How Setting Realistic Goals Can Actually Help You Achieve Them



My best friend always looms over my shoulder saying, “You either do or you don’t. There’s no try. Try gives you that little escape road, that you did it but didn’t succeed. Burn that road down.”

That is what unrealistic goals do to you, as I have learned recently. Setting goals important, being ambitious is important as well, but getting over ambitious is where the problem lies for many people.

When a lot of people begin writing their goals down, one of the common mistakes they make is writing a plethora of vague stuff down. Now, immeasurable goals help no one. I could say that my goal is to lose enough weight. How much is enough? When do I stop? When there’s no measurable parameter, it is difficult to mark that goal as achieved and marking goals as completed is what drives you to get to your next goal.

Imagine having hundreds of immeasurable goals written down, all it is going to do is stress you out. Now, consider me saying that I want to lose 10 kgs, we have a measure here and I know when to stop. After losing 10 kgs, I can check it off my list. Do you sense the satisfaction here?

Realistic goals are closely related to this. There’s no point in making a mile long list when you won’t be achieving even one of them, right? This mostly happens with daily goals, short term goals, to-do lists.

For example, I used to write a ton of things that I needed to do to achieve a bigger goal that day. When you look at your bigger goal as a whole, it is going to overwhelm you. ou try to do a lot at once, but most of the times, it doesn’t work out; hence you get discouraged.

Let’s say you are an author and you aim to finish writing a book in one month, which is your deadline. Now, your goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

In one scenario, without considering your schedule and appointments for the 30 days, treating all days as equal, you decide to write 5,000 words a day to stay ahead, so that even if you fail a few days, you will still be on schedule. Do you understand the amount of stress this can put on your mind?

There are going to be last minute things to attend to, it is life, after all. There are going to be good days and bad days. On the days you are unable to meet the deadline, and that is going to be a lot of days, you will keep losing your motivation bit by bit and the backlog that you created on your own, will weigh your resolve down. In the end, you will not manage to finish it or even if you do, it will be at the cost of your mental peace.

In another scenario, you divide the work. Now, you need to write 1,667 words per day to achieve your goal. This seems achievable and puts your mind at rest. Even on busy days, you can write a small amount and on the days you are feeling more productive, you can write double the amount because you have already achieved that day’s goal. This actually puts you ahead of your schedule, and even if you miss a day or two, you can easily catch up the next day because it won’t be an insane amount of piled up work.

How do you know that the goals you are setting for yourself are realistic? Do this exercise: write down your main goal and the timeframe you would like to achieve it in, divide it into workable chunks, now target each chunk and decide what you need to do every day to achieve it.

When you have this down, a weight lifts off your mind. All you have to focus on now is how to achieve the daily goals. From my hits and misses of goals setting in real life, I have found out that setting just 3 goals for the day helps.

If it is a busy day, jot down more manageable goals. Even in the three that you decide, don’t have all the heavy tasks at once. Once you complete the 3 goals of the day you can always add more. That gives you a sense of being on track because when you write down 10 and achieve only 5, it feels like a failure, but when you write 3 and achieve 5, it feels like a success.

In the end, it’s about achieving your goals in reality than on paper so making realistic goals makes far more sense, doesn’t it?


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