Ready, Fire, Aim – How to Execute a Goal in Life

This idea for executing a goal was first inspired by the movie “Little Big Man” with Dustin Hoffman. In the movie, the girl playing Hoffman’s sister is teaching him how to be a gunslinger with some lessons on how to shoot. This is where the story gets good. Hoffman’s sister tells Dustin that he has to shoot the target “before” he draws his gun. As you will see, this is just one important part of the “fire”.

This formula for goal execution is about you taking more decisive actions…quickly, so you can successfully achieve your goal faster.

Here’s where the inspiration idea took me.

You are “ready” when you are clear on what goal you want to achieve.

You “fire” when you decide to take action. To do it. Get going. Even if you may not know where to begin, you just start doing it. In your mind you have already done it. Executed your goal.

You “aim” to make yourself accountable for each and every action you take.

Here are some examples of the “fire” “aim” sequence.

The first one comes from another movie I saw when I was a child. Unfortunately I don’t remember the title. In the movie the town’s people didn’t know when to start the big clock in the town’s square. They knew they needed the clock to tell them the time of day. But they were spending all kinds of energy, time, and thinking on deciding when to start the clock. Finally some one came up with the right idea: “Why not start now.” So simple. So easy. And that is what the town’s people did. They started the clock from now. And it is from now they can move on with telling time.

The key point here is take decisive action. Fumbling around with details, in some situations, may be all right. But If you are ever going to move forward, you’ve got to decide to do it now and…do it now.

Here’s another example, one from my own personal experience.

I was working as Captain/Consultant for a well known non-profit organization. We were building a catamaran in the Marshall Islands. I won’t go into the details, what’s important is one day the boat builder told me to align the engine in the engine room. This is a very important task. If an engine is not aligned correctly on a ship, you’re going to have a host of problems. I told the boat builder that I’ve never done anything like that before. What he said changed my way of thinking forever. “Just do it the best that you can, and it will be the best that it will be.” After the catamaran was built and launched, we never had any engine problems.

The key point to this is already having in your mind accomplished the goal just before taking any action. In my case, the engine was already aligned in it’s place before I even started to align it. I just had to mold my physical efforts to match the image I had in my mind. I would use “aim” to re-align my efforts to help me get closer to my goal.

I hope you see in both examples the goal was executed with “fire” than “aim”.

It’s important to always “aim” after “firing”. You are always checking yourself on how well you are moving towards your goal. Looking at the action you have taken will decide on what you will need to do next. If you are on the mark, then fire again and aim again. Constantly keeping your actions aligned for reaching your goal.

If you are off the mark, or not even in the ball park, this is where your ready has to be flexible. You may find that you have to change your goal or completely scrap it and start over again from scratch, so be it. You would never have gotten to this point fumbling around trying to get the “right” aim.

To sum it up.

Ready means:

1. Having a clear goal in your mind with a strong desire to achieve that goal.

2. If at any time the “aim” is off the mark, you have to be flexible to make the right changes (get a clear picture again in your mind) of what you want to achieve.


1. In your mind, you have already successfully achieved the goal and you play this over and over with every action you take.

2. You take action. You take the best action you can take and believe that it’s the best action being taken.


1. How did your first action result turn out? On course? Great! Fire away. Off course, go back to Ready and make your goal clear again in the light of what you have just experienced. Then Fire again.

If you really want to make “Ready Fire Aim” a part of your way of thinking, for fun, start applying this formula to everything you do from brushing your teeth to making your morning coffee. Practicing to make it a habit will give you a strong foundation to become better at executing the bigger and more important goals in your life.

Post time: 01-24-2017