lose a bit of who I am. I feel myself backing off of writing emails to friends, texting and staying in contact with people regularly. I let the relationships slide. I felt myself backing off this past week, sort of unconsciously but knowing it was happening. I build this ‘safe’ nest surrounding me so that things seem ‘neat’. Neat is smaller and takes up less space. No no no.

The 'Fuck-it' method.

Well shit. Tipping points happen for a reason. Cracks can form at any point. But as I said, it is about repairing and molding the pieces back together.

I don’t want to continue aiming smaller. In all aspects of my life. That means realizing what others are doing or have may not be the best choices for them or me AND THAT IS OK. It is ok to be doing what I know is needed for me. Not being ashamed to have my life revolve around more than food and exercise. I am way more than that, I am way more than a plan. It is a tough line to cross with me. I know sometimes it is like beating a dead horse when I read certain posts/tweets and other times I grateful for the reminders of more. And reality.

Most of all, I want to let my mind take a chance. I want it to reach a little higher, believe in my abilities a little bit more. What could keep me from this? Distraction by self doubt and comparisons to other. But letting my eyes wander upwards more often could do me some good.

There is no clean package I can make this happen but I do know a big step is making less time I am alone. Sure, we all need our space but when I am in my space too much I lose track of the actual life around me. This year for me is about relationships. I want to form more, embrace more and work more on my relationships. {one of those goals: Run with 13 new people in 2013}

While I said I didn’t want any new year’s resolutions or goals, I plan to reframe this motto. Always aim smaller is now always aim for ME.

and just because

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94 responses to “Always Aim Smaller

  1. Just had a look at the link of “19 People Who Are Having a Worse Day Than You”- hilarious…thanks for the laugh :)!

  2. That fear of failure is an absolute bitch – I know it’s held me back from a lot in my past! I’ve been determined not to let it set me back from what I want to do though. We can both aim higher!

    And that buzzfeed link just killed me a little. Too funny! I actually saw number 9 happen to an ex of mine…

  3. powerful stuff. I realllly really like that last sentence. You should always aim for you! I like it.

  4. love you girl. missed you this week but understand exactly what you mean – hello my ENTIRE christmas break. i had some interesting chats with my friend jess that i want to discuss with you so i will be sending you an email shortly. point being, i am glad you’re recognizing that it’s gotta be about being your best YOU not your best {insert name of intense person who does the most here}. i like you the best anyway.

  5. Excellent, excellent post. You are beautiful and it’s so important to focus on what fulfills YOU because YOU deserve that. Hugs!

  6. I couldn’t agree more with this! I am so guilty of thinking these negative thoughts and always going to a dark place. A quiet place. Lonely place. Which in some cases is very safe for me. No more. This is something that I am working on as well!
    For me, my food intake and exercise routine are a direct reflect of where my thoughts of self are. Make sense?
    Great post Alex. :)

  7. I hope you can accomplish this goal this year Alex. I think finding and embracing relationships with people around you will bring you immense happiness and help you to see how beautiful and accomplished you are.

  8. I hope you find you can reach and accomplish the goals girl. You are so strong and I know if anyone can do it…it’s you!

  9. Love it!! You can totally do this! Comparison traps are the worst, and we all fall into them sometimes. But don’t let anyone or anything try to change who you are!

  10. I really like this post. Forming and enriching more friendships is one of my goals for 2013 as well. I tend to isolate myself. It’s so detrimental.

    Also, I think you need to give yourself a little more credit. You say you aim small, but you have a job, a degree, and a great blog. You might be holding yourself back still, but you are doing/have done some pretty great things already!

  11. Unrelated to this post (which is great, btw), I wanted to let you know that a phrase from your “what I wish” entry really inspired me. There was something about “no physical changes will help this mind heal” that just clicked for me…it made me feel this sense of relief, and helped me let go of the crazy negative self talk I had fallen back into. I’ve written it on a post it note as a daily reminder.

    I’m generally just a healthy blog reader/lurker, but I couldn’t not say thank you!

    • Gosh Hannah this makes me so happy to hear. I know that is something I STILL forget. Physical changes may seem like the way to quiet all those thoughts but then I remember how crazy my mind went when I was that way. Tough to hear but really really true. I love hearing from readers and please feel free to email anytime! Keep on trucking!

