Why You Should Set Impossible Goals

Right now, you should be working on at least one or more impossible goals.

Whilst that advice might initially seem to lead to inevitable frustration and lifelong failure, if you think about it, all goals were at one time impossible.

Everything you take for granted in your life was at one time impossible. Walking, tying your shoe laces and riding a bicycle were once things you aspired to be able to do, but at the time felt so far away. However, through persistence, observation, coaching and cute little nursery rhymes (something about bunny rabbit ears??) you were eventually able to master these skills.

So why then, when we get older, do we decide not to take on impossible goals?

The problem is we start to associate embarrassment with failure. As we become more concerned with our outward image, we become more selective with the activities and challenges we take on. Our thoughts and feelings toward failure change from recognising it as part of a process to believing that we are not enough. Gradually we stop taking on new challenges and settle into our comfort zone.

So that is what our comfort zone is. It is the realm where we have an element of certainty related to our abilities. We have evidence to support our beliefs that within these imaginary limits we are less likely to create embarrassment and experience failure and rejection. We end up living inside a glass house whose windows magnify the difference between ourselves and those on the outside.

As our relationship with failure evolves, we start to believe in the concept of innate ability. We start to believe that talented people must have been born that way rather than working on their talents for years behind closed doors and that if we are not good at something immediately then we were obviously not meant to excel in that area. This belief helps to minimise our exposure to failure.

This brings us back to the concept of impossible goals. If we think about our comfort zones, anything outside of there is impossible until we succeed at it once. However there are levels of impossibility.

For example, something that is only just outside of our comfort zone may only take a moment of bravery and doesn’t require any consistent effort outside of our known talents. Once we complete these tasks a couple of times, our comfort zone expands slightly to include that new skill. Small risk, small growth.

Impossible goals require growth of your comfort zone at a far greater magnitude. Impossible goals usually require you to expand your capabilities in multiple directions embracing a range of skills and talents that were all previously unattainable, and they require you to maintain this over an extended period of time. At some point, spending so much time outside of your comfort zone, you are going to come face to face with failure.

So this is why you need impossible goals, to cause you to grow your comfort zone to become capable of achieving this and so much more. After all, once this goal is ticked off the list, your new comfort zone remains. Not only have you now proved to yourself and others that you are indeed a person who can accomplish such challenges, but you can now continue to act way beyond the limits of your former comfort zone.

So do yourself a favour and set yourself an impossible goal. Make it something that, once you achieve it, will have a significant impact on your life and those around you. Come up with a detailed action plan with simple steps that will help you to avoid procrastination and then commit to take your first small step outside your comfort zone. Do it today, don’t delay.

(Don’t forget to check out my free goal setting workbook if you need to set your goals!)

“The true reward of goal achievement lies not in the pot of gold
but in the character you develop along the journey.” – Dan Storey