17 Ways to Achieve Heroic Goals

by Stephen Mills on March 24, 2009


Note:  This is the third article in the series “How to be Successful by…”.  This series examines what traits successful people have in common.  Here are the first two articles in the series:
How to be Successful by Practicing Resilience
How to be Successful by Taking Responsibility

“You want to set a goal that is big enough that in the process of achieving it, you become something worth becoming”. –Jim Rohn.

The Secret to Super High Achievement

Pay close attention because this is probably going to be counter-intuitive at first glance.  You are more likely to achieve heroic goals than you are to achieve less aggressive stretch goals. I have found this to be true in my own life.

When I set goals that I know I can achieve within my known performance boundaries, I achieve them easily.  These are unremarkable achievements so who cares?  When I set stretch-goals, goals that stretch me beyond what I know by experience I can achieve, I often fail to accomplish them.  These stretch goals are just that – stretching within the same paradigm.  The same thing, only more than is comfortable.

The few times I have set heroic goals, I have achieved them.  Unfortunately it was not until recently that I recognized this and understood why.  It happens this way because in order to achieve these heroic goals, we must make massive changes in ourselves and our behavior.  Therefore, by having heroic goals we are forcing ourselves to grow outside the boundaries of our limiting paradigms.

A Personal Example

Let’s think about an extreme case for illustrative purposes.  I once set a goal to lose 60 pounds without exercising.  I didn’t set a time limit but I was thinking 6 months to a year.  In order to accomplish this goal I had to make massive changes in my diet.  I literally had to completely change the way I ate.  I didn’t have to make these changes overnight, but I had to make them quickly enough.  I lost 74 lbs in 8 months.

What if I had set a goal of one pound in the next year?  What would I have done?  Probably nothing.  I could have stopped drinking water on weigh-in day and declared success.  Of course nobody would declare such a minimal goal, but by setting a stretch goal of say 20 pounds, you are effectively doing the same thing.  It’s going to be difficult enough that you likely you will give up, but not hard enough to make you change anything fundamental in yourself.

Constructive and Healthy Dissatisfaction

I often hear people say that you should be happy or satisfied with what you’ve got.  I don’t think so.  I am thankful for what I have, and I appreciate the blessings in my life, but I am neither satisfied nor happy with what I’ve got and you shouldn’t be either.  I’m happy because of the journey that has brought me to this point, but I have big dreams still ahead.

Life is a process of growth.  It is the experience of growth that yields serene fulfillment and happiness.  Did you get that?  It isn’t the destination but the journey.  To stop growing is to start dying.  If your ancestors had been satisfied with what they had, you would be running from saber-tooth tigers and sleeping in a cave.