  12. Um. So I originally read this on my tablet in bed at 5am when I couldn’t sleep, but glad I came back now to comment because I read Hannah Grace’s comment ahead of me and agree wholeheartedly!! You change my life on a daily basis, but that line was a BIG one in the effort to turn my mind back around. <3
    And this post was equally amazing. I think that I have the opposite problem. I make goals too lofty and then when I think that I'm not going to achieve them to my expectations, I get defeated and totally quit on myself. I've been told that I need to get my head out of the clouds. Maybe we can switch places ..? I'll teach you how to soar in the clouds and you can teach me to be grounded (slash. You already do!). I think this is a huge realization for you to make. And I think that you are more than capable of change if you TRULY want it. Because I know that you are more than capable of everything that you set your mind to. So set it and get it done. Prioritize and realize. And be sure to ask for help if you need it.
    Proud to be one of those 13 people. ;)
    Ps. I needed those articles (Tina's, RWs and the buzzfeed laughs) an AWFUL lot this morning. Thank you for opening my eyes and lightening my heart yet again!!

    • yes yes yes. I know you are the type of person to soar yet I also know we are both of the type of people to tear ourselves down when we can’t accomplish it. It is all about finding that balance of knowing if it is meant to be it will be. i have had to really let this happen with my physical self. i may want xyz but if my body doesn’t want or need xyz then fighting against it on a daily basis will only tear me down. i can’t wait to have you be part of that 13…

  13. Alex, I have the biggest & most confidence in you that you’ll be able to reach your goals this upcoming year <3 Just please, always stay true to YOU!

  14. You’re awesome! I do the same thing where I don’t like setting myself up for big failures and let-downs and it’s really limiting. Let’s make some big goals together so we won’t feel like we’re falling as far if we don’t reach them! (who am I kidding, together we can achieve anyyy of them).

  15. I think that is a great goal! Aiming for you! It’s always important to make sure you take care of yourself first!

  16. Jonny always says, “Shoot for the stars. The clouds ain’t bad.” haha!

  17. It’s so hard not to compare your happiness with those around you, especially thanks to social media like Facebook and even blogging. But you said it best, Alex: aim for you! I also like to think of Nelson Mandela’s famous quote (sorry it’s so long!):

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    I feel like this is one of the most beautiful quotes I’ve ever read and really speaks to the human condition!

  18. Excellent points Alex! You can do it girl! I’m looking forward to following along on your journey!

  19. Awesome post Alex! I look forward to following along on your journey!

  20. Ok girl, get out of my head. Aiming small, underestimating my abilities, and not believing that I’m able to handle the challenges that life throws at me are things that I’ve been struggling with for a long, long time. I do find that surrounding myself with people helps, though, so I really hope you’re successful with your goal this year and don’t try to push people away. If you try to pull that sh*t with me, you better believe that I’m going to start stalking you ;)

    Oh, and I went out and bought Dark Places the other days after hearing you rave about it. Can’t wait to start reading.

    • ooo I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. I think I have struggled with this bit for a while, even when I was younger. I forget that I do have abilities that can take me far, instead I live in that self doubt phase. let’s hope we both grow this year

  21. First, I think that your goal/ resolution or whatever the heck you wanna call it is fab. Do what’s best for you. It’s not selfish, it’s actually selfish in the least. You’re the best person when you feel the best, whatever that may mean to you- it’s different for us all and cannot be compared. And in 2013 I hope that our blendship turns into a strong friendship… You’re one awesome lady and I see your greatness and potential, it’s time for you to see it too! Second, that link is hilarious, it was a great pick-me-up the other week when I was having a pity party for myself :P XO

  22. Holy Moly does this post speak to me! Amazing perspective & I too tend to aim to small, why do we do that to ourselves?!? Love the “Chuck it in the Fuck it bucket”, I’m saving that & possibly even hanging it above my desk. Stay strong girlie!

  23. hahaha I love that link at the bottom. Happy Friday!

