You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

This Is Why You Should Start Setting 'Unrealistic' Goals Stop worrying about what other people think and start setting massive goals to get where you want to go.

By Nick Gilmour

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Remember that poster that hung up in our classrooms as kids? It said something like, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll end up among the stars." We were surrounded by motivational quotes telling us to dream big and achieve big, but somehow, as we got older, we lost that mentality along the way.

Now, we worry more about what other people will think about our big goals. We hear people close to us saying we'll never reach the moon, and we start to believe it. We're told our dreams and goals are "unrealistic," so we make do with something smaller, something less worthy of our ambition.

Worrying about what other people think holds us back and prevents us from focusing on what we have to do. But when we start to focus on ourselves, we begin to understand that their thoughts don't matter and that we can excel in what we want to do.

I have very unrealistic goals for myself and my business, and it's a good thing — it keeps me motivated and striving to do better all the time. And that's also a major win for my customers: They're always going to get the best possible version of me.

Related: These 6 Small Steps Will Help You Achieve Your Biggest Goals

If you're going to reach the big goals, don't forget your roadmap

I'm not saying that you should be dreaming up these big goals without some kind of roadmap to get you there, but yes, I'm telling you to dream big. Yes, I'm telling you to have these so-called "unrealistic" goals and make them realistic for yourself by working harder than everyone else and dedicating your free time to achieving real success.

Never give up on your dreams — no matter how stupid they may seem. Just know that the bigger the dream, the more hard work required to realize it. The two are directly proportional. As long as you keep that in mind, you'll always get where you want to go. Trust me, you'll start getting addicted to the hard work because it gets you results.

Take the big risks to see the big rewards

When I wanted to open my store, everyone said "Oh, you already have a job, and it's a big risk." They also worried that I'd lose a lot of money (not that I had any). But I understood the risk and reward involved and was willing to go all-in. I sacrificed my personal life, but it worked out. My top goal is to earn more than the richest people I know combined — times a hundred.

Your goals could be bigger or smaller, but don't let anyone tell you that you can't get there. And if they continue to mock you or tell you to "Just give up already and be happy with what you have," then, honestly, don't spend time with them anymore. I'm not telling you that you can't be happy right now where you are. In fact, it's the opposite. We shouldn't waste the time we spend working towards our goals and not enjoying the journey. Just remember that there's another destination waiting for you — so don't get too comfortable. This isn't it for you if you don't want it to be.

Related: 10 Tips to Stay Focused on Your Financial Goals

What if I have big goals but feel no motivation?

A lot of us are super ambitious. We want that house on the water, the business that gives us financial freedom, to travel the world or finish that novel. We have the ambition in us because we want the best and to be the best, but when it comes down to it, we just aren't motivated. Something else distracts us, or we let other tasks bog us down and keep us from focusing. Then, by the time we have the time to get motivated, we're too tired. Suddenly, a decade has passed, and we're still in the same spot.

You need to understand the difference between motivation and ambition. You could have all the ambition in the world, but if you're not motivated to follow it through, nothing is going to happen.

Stop thinking about your personal or business goals as something you'll get to after everything else is done. Instead, make it your top priority and get to the rest later. If you don't end up cleaning the living room because you were too busy hashing out a strategy, don't worry about it. If the dishes sit in the sink until tomorrow, who cares?

Think about where you want to be in the next decade and what you need to do to get there. Set tiny goals if you need to and reward yourself when you hit those milestones, read the books that you know are going to push you to succeed, carry a notebook of positivity or go out and find that motivational poster.

Whatever you do, don't prove those people right because you didn't feel like sitting down to work tonight. Prove to yourself that you're worthy of the moon — and don't stop until you set foot on hard rock.

Related: How to Set Goals That Will Turn an Average Team Into All-Stars

Nick Gilmour

CEO of Gilmour Group

Nick Gilmour is a serial entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience with business startups in the retail, real-estate and manufacturing industries. He has an accelerated-growth mentality with a "grassroots" business approach.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Personal Finance

How to Get a Lifetime of Investing Experience in Only One Year

Plus, how day traders can learn a lesson from pilots.


94% of Customers Say a Bad Review Made Them Avoid Buying From a Brand. Try These 4 Techniques to Protect Your Brand Reputation.

Maintaining a good reputation is key for any business today. With so many people's lives and shopping happening online, what is said about a company on the internet can greatly influence its success.


Save on Business Travel with Matt's Flight's Premium, Only $80 for Life

This premium plan features customized flight deal alerts and one-on-one planning with Matt himself.

Science & Technology

Here's One Reason Urban Transportation Won't Look the Same in a Decade

Micro-EVs may very well be the future of city driving. Here's why, and how investors can get ahead of it.


I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.