5 Steps to Achieving an Impossible Goal



(im)possible - 282/365

Have you ever dreamed about doing something only to dismiss it away as being impossible? Maybe you made some excuse as to why you couldn’t achieve it or why you shouldn’t bother trying. Whatever it is, you’ve labeled it impossible and moved on with your life.

But what if that goal isn’t as impossible as you think? Many things that seem beyond your capabilities could actually just be difficult to achieve, not impossible. In my own experience, many goals I once deemed impossible only seemed that way until I ultimately succeeded.

Here are five steps you can use to make your impossible goals a reality.

1. Deeply examine your impossible goal

The first big step to achieving your impossible goal is to thoroughly look at it. What about it seems impossible? Is it really impossible? Really?

Have any other people achieved this goal? If the answer is yes, than immediately you know that the goal is not truly impossible. All you’re doing right now is saying it is impossible for you.

There are only two legitimate reasons why something might actually be impossible:

• You have physical limitations. For example, a twelve year old can’t become president of the US because of age restrictions. Also a man can’t become a contestant for Miss America.

• You’re limited by space/time. For example, you can’t visit Mars because there is no technological way to get there. Also, if you’re 80 and you’re given only two months to live, you can’t set plans to spend the next five years writing a novel.

Overall, these real impossibilities might encompass about 10% (my general estimate) of any goal you might set. All the others are real achievable goals and should be pursued if you have enough passion, drive and determination to see it through.

2. Ask yourself this: How achievable is it?

Now that you realize your goal is not impossible, you need to look at how achievable it is. Some goals are naturally going to be easier to achieve than others. Becoming President of the United States and losing a hundred pounds don’t have the same difficulty level. While both are actually possible for you to do, becoming president would be much harder to attain.

So how achievable is your goal?

Surprisingly, how achievable your goal is depends more on how committed you are to achieving it than the actual difficulty involved. Do you have enough of these qualities to see the goal to completion?

• Determination to see it through
• Passion for the goal
• Willingness to take risks to accomplish it
• Mental strength to handle setbacks

These are the qualities you’re going to need to see the goal to the end. Carefully look at how much drive and passion you have to finish the goal and how difficult you imagine it’s going to be. More often than not, a goal remains impossible simply because someone doesn’t have the drive and determination to complete it.

3. Define the parameters of your impossible goal

How will you know when your impossible goal has been achieved? This is something you need to know. Just imagine someone who says they want to be a successful writer. What does success mean? Being published? Earning enough to live from writing alone?

Define your impossible goal so you know just exactly where you need to end up. Someone who hasn’t clearly identified where they want to go will just aimlessly work towards some undefined destination. Be specific so you know what specific steps to take.

Keep in mind that clearly defining your goal is good, but being rigid is not. Feel free to change and redefine your parameters as needed.

4.Seek out information to define your tasks

Once you’ve clearly identified where you need to go, you’ll need to figure out what you need to do to get there.

Right now there is so much helpful information through the internet and books about how you can achieve certain goals and dreams. Have you researched everything in detail? Before I take any actions on impossible goals, I always read as much information as possible so I know exactly what to do.

But reading the information isn’t your only resource. Get out and contact those people who have achieved the impossible goal you want to do. Send them an email or call them asking for specific advice on what they did. Read books and articles they’ve written about it. They could provide you with some great information on what you can do.

5. Taking action and corrective actions

Once you’ve compiled all that information, you can lay out the first few steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal. From this point, it’s all about taking action. And the sooner you take action, the sooner you can start seeing results.

Some of those results might not be all that encouraging at first. Think of a beginner writer getting nothing but rejection letters back from publishers. That’s how it usually is with difficult goals at first and should be expected.

But every time you get a setback you can see it as an opportunity to take corrective actions. Got a rejection letter? See if there is any information in it on what you could improve on.

It goes like this:

Take action –> analyze results –> improve previous action –> take action again

Eventually you’ll see marked improvement and start seeing success.

