The Art of Setting Big Goals

How to Turn Your Dreams into Action Plans

[read time: 4 mins]

Howdy Nomads,

Setting big goals can feel like a shot in the dark.

Many of us set resolutions or lofty ambitions, just to find ourselves anchored to the same spot, year after year.

The problem isn't a lack of effort or lack of passion; it's a lack of direction.

The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.

— Benjamin E. Mays

By the end of this newsletter, you won't just have goals—you'll have a roadmap to your dream life.

This is the 4-step exercise I use to turn my DREAMS into ACTION PLANS:

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A Brief Reminder To Be Unrealistic

When setting truly large goals, for the love of God… aim high.

You will not amount to more than what to set out to become.

So for the sake of your future self, be honest and be bold with the goals that you want to achieve.

You only get one life and you are going to die at some point. This can be a scary thought, but it’s a thought that can motivate you to design a life that honors this weird, incredibly rare, gift of existence.

This is not the time to succumb to societal expectations.

What do you want to experience? What do you want to be remembered for

Be selfish and aim high.

Okay—enough motivation. Get out a pen and paper. Let’s get down to business.

What do you want to DO?

What experiences do you want to have in your lifetime?

Be honest with yourself because life is finite and so is the list of peak experiences that you can have.

Exercise 1:

Write 3–5 things that you want to DO in your lifetime.

  • Examples: Travel the world, start a business, learn filmmaking, perform original music to a crowd of people (I know these examples are a bit vague, but try to be as specific as possible for the best results)

Think big and be selfish. If you were 90 years old and on your deathbed, what would you regret not having experienced?

What do you want to BE?

Next, channel your inner child when being asked:

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Exercise 2:

Write 3–5 things that you want to BE in your lifetime.

  • Examples: Musician, pro snowboarder, CEO, researcher, parent

The goals around what you want to DO are vital, but they are only part of the equation. Understanding what you want to BE taps into your character, your values, and your soul's deepest desires.

It's not just about doing something; it’s about embodying it. A musician doesn't merely play music; they live, breathe, and exist in a world defined by melodies and harmonies.

What do you want to be known for? To others AND to yourself?

What do you want to HAVE?

While I do try to practice minimalism, it’s essential to know what possessions (material or not) you want to have.

Exercise 3:

Write 3–5 things about what you want to HAVE.

  • Examples: Financial independence, successful personal brand, 1 million newsletter subscribers, supportive group of friends, children, Nobel Prize, etc.

From tangible items like sports cars to abstract things like personal freedom and financial independence (which I recommend more than sports cars), knowing what you want to have will give you insights into what you should do.

No Glory Without Sacrifice

Achieving big goals takes sacrifice.

Part of the beauty of life is the fact that we can’t do everything.

As you've listed what you want to DO, BE, and HAVE, you might feel a sense of boundless possibility. But remember, we're bound by a finite amount of time and energy.

This is the most critical (and probably the most difficult) part of this entire process. It’s time to prune the “Tree of Life”.

Exercise 4:

From your list, circle ONLY the top 3 most important items.

These are your non-negotiables, the goals that you're willing to devote your time, energy, and resources toward achieving. Everything else: Distraction.

  • BONUS: From this list of your 3 most important goals/dreams, write the first 5 actions you can take to get closer to making it a reality.

While the act of choosing can be challenging, it’s also liberating. You now have a focused, actionable list to propel you toward your dreams. I hope this exercise will provide a starting point for creating the life you want.

🌟 Enjoying THE JAILBREAK? 🌟

Support us by subscribing to our sponsor: Tricycle Day 🍄🌀🌈 

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Tricycle DayJoin 46,000+ subscribers getting smarter about psychedelics in under 10 minutes a week. Research 🔬, policy 🏛️, and business 📈, with a side of spicy memes. 🫠

(P.S. I only recommend newsletters that I personally read!)

Til next time, Nomads. ✌️

- Jack Ross

Jack Ross (Data Engineer, Writer, Nomad)

If you're interested in seeing more, follow me on Twitter for regular updates, and subscribe to my YouTube channel for travel vlogs, tips, and insights on unlocking freedom in the digital age.

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