How to not give up

When we get stuck in traffic, we are surrounded by people who are trying to go somewhere. They all have goals and a final destination.

When we decide there is too much traffic, we reroute and still get to our final destination.

Even if we are tired of traffic, we still keep looking for a way to get to our destination. We don’t turn around and give up.

And that’s exactly how ALL goals work – short-term, long-term, “impossible”… All of them.

We have a plan – we follow it.

Caveat: if there is not enough gas in a car from the very beginning, we’ll end up with problems or we won’t be on time.

If the blueprint for a house is faulty, we’ll end up with a faulty house.

So starting with a proper foundation (fix your mindset) or making sure your car is ready to go a distance (have a system/plan in place) is a correct way to set goals.

For effective goal setting, I recommend to remember and implement:

  1. Is the goal written down? When I start training for my next expedition, I draw my next mountain, the drawing becomes a sticker on my fridge until I summit it.
  2. Is the goal “impossible” enough?
  3. Is the goal concrete and measurable? Wrong: I want a vacation. Correct: I want to go shark diving to Mexico in July.
  4. Is the goal positive? Wrong: I want to lose 20 lbs. Correct: I want to weigh 115 lbs.
  5. Is it YOUR goal? Do you feel alive when you think about this goal? Is it feeding your soul? If not, you will most likely lose motivation and you will end up in a burnout.
  6. Do you believe you can reach your goal? On a scale from 1 to 10, if your score is not 10, what’s the reason it’s not 10? How do you fix the reason and make it a 10?
  7. Does your goal have deadlines?
  8. Is it important for you to reach this goal? What will change in your life once you reach this goal?

Details matter. You have to be very specific answering your questions and visualizing your goals as if they are already achieved. Our brains react poorly to generalization. F ex I am tired, I need a vacation. Where? When? What country? Our subconscious does not understand “I want to make more money”, “I want a new job”, “I want to get married”. That’s why many times after the initial flash of energy we get when a fresh idea pops into our head, it doesn’t grow into something in reality. Because the idea is not detailed enough. Generalizations don’t work.

What do we do?

The solution is relatively easy.

Our desires and goals are always determined by our values. If you are aware of your values, it will be very easy for you to set concrete goals using two techniques of goal setting and build a plan to achieve those goals.

For example, you are moving into a new house. You want a gym because you value your physical health, a dog park because you love to spend time in solitude walking your dog, a good school district because you want the best for your kids. The choice of a new piece of real estate will be based on your goals and motivations.

That’s exactly the way to set goals.

There are two general approaches when working with your brain:

  1. When the goal is clear and you just need more motivation:

Take your goal and start adding features to it. It is the same process you were going through choosing a new house. Enjoy the process. The more features and details you add, the more excited you will get about reaching that goal.

  1. When your goal is unclear or you don’t believe you can reach it:

Start from the end vision and then add features to it. When you are done, you will clearly see the way forward. For those of you into meditation, Future Self meditation works spectacularly.

Give importance to what you are doing. It’s your life. It’s important.

Don’t use logic. Listen to your heart. If your thoughts make you feel excited and elevated – this is it.

There is that thought in your head that’s telling you you’ll never achieve that goal, it’s too hard, too unreal. Do not listen! Keep writing your list as if these things are happening. The list will create clarity. Clarity will give you the strength to act.

When you act towards your goal, you start seeing opportunities. Intention is everything.

When you have purpose, intention AND the goal that fits your values, you become unstoppable.

Keep climbing.


Every first Saturday of the month at 9 am PT/noon ET I hold a 1.5 hrs ‘Reach Any Summit’ Masterclass – Building and Monetizing Your Mindset. Every month there is a new topic that we cover from 4 main categories: Purpose/Mindset/Personal Brand; Goal-setting and productivity hacks; Risk taking and dealing with fear; Monetizing your mindset. You can join for just one session and see if this is for you. Email me to find out the next month’s topic.

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About the author: 

Olga Koroleva is a founder and CEO of Capital Brain, a company that builds AI-powered products. She is also a high-altitude mountaineer who likes to climb mountains with double-digit death rates, University lecturer, and a public speaker on leadership and risk taking. Sign up to her self-leadership newsletter at