Mission Impossible: How To Punch "I Can't" In The Face And Reach Impossible Goals
There’s no better feeling than achieving a goal that you previously thought was impossible. When I trained for my triathlon, I went in and out of feeling unstoppable and borderline insane. I knew I wanted to accomplish this, so I had to become a person that could do it. I had to punch “I can’t” in the face, tell my comfort zone to keep quiet, and find a strength in me I honestly didn’t know I had. Since then I have become friends with some amazing, strong people who have achieved things I couldn’t even dream up! Being friends with big dreamers and doers makes me think of all the little habits and techniques that go into achieving an impossible dream. I bet you have this dream that keeps you up at night, that fills your heart just thinking about it, that makes the impossible feel doable. Maybe you’re intimidated by your dream, or you feel too busy to make time for it. There’s a lot of “what if” weeds in our brains, and in order to get out of those we’ve got to figure out our goals, make a plan and stick to it! Whatever is getting in the way of your dream, I hope these steps help you get started.
10 Steps To Reach Your Impossible Goal
- Master The Simple Stuff - Before you can even begin to set forward on your goal, you need to master the most basic parts of your day. Everything starts with the simple things like sleep, hydration and proper nutrition. Whether you batch cook, set evening routines timers, or carry a gallon of water with your everywhere you go, mastering the simple things means you are grounding yourself to handle the bigger, intimidating stuff.
- Clear Your Calendar, and Create a New One - Someone much smarter than me once said you can do anything but you can’t do everything. When you sign up for an impossible goal, you are choosing to prioritize this goal above everything else. Got that? EVERYTHING. In order to do this one thing successfully, you have to learn to create boundaries, prioritize only the things that contribute to your goal, and say so long to everything else. It’s not forever, but it’s for right now. Once you clear your calendar of the busy, distracting stuff, make a game plan. Schedule daily tasks and weekly mini goals so you can reach new checkpoints each day. If you are training for a race or competition, create a fitness routine that is specifically designed to meet those goals.
- Know When to be Realistic and When to be Unrealistic - What do Olympic athletes, self-made billionaires and Nobel Prize winners all have in common? They know how to set goals and show up for them. Goal setting is like marking up your map before a road trip, it is the only way to get to the endpoint. But not all goals are the same size--some are small and realistic, others are daunting and feel completely unrealistic. In order to reach your big, impossible goal, you need to set both realistic and unrealistic goals along the way
- Realistic goals support the bigger goal and typically involve daily practice that creates healthier habits. If you want to write a book, a realistic goal would be to write for 15 minutes in the morning. If you want to get fit then you would commit to meeting with a trainer once a week or going to the gym on your own 3 times per week.
- Unrealistic goals are meant to push you further than your perceived capabilities. They are considered unrealistic because you have to remove comforts or norms in your daily life in order to achieve it (think skipping beers with friends on friday to train for your race). Reaching these goals prime you for the ultimate goal. Maybe you train for a marathon before your 50-mile race, or you sign up for a 30-day novel writing class. Whatever it is, make sure it pushes you beyond your perceived limits, because once you achieve this unrealistic goal, you will set a new standard for yourself.
- Work Harder Than You’ve Ever Worked Before - This might sound like a broken Rocky soundtrack record, but it cannot be overstated. There is no detour to reaching your goal, you have to endure the hard work and persevere through all those distractions. Things that are easy to do are not easy to avoid, and things that are hard to do are easy to get distracted from. You have to face the hard work to get to the success.
- Get Ready to Fail … A Lot - Failure is a byproduct of risk taking, and risk is the only road to reward. Statistically speaking, the goal you are going after might not have a great success rate. But if you really, really want this, that is a risk you MUST be willing to take … otherwise what are you wasting your time for?
- Accept The Consequences of Your Actions - Learn to take mistakes in stride and accept the consequences of your actions. If you sleep through your alarm and miss a morning workout one day, there’s always tomorrow. You can learn from this and maybe set two alarms. If it happens again, then you will start to lose momentum and your goal will quickly slip back into daydream-land. Hold yourself accountable and you will see impossible results.
- Toss the Excuse Card - Excuses are deceivingly cute and reasonable voices in your head reminding you how cozy your bed is, and how unideal the weather is for running, and how delicious chocolate croissants are. They remind you how fuzzy and warm your comfort zone is and try to lure you back to it. When this happens, remember that you left your comfort zone behind in pursuit of your goal. When you hear that voice telling you to snooze your alarm or take a night off, tell that voice to zip it, because you’ve got work to do.
- Find Your Support System - Impossible goals can be isolating, so you want to make sure you have a support system that understands what you are trying to achieve, and maybe even hops along for the ride. Your support team will typically include a mentor, professional or fitness groups, and friends who share similar goals or interests.
Rowdy Rouse EJ and his support system! Read his full story here.
- Empower Others - As you push forward and achieve mini goals, you are bound to meet people who are on a similar path as you. Maybe you find a group of triathletes competing for the same race, or you come across a social media group of people who share your impossible dream. Reach out to these people and let them know you are on their side. You will tap into a new source of power within yourself when you empower others in their own pursuits.
- Laugh Through the Tears - There will be a bunch of times when you want to cry and quit and kick and scream so someone that loves you gives you the permission to quit. Don’t go there. Instead, laugh when you feel like crying, and stay positive when the impossible part of this impossible goal overwhelms you. Remember that you can achieve this because you were able to dream it up in the first place.