Many of us dream of doing something huge, maybe bigger than we really believed was possible. If you’ve had such a dream, let’s talk, because being retired may be the perfect time to set and achieve the most unanticipated goals imaginable.

Maybe you’re wondering -- why set a truly ambitious goal at this stage of life? Because you can, you now have the time and necessary resources to accomplish additional interests.

One clear way to change your life is by accomplishing something big, something of significance to you. For example, one person’s significant achievement might be earning a diploma or certification, while another’s might be overcoming a lifelong fear.

This isn’t about what the world thinks of your goal, but how you view it. In reality, your life is the one that will be immediately affected.

I became enamored with goal setting decades ago after meeting a man who made them his life’s work, Paul J. Meyer. His first notable accomplishment was the founding of Success Motivation International, Inc. in Waco, Texas. During one of his seminars I sat with him at lunch and casually chatted about goal setting. He said personal goals are intended to be transformative, forcing growth, positive change, and actual transformation. By setting and achieving ambitious goals, we often stumble upon our hidden capacities, realize our true potential, and take a giant step toward living the life of our dreams; a life we never believed was possible or attainable.

During his brief local residency we talked at length several times about goal setting. Here are some basic steps he shared that may prove helpful to you in setting and achieving your goals.

Step 1: Decide what you want.

Ignore what anyone says or feels about your goal; it’s yours, not theirs.

Step 2: What do you care about? Caring enough about something to want it to happen improves the chance that it will. You’ll know if you try.

Step 3: What are you willing to sacrifice in order to make it happen? Nothing worth much comes without sacrifices; prepare for some life changes.

Step 4: How do you want to change? Is there a “you” waiting to emerge? If so, how can you change to free your inner self?

Step 5: What do you want to do? This may seem like the obvious first question asked, but upon reflection the reason we’re getting to it now becomes clear. Truly huge, ambitious goals demand a lot of energy and unyielding passion.

Step 6: A final glimpse before you leap.

Understand what your life may become after achieving your goal; be specific. Are you certain you’ve chosen a goal that you want to achieve and a potential life that you’ll feel comfortable growing into? Have you researched your goal to determine how much it will cost in dollars and time to gain a clear and lucid mental picture of what you’re getting into? Are you ready to commit?

Step 7: The Plan.

Huge goals require explicit plans. Leave nothing to chance, write it down; this formulates your plan. Nevertheless, your plan will be fluid; life presents unanticipated changes. Adapt to them or abandon your goal.

Step 8: Staying focused for the long haul.

Having chosen your goal and developed a plan, ask yourself, “Now what?”

At this point many people drop out for a variety of reasons; usually because they weren’t mentally prepared for the grueling, unpredictable journey ahead. Getting from where you are to where you want to go isn’t a stroll down a clearly marked pathway even with a detailed plan. Life is, by the nature of it, unpredictable. Your success depends upon adapting whenever necessary, and then resuming executing your revised plan.

Step 9: Self-doubt.

Everyone is confronted with insecurity occasionally, especially when seemingly insurmountable obstacles appear before us and our goals. We must remind ourselves that we have the capacity and desire to succeed and a plan that will lead us to our goal one step or accomplishment at a time. Keep the prize in view, but don’t trip over something right in front of you — take one step at a time.

Your goal is set and you want it. Get started on your journey today and don’t let anything or anyone deter you from achieving it. You can do this!

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