  24. This is an awesome goal for the new year. It’s great that you can understand the way you look at things and see that you want to change. If it’s any help, I am a dreamer and often think that everything can be done, when really, I need a more realistic look on things. You can do it! :)

  25. Aiex, you are so awesome and you are capable of achieving so much — you just need to believe that you can :) I KNOW you can!!! Forming more friendships and better relationships is also a big goal of mine too — I find it difficult to do!! Thanks for the buzzfeed link this AM – it started my day out with a laugh!!

  26. Alex, you are so awesome — just look how far you’ve come. You are capable of BIG things- you just have to believe that you can do it!! I KNOW that you can! Forming more relationships is one of my goals this year too — and I find it really hard to do! PS Thanks for the buzzfeed this AM – it started out my day with a good laugh :)

  27. Great post Alex. It can be easy to fall in the comparison trap, but life is so much better when you just stay true to who you are and stop worrying about what other people are doing. They’re doing what works for them, and you’re doing what works for you. That’s what’s important!

  28. This is something that I have to work on. This is a great post in terms of my life as well. I have always compared myself to others and I need to adopt the policy of aiming smaller. Have a great weekend :)

  29. Good girl!!!! Wow, love…so so so happy to read this from you.You DESERVE this, hun, in so many ways….I am here to help you in any way I can, including dragging your butt on an overnight trip to the burgh at some point (I will come pick you up if I have to or send the boy to do it if I’m working on a Friday and he’s unemployed or off)…2013 is going to be an amazing year for YOU hun…I can feel it :)

  30. Oo i love the worse day list on buzzfeed. found that gem a week or 2 ago. laughed over it with coworkers for awhile. yeah it was a slow work day.
    aiming for ME, what a wonderful concept. i love that alex and i think you’re right in saying that to aim for YOU you have to aim for others and spend time building those special relationships!

  31. “Run with 13 new people in 2013″–love it!

  32. Wonderful post Alex and timely as well! As your posts usually are for me :) I am comparing right now… well allow me to take that back, I am always comparing it seems (I am slightly ashamed), but it goes up and down in degrees of intensity. Since I am feeling rather blah at the moment, the feeling of being not good enough is very much a part of me. Must.refrain.thoughts. and the sooner the better

    • I am with you on that, controlling our thoughts are impossible but reframing them is possible. I totally need to keep reminding myself of that when I get caught up in the comparing game way too often. hang in there lovely!

  33. I’ve been a low expectation setter for a long time. I’m a really big sports fan, and it really all started with that. Honestly, it’d tear me up so much when my high school’s basketball team would lose during tournaments (I wasn’t on the team, mind you…just a fan) that I spent all of senior year hoping they’d win but always, always, always expecting they’d lose so I could be ready for it (happy ending: we won the state championship that year :) ). I’d do the same thing with tests, too…and actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m doing the exact same thing with my current boy situation. I set all these low expectations in an effort to protect myself from being hurt, because if I prepared for things to go poorly, then it wouldn’t upset me as much when they did go poorly. While some of these things may have been beyond my control (my attitude, for example, did not in any way affect the basketball team), I think in some of these situations it’s making me shoot myself in the foot. Telling myself he can’t like me, focusing on all the things he’s done that have in any way indicated that he might not like me instead the things that might indicate that he does like me…maybe I’m protecting myself from an epically broken heart, but I think I’m also hurting myself in doing so. I do think there’s benefit to setting low expectations and aiming small when things aren’t completely within your control (like with sports, for example, or like if you tried to get into the NYC Marathon or some other lottery race where there’s not much you can do to give yourself a better chance of success), but by and large I agree with you here that it’s good to not aim small and limit ourselves in doing so.

    • ah you def hit it for me with this. i so get that shoot yourself in the foot. I always tended to just set them low thinking it was best to protect myself that way but I think overtime it started to apply to more parts of my life that it ended being a detriment for. I should let myself have those grandeur thoughts of success because sometimes I could get quite close…

  34. when i first read always aim smaller – the motto: keep it simple, stupid – came into my head. I like your new take “always aim for me” as it is imperative to do what is best for you, but at the same time, i still think sometimes as humans, especially as girls, are quest for perfectionism will drive us insane & in those cases, I always remember, keep it simple. why make something more difficult, why over-analyze to the point of confusion .. why not keep it simple. for simplicity at times is sophistication.

    To try to keep the pathway to the goal, simple. it can still be a high expectation but keep those chances of success high by keeping it uncomplicated – doing it for you & only you!

