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Setting Ambitious Goals: How They Can Propel You to Success or Doom You to Failure

Do you want to double your profits or quadruple your sales? I have news for you: most business owners wont because they don’t think they can; or worse–they just don’t try hard enough.

You can aim high when setting objectives, but it takes a lot more than setting ambitious goals to actually see any real achievement.

It is this fact that can lead to a lot of failures or inadequate results and is why it is important that anyone attempting to aim high ensure they are not practicing this technique halfheartedly.

There are 2 elements to the Aiming High technique that I have previously written about:

  • Setting high goals
  • Motivation

Lets talk about each one and how not practicing each element properly can lead to failure.

Setting high goals

If you want to experience true success, you can’t limit yourself by lowering your expectations on what you think you can achieve.

It is very important that you shoot as high as you can, and believe that you can get there as long as you try.

How aiming high can fail when setting goals

Aiming high can fail when setting goals in a number of ways. Firstly, setting goals that don’t aim high enough will limit your success and erect mental barriers that will prevent you from shooting even further. This will give you inadequate results and prevent you from attaining profit or growth that you were otherwise capable of achieving.

Take a look at your goals and ask yourself if you can push them even further. If aiming even higher seems unreasonable or unattainable, chances are you have at least a decently ambitious goal.

Another trouble spot can be setting goals that are unattainable, or too high-reaching. Make sure you aren’t pushing yourself too hard where you will burn out quickly.

Finding the right balance can be difficult which is why setting some type of margin of error will help. Allow yourself some leeway from any deviations from your goal so you are still satisfied with the result. Not setting a margin of error can lead to disappointment since you are allowing yourself a much smaller chance at success. Just make sure you don’t set a margin that is too wide or too narrow.


If you aren’t motivated to make these ambitious goals happen, then these goals are useless. Not only do you need to set these goals, you need to want to accomplish them. Then you must be willing to commit as much time and hard work as possible to achieve them.

The small steps that get you closer to your final, high aiming goal are most likely not what motivates you. They may be slight motivators, tiny reinforcers and give you some feeling of achievement, but what generally really motivates you is your desire for the end result. Your commitment to that end result is what drives you. If you want something bad enough, you are going to work hard to make it happen.

How lack of motivation can cause aiming high to fail

Aiming high requires A LOT of motivation, so make sure you are setting ambitious goals for something that you are actually committed to accomplishing. If the desire and motivation isn’t there, you wont meet or exceed your goal. Having the drive and motivation is key to practicing aiming high successfully.

The trick is to find something that you really want as the end result. If your goal doesn’t directly tie with something you really want, try to pair your goal with some other award that you desire. That way, the goal is the outcome that you crave.

For example, profits, which will often be an end goal, aren’t that enjoyable in and of themselves. Its the status the income awards you, or what you can buy with the money that is exciting. Attaining a net income level of $1 million feels a lot more fulfilling than generating profits of $995,000. Why? The million dollar milestone suggests the status of being a millionaire. It isn’t the extra $5000 that generates the motivation and excitement, it is the status it grants you. Thus, tying an end goal of profits to a particular status goal or a gift will help in motivating you to work for these profits.

Update 10/17 – After learning more about Jack Welch’s philosophy of Stretch Goals, I decided it is best to modify my definition of Aiming High to the following: aiming high consists of two parts: a) setting high-aiming, Stretch Goals for yourself or your business, and b) having enough motivation or finding the motivation to accomplish them. Also, utilizing a Small Wins strategy can often help to accomplish these ambitious goals.

Has anyone incorporated aiming high into their own life and found it to be successful? Any thoughts or concerns about incorporating this technique into running your business?

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