Impossible Goals, Realized

You should never dismiss a goal away simply because you think it is impossible. They often seem intimidating at first, but once you work on them, they become easier and easier. Hopefully these steps have put you in the right direction and you can turn an impossible goal into reality.
photo credit: morberg

Join 20,000 Monthly Readers
Get weekly strategies for motivation, travel and living life on your terms.
Get free ebook 10 Ways to Travel Endlessly - the amazing methods that have already helped thousands travel faster, better and cheaper.


  1. Great article Steve, and of course you’re absolutely right.

    You should never dismiss a goal away simply because you think it is impossible. – this is one of my favorite philosopher’s ‘mistakes’ : Thinking that something is impossible because we cannot achieve it (if you want to read more, I wrote an article about why I think Cicero’s 6 mistakes is all you need, here: Self Help: Why Cicero’s 6 mistakes is all you need) – I just love the simplicity of these 6 small statements).

    Often people have pre-conceptions (which are often in turn misconceptions) about a certain idea formed from their own limiting beliefs (something else I’ve written extensively about but I won’t put the link here or you’ll think I’m link-spamming you 😉 – you know me better than that!) anyways, the point is that as you say above, often just taking a moment to step back, write it all down and really honestly look at the boundaries/parameters of what we thought was impossible – taking that time to really think about it of course we discover it’s not impossible at all.

    It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible.

    In fact, sometimes if we sit down and do this properly we find that it’s not even difficult!! All it took was to take that time and that enabled us to find new ways and new perspectives we didn’t realize were there. Another simple but effective way to do this is just to talk openly to somebody about it (p.s. ideally this needs to be in a neutral, undisturbed environment and done in a non-judgemental way, allowing all thoughts and questions full freedom)

    • You make a great point about pre-conceptions. Those so often come from limiting beliefs. You might think they reflect the world around you, but they actually reflect those limitations you’re putting on yourself.

      I think it’s just such a good idea to challenge those pre-conceptions. Where do they come from? Why do you think the way you do? That way you see the world for what it is and not what you think it is.

      You’re right about the difficulty too. Before I started traveling, I thought it would be impossible to see certain places around the world. I thought you had to have certain skills or dispositions to be successful doing that. Now I know better. Now I feel as if I can travel anywhere. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.

  2. I love your message here “never dismiss a goal because you think it’s imposssible”. This concept seems to simple yet i really really believe it’s the difference between doers and watchers.

    I don’t think i have this problem of not taking action. In fact i think a lot of people take action but the key ingredient is factoring in persistance during the “defining process” as you called it. Many people fail to factor in the length or time or the effort involved in achieving a goal. And end up giving up before the game has even begun.

    A good example are people who sign up for gym memberships on new years but who never go to the gym again after the the month of February.

    Or bloggers who start a blog but give up after 3 to 6 months becuase they are not rolling in traffic and money.

    I digress. Overall this is a good reminder that if you want something you have to go and get it…

    • I know what you mean about the difference between doers and watchers. It’s basically the difference between those who get out there, take action and do things despite the difficulty and those who just sit back and watch accepting that things are too difficult for them.

      Oh yeah, the New Year’s Eve crowd. I know them all too well. I’ve had a gym membership for over eight years and I tend to stay away from the gym in January and the beginning of February. It’s amazing how many people don’t factor in persistence to their goals.

  3. utkarsh dixit says:

    i think everything is possible i have proof of this;;
    we have soul in our body which is said to be the part of god and for nothing is impossible hence prooved//

  4. I too do not rule out anything as impossible until i have explored all my options coz i am a true believer in the quote : “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”So yeah when i am struggling with something that seems like an impossible task, i ask for help. http://goo.gl/7EKamF

  5. Patrick Barnaby says:

    I Am Possible is just adding an A so change what your saying. This is good advice. No 5 reminds me of the Play Cycle which is Act – Reflect – Adapt – Iterate until you achieve or receive the desired result. I would ad one think more to No 3 which is Start Where You Are With What You Have. Know where you are as well as where your going.
    Again Sound Advice.

Speak Your Mind