"How to set realistic goals" is a guest post by Carola Romero. Carola is the author of Meraki Flow, a blog on self-improvement, growth, and self-development. In this post, she writes about why you should only set goals that are realistic and the questions to ask yourself before setting them. Make sure to visit her blog and check out other articles!
Why do we set goals
Setting goals is a way of guiding ourselves to what we really want in life. We tend to set finite goals like for example, you may say I want to have 10,000 dollars saved in my bank account by the end of the year or I want to lose 15 pounds. We set these types of goals because we only wish to see the end result, we picture ourselves there and that is what we wish to obtain. We set goals so that through the year or a limited amount of time we don’t forget what we want to achieve.
But do you know what we forget is, to do things to accomplish these goals. One thing it might be a manifestation and the other setting objectives, but we forget that for both we have to take action. If we set goals because we want them, we also have to think if they are actually achievable with the way we are leading our lifestyle right now. We need to learn to set realistic goals.
Why is it important to have realistic goals
Having realistic goals is really important because it allows your brain to picture something and actually see it as achievable. Not only thinking that you can achieve it because you believe that you can do anything but actually being capable of doing it logistically in the time you have set for yourself. It is important to set goals to be realistic because this way you avoid major disappointment when you don’t accomplish a difficult goal that wasn’t even possible to do with the way you are living your life.
These disappointments sometimes lead to a sense of incompetence that can bring you down further and affect your other goals. Apart from setting realistic goals, it is important to set systems on how to accomplish them because you need to have a path to follow that leads you to this goal. Wording and setting your goals in a manner that is viable for you can ultimately lead to awesome results.
Three questions to ask yourself before setting goals
1. What is the real reason I want this?
To set a proper goal we need to make sure that the motive with which you are going in to set the goal is the correct one. We don’t want to set a goal with an intention that is for someone else. For example, if we want to lose weight we need to really think about our reasons behind it because if it is less of a genuine reason we are less likely to accomplish it. In this example let's say that your significant other told you that you are fat and now you want to lose weight because you want their approval and because of your fear of abandonment. This is not a genuine intention and if you were to accomplish this goal it wouldn’t feel as good as you would expect it because you didn’t do it for yourself.
Also while you are in the path of accomplishing your goal for someone else, you are reinforcing your fear of abandonment and your want for approval from your partner which will eventually lead to a worse relationship. This example can be applied to any one of your goals and that is why you need to truly find your reason for setting a goal and if it is not a genuine reason then you should change it and every time you are working towards that goal remind yourself of why you are doing it.
2. Will this benefit me in the long run or affect me internally?
What I mean by this is that you are also not deceiving yourself with your intentions. Taking the previous example we can modify it to say that you are the one telling yourself that you look bad constantly. You may mask your intention by saying that you want to be healthy but in reality, you are doing it because you are not comfortable with your body. This is reinforcing the fact that you don’t like yourself. I didn’t mean for this post to turn into a self-love comment but we need to love ourselves unconditionally first.
3. Do I have the time, energy, and commitment to do this, with all my other goals?
We need to set the importance of our goals. Even if we wish to accomplish everything to better ourselves at once it is physically and mentally impossible. Believe me, I have tried it and it becomes mentally draining. Start with what is most important to you and when you have that handled continue with the rest. We have to remember that setting goals are not about fixing every single aspect of ourselves but to learn to live with what is not fixable. Also, make your goals not contradict each other, you can’t say that you want to eat out often and another one of your goals is to save a big amount of money. It is possible but you are making it harder for yourself.
Finally, I would like to remind you that the goals you accomplish and the ones you don’t accomplish do not determine your worth or your capability to do stuff. Setting realistic goals will make it easier to achieve them and will bring about better satisfaction when you do because you do it for yourself. Remember that if you really set yourself for something and you put in the effort you will achieve it.
All image credits pexels.com
This post was very helpful for me as I am going over some goals I have set and have accomplished as well as goals I am setting in hopes to achieve. I agree that there needs to be a plan in getting to the goal and I love the 3 tips to look at for when setting a goal.
Wonderful to hear that and Thanks for your feedback Jessica!
We should gauge time and energy commitment of goals to make them easily achievable for us.
Yes totally agree, gauging the time and energy needed is important to make the goals realistic. Thank you for the comments!
True, it's important to set realistic goals. the SMART acronym is a popular framework. To hold myself accountable, I journal daily.
That's a wonderful idea to journal and keep track of progress. Thank you for your feedback!
Nisha, this is such a wonderful new year post!
Only setting goals to achieve something is not enough. Goals should be close to reality not fictional.
Yes very well said Deeksha! We should be realistic when we set goals to avoid disappointments. Glad you enjoyed this post. Thank you for your feedback!
