Some goals are so big, so large, so difficult, so overwhelming, that they seem impossible.
Now, impossible goals can be great goals to have because they push you past your limits and you can accomplish more than you thought possible.
In fact, impossible goals are often the goals that bring about great changes in technology and society.
However, as the name implies, they often seem impossible or just plain hard.
What do you do about those? How do you make them happen?
That’s what we’ll cover in this article: we will dive into the steps you can take to make those impossible goals more manageable and accomplish them well.
Download Your Goal Setting Resource Pack - FREE
Get access to the checklists and workbooks that will help you discover, pick, and write your goals as well as our 31 Steps You Can Take to Stay Motivated About Your Goals eBook.
1. Know your why for the goal
First, make sure you know why you are doing the goal. What is your why? What is your purpose for doing this goal?
How will you benefit from it?
Even if it’s a goal that you were told you need to do (such as from work), finding your own why, your own purpose and benefit from doing the goal, can help you focus and get the goal done.
Why do you need a why?
A why helps you stay motivated. It gives you purpose for pushing through when it’s hard.
Without a why, it’s easy to quit when the going gets tough. Make sure to write your why down where you can view it frequently, especially when things are tough.
2. Do your research
If it’s a goal that you don’t know much about, take the time to research. Look up and talk to people who’ve done similar goals in the past and see how they accomplished it and the obstacles they overcame.
Get a grasp of what you will need to do and steps you will need to take to make it happen.
If there are certain skills that you need to learn, it’s good to know that ahead of time as well.
3. Break down the goal into smaller steps and subgoals
One reason these big, impossible goals are never accomplished is that we never start. It seems so big and overwhelming, so we put it off.
To help combat it, break down the goal into smaller steps. If you can, break it down into every step you will need to take. That may not be possible, but the more you break it down, the easier it will be.
You can think about every step you will need to take and write them out.
Or you could work backward from the end result – what is the last step you will need to take to finish the goal? What is the step before that? What is the step before that? And so on.
Break down the goal into sub-goals and tasks and write them out.
4. Plan it out
Now that you’ve got the basics of what you need to do for your goal and the subgoals and steps you need to take, plan it out.
Prioritize your subgoals and tasks. You can put them in order step-by-step of what needs to be done or you could list them in order of importance. Then start working on them one by one.
You may plan to do one task every day or you may want to set certain days to do certain tasks.
Or you may use your subgoals as milestones and work toward each one of those until all of them are done.
Decide when you will do the work toward your goal. Try to do it at the same time or after the same event every day (such as right after lunch or after you get to work or after you eat breakfast). If you are consistent with this day-to-day, it will, over time, become a routine and habit for you to do the tasks toward your goal.
5. Set yourself deadlines
As you plan, set deadlines. Set deadlines for your milestones and tasks, when you want those subgoals or tasks finished.
Deadlines are important because they push you to get the tasks done. Without deadlines, it’s much easier to put something off.
Make sure you push yourself a little with the deadline. If you give yourself a 3-week deadline for a task that takes two hours, it’s likely that the task will take you three weeks.
Set realistic deadlines, but give yourself deadlines that will push you to achieve your subgoals and tasks faster.
6. Find accountability
Find accountability to help you accomplish your goal.
It could be someone that you want to call and check on you to see how things are coming along.
Or it could be a person or group of people pursuing a similar goal. You all work together, encouraging and motivating each other to keep pushing forward.
Whichever way you do it, finding accountability can help you keep moving toward the goal, even when it’s hard.
7. Just do one step or for a set amount of minutes
If you have a hard time working on your goal, or starting it, then start poking holes in it.
You can do this in a couple of ways. First, since you have your goal broken down to sub-goals and tasks, just work on one simple task. Tell yourself you are just going to work on the one task and that’s it.
Just get started with that one task. Once you get going, you may be motivated to keep going.
Or plan to do it for five minutes or ten or however long only. Tell yourself, “I’ll only do it for X minutes and quit” and then do it. When the X minutes are up, quit, or, if you are motivated to keep going, keep going.
Then set another time to just do X minutes or just one task.
8. Have realistic expectations
Have realistic expectations of your goal. If you are really stretching yourself and aiming for something that you haven’t or no one has done before, realize that failure may happen.
It may take longer than you thought. It may take more steps than you thought or a different approach than you think it will.
It can be easy (at least for me) to be super optimistic about it – only to be disappointed.
It’s good to be optimistic, but level your optimism with reality. Go in expecting you will succeed – at some point – but that it’s likely you may have bumps along the way – and that’s okay. It’s to be expected.
9. Thrive in your failures
If you are going to be pursuing a hard, impossible goal, it’s highly likely you will have some failures.
You may think one direction is the way to go, only for it to flop.
Maybe you set some deadlines, and you miss – all of them.
Whatever it may be, you had failure.
Does that mean you quit? NO! Failure is just a method of learning. You didn’t fail, you just learned something that didn’t work or that you need to adjust your expectations.
Failure is just a learning tool. It doesn’t make you a failure – unless you don’t learn from it, start playing the victim and blaming, and quit.
Truth is, with impossible goals, sometimes the goal itself will fail. It may not happen. Does that make you a failure? No.
The goal may have failed, but if you’ve learned from, come out with new ideas, helped people along the way, or something similar, then you still had success even in that failure.
Failure is an event, not a status of life.
10. Just start
Lastly, just start. It’s easy to look at those goals and procrastinate on ever doing them. Then it becomes harder and harder to ever do it.
Some people use planning and research as an excuse – they say they haven’t researched or planned enough, so they never start.
Others find other things to fill their time with – just to avoid the start of that overwhelming goal.
Don’t let that be you.
Just start. Find an easy task to start with and do it! In fact, get a few small, easy tasks that you can do and get going. Get the momentum and victories going toward that goal.
Those hard, impossible, overwhelming goals don’t have to stay that way. Use the steps in this article to help you not only start, but finish your goal.
And, let’s say you did it all right and the goal still failed. Remember, that doesn’t make you a failure. If you’ve learned from it, came up with new ideas, helped people, and so on, even if the goal failed, you are still a success in it.
Now to you: What large, impossible goal have you been putting off that you are going to start now? What first step are you going to take?