    • I like simple. I think all females get caught up in those mind games of needing to be better, more perfect, less of who they are. It is tough to fight or shake that in this environment. Great advice per usual!

  35. I think this is a great way to live life. I feel like I am constantly making unrealistic goals, trying to take on more than I can handle. This ALWAYS ends up in failure. I’m not sure why I keep making large goals because I feel like I know better but it’s nice to have a little reminder. I am trying to keep this perspective for my New Years ‘Resolutions’. I’m taking my goals month by month instead of looking over the entire year! Instead of saying I want to read 52 books this year, I want to think of it as 4-5 books/month. By ‘aiming low’ or making smaller goals, I feel like I’m more likely to accomplish my goal of 52 books. :) Thanks for sharing this Alex.

  36. Love this!!’ Aim to be you! Take risks, it is worth lt.

  37. i know exactly what you mean and can relate to this post so much.. i have been single for YEARS i use to be the girl who would never be able to be out of a relationship for awhile all because i cant open up anymore to people because i was so safe in my little nest that i didnt want anyone to ruin it.. running with 13 new people thats an awesome wish i may just steal that from you !! and id totally run with you half way btwn ny and dc aint to far right :-)!

    • not so far at all@ i may be making a trip to nyc so maybe we can meet up when I go there. I would love to have you as one of the 13. It is really hard for me to open up to people as well. I never thought it was a big deal but I am learning that I suck at all kinds of friendships because of it.

  38. Ok, I love this post and I really needed to read this today. The comparison trap is so easy to fall into and so hard to get back out of but it’s so great that you recognize that you need to live your life for you, and not compare your successes and failures to others.

  39. You go girl! I often find myself setting lower expectations for myself for the same reasons you stated. But no more. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for!! And btw, I freaking love that buzz feed list! I saw it a few weeks ago and was dying! HILARIOUS!!!

  40. I love this. Not much more to say other than that it is so true and I love that you were able to put yourself out there.

  41. I think we can all relate to this in some way. I fear simply starting things because I fear failing let alone making a goal or a dream about them!! Thankfully there is always time for a laugh, I love that last link haha.

  42. aah the conundrum. aiming small is often a good thing in terms of material possessions (less stuff, less money spent etc), and sometimes in terms of how many things you are involved in (in college, I tried to run xc/track, be in a sorority, be a research assistant, tour guide, student athletic trainer, and get good grades….but in the end what worked best was focusing on like 3 of those things and being really good at them and really involved instead of spreading myself thing). BUT….when you aim small in terms of what you THINK you can accomplish, what you WANT to accomplish….you really are limiting yourself. It’s safe, but it’s just a half-life. I’m so SO proud of you for recognizing that about yourself and wanting to work on switching that focus to what you actually love, what you want, what you want to accomplish, and who you want to be with, and your HAPPINESS. Yeah, it’s not gonna be easy because aiming small is comfortable, and there’s no neat and clean way to do it since not all areas of your life can be attended to in the same way, but it’s going to be SO worth it. I think in terms of running and future career, you’ll achieve more than you ever thought possible if you focus on what you want instead of what you’re 100% sure you’re capable of. And reaching out to have more relationships, well, there will be times when you can’t support yourself or justify your goals – those people will do it for you. I know I’m all the way in Colorado but I am here to support you and help you justify your goals and all that. You are SO SO much more than you give yourself credit for Alex, remind yourself of that and go get em! :-)

    • Man Kate thank you for this. I know how similar we are and you just listing these out totally hit me on the head with how truly similar we were in college and still are. I hope that I begin to just give myself a little more of a fighting chance with what I want to accomplish. Who knows I could really surprise myself

  43. Aw heck no! You deserve so much more than smaller, you deserve the biggest, best, most incredible things that life has to often. Fight these negative thoughts girl, I know you can. You are worth so, so much more than a small, safe nest. If you ever need someone to remind you of just how much you rock, I’m totally down to bombard you with endless sincere compliments and thoughts.

  44. I used to aim for the stars when I was young, but once college came around something changed and I started aiming smaller. I think it was due to a combo of fearing failure and trying to avoid extra stress on myself. It’s all about leaping over those fears of failure and prevailing though! We can do it :)

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