Beautiful read. Yes, we have ideas to achieve the goals but at the same time we need to be aware of reality !!
Right on point Suni, being aware of what is achievable and doable is very important so we don't feel frustrated when we don't achieve the goals we planned. Thank you so much!
Great article! It gives us enough confidence & motivation only when we find our goals are realistic & achievable, thanks for the wonderful reminder in this New Year.
Thank you for your feedback Megala! That's exactly right, only when we set realistic goals and achieve them we can find motivation. Glad to hear you liked this article.
Very well written, planning is just half bit , trying to accomplish them is equally important if not more
Accomplishing is the tough part so having something doable and achieving it however small will make us feel better about it! Thank you for your feedback and comments.
I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. While I think it's great to have those "pie in the sky" dreams, a goal should be attainable, and broken into smaller milestone goals.
Very well said Di ! smaller , realistic and achievable goals will motivate us to do even better and feel confident. Thank you so much!
I really appreciate these questions! I think they help differentiate a wish from a real goal.
Glad you enjoyed this post . Thank you for the comments!
Beautiful post. It is very important to set goals that are achievable and also break them down in a way it sets the road to success.
Glad you enjoyed this post Neetha! Truly breaking the goals into smaller and achievable ones is the recipe for success. Appreciate your comments.
Understanding that a goal isn't realistic is the first step to taking control of your life. By establishing realistic goals, you achieve many positive things for yourself. When your goals are set too high, you are asking for failure. When your career and job search goals are realistic, then you can win.
Thank you for your feedback Monidipa, very well said setting too high a goal and unable to achieve it may demotivate us. It is better to set something achievable and celebrate the small wins.
Great tips, especially the one about looking at everything that you're currently committed to as a whole. A goal may seem like a GREAT idea with the ability to positively impact your life, but, if you can't give the time and energy needed to succeed, you're setting yourself up for failure. Not to mention the fact that falling short can be a negative hit that takes you even further back than where you started to begin with... It's better to make smaller goals that will add up over time.
Yes totally agree with you Britt, we need to think through if we can achieve the goal before committing so we are not in for disappointments. Thanks for your wonderful feedback!
Well said. Many times the reason why goals aren't achieved is because they are unrealistic. If not that, then it's because of procrastination. I must say that this is a great read.
Thank you for your wonderful feedback Viano! Great point, Procrastination is another reason other than making unrealistic goals that make goals unachievable. So we need to give 100% to it as well.
I think Step #3 is probably the most important. Deciding on whether or not you have the time, energy, and commitment to do a certain goal is important. Dont get me wrong, I love it when a person dreams and has hopes. But if you really want to tackle that goal or item off your bucket list, then you need to evaluate your situation and make it a priority. If you can't commit to it, then why bother.
Good point Eric, I think that could be the reason most folks shy away from making any goals altogether. As you rightly say why bother when you cannot commit to it! Having a balance of small achievable goals along with making the right judgment of the availability of resources needed for achieving the goal is purely a decision to be made by an individual. Thanks for the wonderful feedback.
Great guest post, Nisha. This is a very important topic of conversation because so many people walk around feeling like failures because we didn't accomplish a certain goal. Yet the problem isn't us or the goal. It's the perspective on how long it should take to accomplish that goal or the WHY behind it, to begin with.
I love the example given of examining why we want to accomplish a certain goal. Honestly, the example of weight loss is a fantastic one. If we find that the real 'why' behind us wanting to lose weight is to gain acceptance or approval - the real question we need to be asking ourselves is WHY does this person hold so much of our power? Why does their opinion hold that much weight in our lives? Why do we seek approval from others when, in truth, we need to be approving of ourselves and learning to truly love ourselves for where we are right now. If we evaluate why we want our goals - sometimes it can reveal more about us than the goals themselves.
It's also true that when we try to accomplish too much with unrealistic expectations of ourselves, we end up drained, unhappy, discouraged, and in despair. That can be a hard hole to climb out of once we're stuck down there, right? Extending love and grace to ourselves can help us learn, grow, and accomplish the *right* goals at the right times in our lives.
Sending my love to you, dear Nisha. Thanks for the encouragement you provide in the way only you can! 💓
Thank you so much Holly for your valuable comments . I really love the comment you made "If we evaluate why we want our goals – sometimes it can reveal more about us than the goals themselves." Truly profound and so much depth to it . It makes it easier to achieve the goal as well , as we are not doing it because someone else want us to do it. Absolutely right about the unrealistic expectation of fulfilling the goals which can leave us drained out , so it is extremely important to think about when setting up the goals in the first place. Appreciate all your support and you take care as well .