I like to set impossible goals and impossible expectations.
Partly because it’s inspiring to achieve what was previously believed to be impossible.
Huge goals are impressive.
The shadow side of this tendency is to set impossible expectations because it leads to a kind of failure that supports my negative beliefs.
It goes like this:
- I get inspired by a big goal.
- I get a flash of myself having achieved it.
- Inspired, I make some progress towards that goal.
- At some point, inspiration fades, then I am forced to admit… I don’t have what it takes! It really is impossible. Alas, I will remain small.
That’s not an ideal conclusion.
The ideal conclusion is to find an entry point towards accomplishing the impossibly large ambitions that I actually hold, not merely big goals that seem impressive.
There are millions of amazing random things you could potentially achieve. And plenty of things you could potentially strive for and be unable to follow through with. Neither scenario is ideal. The thing I’m shooting for is a way of knowing what is truly in integrity with your uniqueness.
Maybe your goals will seem impressive to other people and maybe not. The main thing is that they feel just beyond what you believe to be possible. A good goal takes you into your depths and draws out greatness within you. Click To Tweet Not to become someone else but to become more of who you already are.
Find clarity by freewriting about it
A first step towards workable clarity is to take your goal and freewrite about it.
When you freewrite about something, you basically turn it over and over in your mind and hold it up to the light and inspect it.
Sort it out and sift it through.
Does it have integrity?
What aspects of it feel the most alive?
Write while holding your main idea in mind. With each phrase, explore outward into possibilities. Periodically return to your main idea, actually restating it. Allow yourself to rove and roam, to get off topic and to return.
Follow the flights of fancy. Be on the lookout for any elements that light you up.
Let’s say you want to make a million dollars. You want to examine the viability of that as a goal for you. You want to explore it in freewriting to see whether you haven an actual entry point to that goal. Some goals are just wild notions or are otherwise just ideas that sound impressive. Not all goals are necessarily meant for us right now.
Plenty of things are possible, but aren’t the perfect fit for you.
Maybe someone else could do it. Why do you want to do it?
What does it do for you in other aspects of your life? For example, the million dollars: It gives you a million dollars of money. What does that do for your spiritual life? For your health and mental well being? Your sex life? Your family and friends? Your sense of purpose and clarity? Dose it help you sleep better? Maybe it does, and honestly there may be plenty of ways that it does not.
Maybe you want a vacation house in Tuscany. What about it do you want? What does it feel like to feel that you have it?
Spending time with that goal in present tense, what is alive for you? What is your life like? What’s better and what’s worse?
What else is possible?
Are there other ways of getting to feel those things? In other words, is the goal necessary? What else does it unlock for you?
Freewrite to map out the steps it will take to reach a goal
When you have something like a five year goal, it’s actually relatively straightforward to work backwards from that goal and connect it to where you are now.
This exercise can be profoundly useful for determining the palatability of what it takes to achieve a goal, and it also removes the guesswork, the luck and chance, the “I’ll have to win the lottery” aspects of it.
Example goal: Write an amazon bestseller
First, really feel the specifics of that end goal.
Run the numbers. What kind of sales does that mean for your category? If you split that into smaller pieces, how can you work upwards toward that over the course of weeks and months? What is a reasonable timeframe for you to be hitting those sales figures?
What inspires you about it?
What does all this feel like? Put yourself in the present tense with the goal. You already — right now — have that bestseller. How does it feel for you to go about your daily life? What is different? What does the future feel like? What do you most love about this feeling?
In terms of practicality, break down the goal into what it involves.
- Writing the book
- Releasing the book
- Researching your target audience
- Researching the viability of your book idea and the various aspects of it: cover design, title, synopsis, and all the other elments that will need to be there to make it sell well
- Building a platform
- Promoting the book and making any adjustments based on beta readers or feedback
- Can it be a standalone or should it be a series?
- How will it be findable?
- Do you need to make any connections with other authors or how will you advertise the book?
Maybe it would only take a year to write the book but because you have a full time job and are starting with no other books and no platform, you need to set a goal of two years so that you can write in tandem with the other aspects that need to be taken care of (building a list and so forth).
Determine how long you will want to spend on various actions.
What sort of daily schedule is sustainable for you?
How motivated are you?
Knowing yourself, what is likely to come up in the way of negative beliefs or blocks?
What are some strategies that can help you focus on the big picture and follow through?
How can you give yourself mini-successes along the way?
Based on how much time you can spend per week, can you work backwards and determine where you will need to be where the project milestones for each month?
Break monthly milestones into weekly targets
Give yourself a general idea of what should be accomplished each day, allowing for some flexibility.
Set yourself up for success.
The three steps to freewriting about your goals
- ask the questions and jot out the possible solutions
- go back through and isolate what was on point and remove the rest.
- reorder everything and build it forward into fully developed action items.