17 Things You Can do To Achieve Heroic Goals

  1. Make Your Goals Truly Heroic – As Bob Proctor says: “Blow the lid off of yourself and let your dreams fly.”  If you make $100,000 a year, it is not a heroic goal to say your dream is to make $150,000.  $500,000 or $5,000,000 might be considered heroic.
  2. Create Goals So Desirable You Are Willing to Take Risks – You have to really, really, really want it.  If you kind of want it then it is not going to happen.  High achievement and risk go hand in hand.  You aren’t going to get big results without risk. Your goal needs to be something so valuable that you will commit to making it happen and be willing to take risks to get there.
  3. Align Goals With Your Life Values – You will not be excited or motivated to do what it takes to achieve goals that are in opposition to the real you.  You will find reasons to fail.  Write down a list of your values and make sure that your big goals are in complete alignment with those values. Your subconscious mind will sabotage your efforts if your goals do not align with your values.
  4. Create Goals That You Have High Passion for Accomplishing – Your heroic goals will be difficult.  If you aren’t absolutely passionate about the goals you set, you will quit when the going gets tough.  If you don’t passionately want a lot of money in order to buy yourself freedom in order to get the life you want, then don’t set a goal that includes a lot of money.  Once again you have to really, really, really want it.  The goals have to be yours and yours alone. They can’t be someone else’s dreams.  They must be your dreams, your passions, your desires.  Make them something that will get you leaping out of bed in the morning and excited to take on the world.
  5. Create a Crystal Clear and Detailed Picture of Your Goal – “In the absence of clearly defined goals we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”  –Bob Proctor.  Your heroic goals need to extremely detailed.  Imagine and record every detail about how you will be living in with your goal.  Paint a beautiful picture in your mind and your subconscious mind will take over and do the work for you.  Every time you think of your goal, this detailed picture will flash through your mind.  If your goal is fuzzy, it is not going to work.  View your goal in the present tense.  Say “I am” and not “I will”.  Make it emotional.  Feel the dream. Attaching deep positive emotions to your goal is a very powerful approach.
  6. Write Your Goals in Longhand Every Day – Writing your goal down over and over seems to burn it into your mind more deeply.  Jack Canfield recommends writing the goal three times a day.  Typing it on a computer is better than nothing, but I have found that the act of writing it out in longhand on a piece of paper has a lot more impact.
  7. Prioritize Your Goals – Set priorities on your goals or you won’t know what to do first.  You will end up putting second things first.  Rank your goals 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.  This is a critical step so don’t skip it.
  8. Focus on One Goal at a Time: The One With the Highest Priority – This is very difficult for me and I suspect it is the same with many of you.  I am so impatient and I want to do everything at once.  I continue to learn the lesson the hard way that this doesn’t work.  Your attention is diluted and you accomplish nothing.  It is of the highest importance to your success, that you focus on your most important goal.  You can probably work on a couple of goals at the same time if they are in completely independent domains.  For example you could work on a heroic health and fitness goal at the same time you are working on your heroic business goal.  However, I simply cannot stress enough that if you dilute your focus, you will not achieve what you want and when you want it.
  9. Use Vision Boards or Mind Movies – Keep a picture of your goal in front of you by creating a vision board or my new favorite – a mind movie.  Pictures, phrases, quotes, etc. scattered in a collage of images that include sound and movement create a powerful effect. Watch it multiple times a day.  If you have a vision board, hang versions of it up everywhere so you see it constantly and wherever you go.
  10. Keep a Positive Attitude About Your Goals – Rid yourself of all doubt and negativity.  Have a positive attitude and trust yourself to achieve your goal. People want to change their results but refuse to change themselves. Take full responsibility for your attitude and make it insanely positive
  11. Plot Your Course – Once you have your heroic goal in place then plot your course of action.  It is not a detailed plan at this point.  It is comprised of recognizable landmarks along the way.  You don’t aim at the ultimate when you take your first step.  You aim at an intermediate goal that will steer your towards your ultimate goal.
  12. Get Started on Achieving Your Goal Quickly – Don’t wait until you have your perfect plan in place before starting or you will never start.  Your course plot is enough.  Start today by taking some actions and develop your strategy and plan as you go along.  This way you can base your strategy and plan on the discoveries and experiences you have during your initial experience. Momentum is everything.  Get moving!
  13. Stay in the Moment During Execution – This is very powerful strategy for keeping you moving forward.  If you focus on worry, fears, and obstacles ahead, then you will get overwhelmed and you may quit.  If you focus on the struggles of the past, then you may get discouraged and you may quit.  Focus on the present moment where no barriers exist.  You are able to move forward with ease in the beautiful and obstacle free present moment.
  14. Measure and Adjust – If you don’t measure your progress then you won’t know your progress.  If you don’t know how you are progressing then you can’t make the necessary adjustments needed for success.  You don’t know everything when you start.  You obviously haven’t done it before or it wouldn’t be a goal now.  Give yourself a break and expect adjustments.
  15. Be Patient and Expect Challenges – Cultivate a patient attitude.  You did not get where you are overnight and you are not going to simply catapult to the top overnight either.  What commonly look like overnight successes,  are invariably the result of long an hard practice, struggle  and challenges that occurred before and outside of the view of others.
  16. Be Obsessively Persistent – Never quit and never give up.  If you fall down, then pick yourself up and continue on your road to success.  Winners do not quit – ever.  Period.
  17. Make Progress Every Day – Every day make sure you have at least one, but preferably three to six actions that you can complete that day that progress you towards your heroic goal.  It doesn’t matter how small.  Mind bending outcomes are often the result of a whole bunch of tiny steps.  If you just write it down and think about it, then you will just be thinking about it.  You must act now and act every day hereafter.

