Setting realistic goals: When most people think about goals, they think about vision boards and long-term objectives. It’s not a bad idea to have those things, but you also want to be realistic and set goals which are measurable. And often times, this means breaking it down into smaller goals and shorter timelines.
Focus on how you can connect with goals that are meaningful to you
The best way to set goals is to focus on the process of reaching them, not just the end result.
Most people set goals like this: “I want to lose weight.” But that’s a goal that may only ever be partially achieved. You’ll lose some weight, but it may not be all you want it to be. And once you’re at your desired weight, what will you do then?
Instead, it’s better to focus on how you can connect with your goal. For example, here are two different ways of thinking about losing weight:
“I want to feel more energetic and healthy.” This is a goal that can be achieved by eating well and exercising regularly — no matter what size or shape you are. It’s something that will sustain itself over time because it’s not dependent on a certain number on the scale or an outfit fitting better in the closet (which are both external factors).
In order to go about setting realistic goals that matter and are achievable, it’s important to focus on what you can realistically achieve in the next three to six months. Here are some examples:
- Ask for a raise at work
- Improve your health by exercising more and eating better
- Travel somewhere new with your friends and family
End with a plan for how you’ll get from where you are now to where you want to be
The process of goal-setting looks easy, but it’s not always easy to know how to develop a plan for setting realistic goals and achieving them. Here are some tips for developing your plan:
- Break down each step into smaller tasks. For example, if one of your goals is to run a marathon by the end of 2022, what steps do you need to take? You might break this down into weekly training sessions and then monthly long runs so that there are milestones along the way.
- Figure out how much time you need for each task on the path toward achieving your goal. If it takes two hours per week (and let’s say we’re talking about studying) then twelve weeks before test day equals twenty-four hours total—that’s enough time!
It may seem like a lot at first glance but once you’ve broken down everything else into smaller chunks and scheduled them out throughout the year (or even just over three months), suddenly committing twenty-four hours isn’t so daunting anymore! In fact it may actually be easier than breaking open a new book now would feel like because those twenty four hours are already accounted for in advance thanks to our earlier planning efforts.
Remember your goals and find ways to achieve them
Now that you know how to set goals, let’s take a look at some of the many ways that goal setting can help you achieve your dreams.
- It helps us to remember our goals and find ways to achieve them.
- It helps us visualize our goals.
- It helps us set priorities for achieving each goal.
- It measures our progress toward achieving each goal using tangible measurements like numbers or percentages instead of just feelings alone!
Look at your situation honestly, not naively or selectively
Every year I set goals for myself. I am pretty good at it too, but what I learned is that if you don’t set the right goals, or if you set a goal that’s not in line with your values and the things that mean most to you in life, then there is no real motivation to do anything about them.
I tend to make lists of things I would like to achieve during the year and then break them down into smaller steps so they are more manageable. And then when I look at these steps, they should all be aligned with my values and what matters most to me.
For example, if one of my main values is family time and spending quality time together as a family unit, then any goal that supports this would be considered a higher priority than something else (like booking flights for holidays).
The same goes for other areas of life such as health or finances – if there’s something on your list that doesn’t support your health or financial goals then it’s probably not worth doing anyway!
Setting realistic goals allows you to consider the realities of your life while still dreaming big
For example, going back to running a marathon, it’s realistic to also set goals around training and diet. You may decide to run five miles every day for three months, or eat healthier foods at every meal.
You can also be realistic about the amount of time it will take for your goal to be realized. If you plan on running a marathon in three months, it’s more realistic to set intermediate goals along the way—for example, running two miles per day for one week—and then celebrate even small successes along the way!
Setting realistic goals allows you to see how far away your dream feels when compared with where you are now and how much work needs to be done before it becomes reality.
Setting realistic goals for yourself
At the end of the day, regardless of whether your goal is big or small, it’s important to remain realistic in your expectations and to ensure that you are meeting that goal. Reaching your ultimate goal can be a tough challenge, which is why you should always set smaller goals along the way. Smaller goals may not always seem as impressive as some larger goals, but they help you with achieving the big-picture vision.