Shooting for the Moon? How to Set Goals to Achieve Liftoff
So you want to shoot for the moon? Making a different life takes hard work, but more importantly, it takes smart work (and a little luck). That involves setting goals. This post might seem a bit discouraging, because I’m not telling you It Will Work in big sparkly flashing capital letters. Because it might not, and that’s okay. It sucks, but it’s okay, because I am going to teach you how to set goals that really work.
Before we can make the changes we really need to make to make our lives better, we have to set our goals. A lot of people think setting goals looks like this:
1. Make lots of money.
In reality, setting goals often looks like this:
- Attempt to complete steps 1-6 of focused life change plan that you have spent months developing.
- Have 17 setbacks, at least half of which are completely beyond your control
- Give up or make half the money you thought you were going to make.
- Set new goals.
The keys to getting to that Making Lots of Money goal are focus, flexibility and lots of help from friends and family. It doesn’t hurt if your friends and family are millionaires, either.
Set your A goal, your B goal, and your C goal. Be prepared to switch up at any time. Most systems for getting out of debt start with the “emergency fund” idea. Which is a great idea, if you aren’t already cutting your budget to the bones.
Here’s an example from my life:
I want to build a viable second income from blogging, right? That’s why I created this blog (and others). My A game was to create the blogs, put up a few posts, and wait for fame and fortune to find me. Guess what – that didn’t work. I’ve been blogging since 2007 (Or 2001 if you count livejournal, which I don’t, because I wasn’t blogging for anyone but myself and a few friends there). My first three blogs were on Blogger, the free platform. One for political stuff, one for personal stuff, and one for people who work in the mental health field. Good content, still no real market.
I got pretty good at working with blogging software, and finally took the advice of many people who said I should purchase my own domains and create self hosted blogs. Did that, overwhelmed myself with the scope of the task and the attempts to blog too frequently while also building a thriving psychotherapy business, and abandoned most of my blogs for six months. During which time they got hacked through a vulnerability in an add on.
So I learned how to sanitize a website, and how to set up the sites to make it a bit harder in the future. Still waiting for that vast personal fortune, but my experiences have taught me a lot about what not to do, and my goal is to have decent advertising income from my blogs by this time next year.
At this point, I’ve run out of letters to name my goals after, but I haven’t given up. I’ve only refocused and adjusted my goals for new information.
If you want to make a better life for yourself, you’re going to have to keep plugging away, too. Luck is important, but it isn’t enough. Family is important, but it isn’t enough. You’ll need drive, and focus and the willingness to fail in order to succeed.
Set up your goal like this:
First, make the big wish. This is the “shoot for the moon” prize. In my example, the “shoot for the moon” prize is “a viable second income (retirement income) from blogging”. Yours might be “Getting a job with a major rock band doing their pyrotechnics” or “Owning my own nightclub that specializes in ballroom dancing and is wildly successful”
But that “shoot for the moon” goal needs to be something that vibrates all the way from your toes up and shoots out your brain.
Then comes the un-fun stuff. This is the ladder that leads to the moon. Don’t forget, you’ll need to figure out a way to breathe up there, and you’ll need to get through the atmosphere without burning up. You’ll need some serious armor and some serious skills. If you don’t have them yet, that’s your first priority in those first few steps.
So get some paper and a pen, or a computer and a keyboard, or some toilet paper and a pin to prick your finger to write in blood, and spend a day or a week writing out your dreams and all of the steps you need to get there.
I hope you scribble a lot. I hope your final copy has a dozen rejected ideas, because some of those will end up incorporated into your final idea. I hope you have a good long list of “don’t do this” on the list and that you stick to it (at least mostly).
Take your plan to trusted friends and mentors. Ask them to read it. This is the part that sucks – they’re going to tear it up and spit it out and tell you all of the reasons it won’t work. Listen to them, at least mostly. If they have expertise in an area you don’t, make notes about how to get through that barrier (or around it) and listen to them. If they are hating on your core idea, ask what is wrong with it, and how it can be improved. These will be the same questions the people you will need to “buy in” to your idea will ask, and you’ll need answers.
“How are you going to advertise this?”
“What is your core market/audience?”
“What education or licenses or permissions will you need to do this?”
“How much money will you need to make this work?”
“How are you going to make it work if you can’t get that much money?”
“Who will be affected if you do/don’t succeed, and how will you get those peoples’ support?”
“How are you going to support yourself until you land on the moon?”
“How are you going to carve out the time to shoot for the moon while you’re supporting yourself?”
“Will you be happy if you get only as high as orbit? What about a tall mountain? What about a hill overlooking town?”
“What will you do when you get to the moon? What’s next?”
“How will you give back to those who are also trying to shoot for the moon?”
“If you get stuck on the ground, what’s your plan to get unstuck?”
Ask those questions yourself first. Then ask your mentors and friends. Finally, ask the people (family, partner, children, investors) whose help you need to achieve your goals.
You can do it. I can do it. And together, we will recreate a solid middle class and self employed class and small business class that will make our world a better place.
Ready to lift off?