Don’t worry about what you think you can do at this point.  That is your current problem.  Your current thinking is limited by your current limiting construct.  Bust out of those limits and let your mind soar.  Heroic goals create a change in you that allow you to achieve them.  That change is what you are really after.  The goal is just the target which you aim at to achieve that growth.  Isn’t that a powerful idea?
Get Free Updates to The Rat Race Trap by Email here or to a reader in the top left sidebar.  I would love to have you aboard.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

{ 4 trackbacks }

How to Be Successful by Believing in Your Dream — The Rat Race Trap
March 29, 2009 at 7:46 am
Link Round-up - Weekend Get Away Edition | Do You Dave Ramsey?
April 12, 2009 at 6:00 am
Random Thoughts on Success — The Rat Race Trap
April 23, 2009 at 7:26 am
Blow the Lid Off Yourself by Thinking Big — The Rat Race Trap
May 23, 2009 at 3:55 pm

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Daily Jump Start Guy March 24, 2009 at 11:40 am

Another great post. Some time ago I was asked, “Have you ever not achieved a goal that you were totally committed to?” After thinking about it I realized he was right, and I would bet your readers have the same experience. Good stuff here, keep it up.



Stephen - Rat Race Trap March 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm

@DJSG, thanks for your comment and your support. It is appreciated.


Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills March 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm

This is EXCELLENT work Stephen,

It is obvious that you put some real heart & soul into this article and we can all benefit from your insight and personal experience. Your 17 points are so synergistic and well balanced. Great guidance for achieving truly heroic goals. Thank you!


Chris Anthony March 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm

Stephen, please allow me to echo the above comments – this is a great article with great advice. Thank you for writing it – I’m going to put at least some of these into place today.


Louis March 24, 2009 at 7:54 pm

I too lost 65 pounds in about 1 year and a half, and I know how such big goals can be important. However, as true as your 17 points are, I believe that one important thing is to enjoy the process itself.

As great as a goal can be, if you don’t enjoy the process leading to the goal you will surely fail. If I did not enjoy losing weight on a regular basis, I wouldn’t have continued until the end.

Having high objectives is important, but having fun while going there seems like a very important thing too to me! 🙂


Stephen - Rat Race Trap March 24, 2009 at 8:28 pm

@Louis, you of course are correct and I didn’t put that in the list of 17 but I tried to capture that at the beginning and end of the post with statements like this:

“Life is a process of growth. It is the experience of growth that yields serene fulfillment and happiness. Did you get that? It isn’t the destination but the journey.”

So yes, I absolutely agree. The destination is a means, the journey is your life. Enjoy it to the maximum.

@Chris and @Jonathan, thank you both so much for the support. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Comments like this make it all worthwhile!


Giovanna Garcia March 25, 2009 at 3:24 am

Great title to this post. This post reminded me of one of my favorite quote from Les Brown “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Personally #16 speaks to me the most 🙂
Thank you,
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action


Do You Dave Ramsey? March 25, 2009 at 9:42 am

Good work here Stephen, thanks for sharing.

Now you’ll have to share your diet tips! I need to borrow from your success!



Yes, But Still... March 25, 2009 at 1:44 pm

This was the most motivating post I’ve read anywhere all year. Thank you so much!


Stephen - Rat Race Trap March 25, 2009 at 5:10 pm

@Giovanna, somehow I knew you would like #16. 🙂 Goes right along with commitment.

@Do You Dave Ramsey and @Yes, But Still…, Thanks a whole bunch for the positive comments and support. I’m glad you liked it.


Robin Easton March 25, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Dear Stephen, I am so glad you found me on stumble. I love this site of yours and added you as friend. Feel free to send me posts. I love what I read in this post and found my head nodding and a huge smile on my face. “Ah ha! A kindred spirit” I love your insights here. Very very empowering. Bookmarked your site! 🙂


Stephen - Rat Race Trap March 26, 2009 at 7:08 am

@Robin, thank you so much for the kind words and for checking out my site. Comments like this are so motivating!


Buta February 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

This is a very interesting articke.I Like it


Commodities December 29, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share. Many thanks!|


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge