Setting goals is important for personal growth and success. However, it’s crucial that you set realistic goals – ones that you can actually achieve.
Why is this so important?
When your goals are unrealistic, you’ll become discouraged and give up when you don’t meet them.
This will only hurt your motivation in the long run. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of setting realistic goals and how to do it effectively!
I know big goals are sexy. We have a romantic idea of waking up one day and saying, “I’m going to write a novel!” or “I’m going to play in a band!” and then grueling away in our own personal training montage until we emerge victorious, enjoying the fruits of our labors (and all the praise and admiration we so rightfully deserve).
But as attractive as big goals can be setting realistic, smaller goals more frequently is highly underrated and deserves just as much excitement.
Why is it Important to Set Realistic Goals?
So, Why Is It Important to Set Realistic Goals? When you set goals that are realistic, you increase your chances of achieving them. Why? Because your goals will be based on what you can actually achieve, rather than what you hope to achieve. This is important because it helps keep you motivated.
It should be a no-brainer, but if you’ve never run a mile before then you’re probably going to struggle to place in that marathon. If your goal is to form a new habit, or add on to an existing one, baby steps are the realistic way to go.
Realistic Goals Establish the Habits You Need to Achieve Bigger Goals
Setting realistic goals is important because it helps you stay motivated.
When your goals are based on what you can actually achieve, you’re more likely to reach them. This is because you’re not putting unnecessary pressure on yourself and you’ll be less likely to become discouraged.
You can also establish the habits you need to achieve bigger goals by starting with realistic goals.
Let’s say your goal is to lift weights for a full hour every day. That might be someone’s baby step, but if you live a mostly sedentary lifestyle and aren’t used to exercising, I’ve got to tell you (with all the love) that you’re setting yourself up for failure.
You’ll do it on that first day – and wake up the next morning too sore to move.
An hour-long weightlifting workout is out of the question when you’re not sure you can make it up a set of stairs!
Now you’re on Day 2 of your epic goal and you’re already breaking your own terms. Not off to a great start, huh?
That’s not to say you can’t go from a couch potato lifestyle to gym goddess.
A good realistic goal would be to work out every day for at least 15-20 minutes. This will help you gradually build the habit of exercising until you’re able to achieve your original goal.
That might not seem like much, but you’re building the habit of making exercise part of your daily routine – and by re-evaluating that goal once a month, you can tailor upward to match your newly developed tolerance as you need to.
Winning Smaller, Realistic Goals Develops a Self-Image of Confidence
It’s true that most other people won’t ever know or care what you’re working on behind-the-scenes of your life, and no matter what that voice in your head says, no one is judging you on it. But YOU know, and repeated failures in goal setting can do a big number on your self-esteem.
Why not set yourself up to win? Why not give yourself the confidence that comes with seeing your own progress and hitting those targets you’ve set for yourself?
Achieving goals, small or large, is an incredible high. Why wouldn’t you want to experience that as often as possible?
However, multiple, consistent wins helps you form an image of yourself as a bona-fide goal-getter who can’t be stopped, and that confidence will follow you wherever you go.
Suddenly, big things will seem much more manageable, because you’ll know you’re more than capable of achieving what you put your mind to.
Establishing a pattern of winning, even at smaller, realistic goals, keeps you energized and motivated to tackle whatever comes next.
Setting realistic goals, like daily goals, keeps that “winning” mindset with you throughout your day. While most smaller, realistic goals maybe won’t change your life – they help to change your mindset which is an important step.
Ever wonder why the military trains recruits to make their bed first thing in the morning, immediately after they get out of it? It’s because when your first action of the day is to fulfill a task to completion, your brain starts off the day in productivity mode.
You’ve already set the standard for the day – that you see something that needs doing, and you do it.
What makes a good day a good day?
When everything goes right.
You nailed that deadline, you got a promotion, the flowers you ordered for your significant other are delivered on time and in perfect condition, traffic cooperates as you drive home from work. You feel great! Successful day!
You wake up on time, the morning isn’t rushed, you get to work with a couple minutes to spare. Your makeup, hair, or outfit looks good and you feel great about the breakfast you ate. For the rest of the day, everything just kind of seems to go better, doesn’t it?
We often call these days “good luck” or “fortunate” but really, what we’re experiencing is the result of our own actions.
You set yourself up for success by taking care of yourself, preparing for work, and having a positive attitude. Why not do the same thing for your goals?
You know by now it isn’t anything to do with the day itself – it’s the mindset you form when things are going well that keeps you in that zone. Which in turn makes things keep going well.
What if you could create that every day? If you start off each day with a series of realistic goals, and meet them, how much could your mindset improve?
It Keeps Your Goals Relevant
There’s nothing worse than losing your momentum halfway through a big goal because you’ve changed your mind about what you want or the goal is no longer relevant to your life. Starting over from what can seem like a failed goal can definitely be disheartening.
Setting realistic goals that you achieve in a shorter amount of time means that everything you’re working toward is something that you want – no time to get stale or second guess yourself!
Working towards long-term goals is necessary for a good life, don’t get me wrong. As humans, though, we change and evolve over time, and those long-term goals change right along with us.
It’s important to have a 10-year plan … but it’s just as important to reevaluate the goals you set 10 years ago if that’s not what you want now.
Make it a habit to set realistic goals that you can accomplish daily and weekly.
This will make sure that when you’re focusing on goal work, you know it’s relevant to your current life, and you know it’s aligned with your current values and ambitions.
Realistic Goals Establish a Pattern of Success
Did you know that when you achieve a goal, your brain releases dopamine?
This is the “feel good” neurotransmitter that makes comfort food so comforting, or cuddles with a loved one so relaxing. It’s what makes you giddy when you buy a pair of shoes you’ve been wanting.
It’s also low-key addictive; you seek out things that give you dopamine.
When you set and achieve goals, you’re essentially training your brain to get a hit of dopamine.
It starts to crave that good feeling, so it looks for more opportunities to achieve goals.
The better you get at setting and achieving goals, the more success you’ll experience in all areas of your life!
Setting realistic goals frequently and achieving them gives you regular doses of dopamine, and establishes a subconscious understanding that success feels good.
Once you’ve formed a pattern of success you’ll find yourself seeking it out, and all that drudgework that it takes to accomplish a goal?
It doesn’t feel so drudge-y anymore.
Break Your Bigger Goals Into Baby Steps
Setting a new goal is exciting, and that alone motivates you at first. But in order to keep going you’ll need to replace that motivation with something else – it doesn’t stick around forever.
Breaking large goals into small, easily-accomplished baby steps is the true secret of highly successful people.
They know that if they can just take the first step, and do it consistently, the rest will follow.
So how do you go about setting realistic goals?
Start by taking your big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) and breaking it down into small steps.
What if, instead of setting a goal to write a novel and then petering out somewhere between the outline and Chapter 8, you broke that into chunks?
When your goal is to outline a novel – well, that’s a lot easier than writing an entire novel. It’s just Step 1.
Your end goal is exactly the same, but one feels like a gargantuan task that you might never finish, while the other feels like something you could probably crank out in a week.
Same with Chapter 1. And then Chapter 2, and so on and so forth. Writing a novel is huge and possibly terrifying, but writing a single chapter? You might as well get to work on it right now!
Final thoughts on Setting Realistic Goals
Are you more motivated to set realistic goals now? I hope this post help you realize the importance of bypassing the large goals at first and breaking them down into smaller, more achievable steps that will keep you more motivated and set up for larger goals in the future. Don’t forget:
– It’s important to have a longterm goal, but it’s just as important to reevaluate your goals if they’re no longer what you want.
– Make sure your realistic goals establish a pattern of success that you can accomplish daily and weekly.
– Achieving goals releases dopamine, which is addictive and makes you feel good. The more success you have, the more you crave it.
– Breaking large goals into small, easily-accomplished baby steps is the key to setting realistic goals that you will actually achieve.
You got this!
Why is it Important to Set Realistic Goals?
Looking for some more ways to work on realistic goal setting? Check out these posts:
- The Exciting Benefits You Can Expect From Goal Setting
- How to Build Self Discipline (the lazy girl’s guide)
- Process Goals – What They Are, And Why They’re Crucial
- The Secrets of People Who Always Hit Their Goals
or our eBook/Audiobook on getting goal setting done in 10 easy steps:
Pin it on Pinterest: