Setting Realistic Goals: Everything about it

You want to set a goal and you studied the internet. You probably came across SMART goals and learned about Setting Realistic Goals. But, you are unsure about realistic goals and have any queries. Right? Great! In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about setting realistic goals.

What Does Realistic Mean in Smart Goals? When we acknowledge our potential, recognize the resources available, and make it time-bound then we can term a goal as real. Believing that you can achieve something with some facts makes it real and likely to accomplish.

Now that you have an idea of realistic goal setting, it is time to dig deeper into it. Most of us set goals but do not pay attention to the importance of Realistic Goal Setting. If you set a high target yourself, it’s okay if it seems impossible at first, but if you can set yourself small realistic goals that can help you achieve that high target. You can and will achieve it. For that to happen you must consider learning more about realistic goals.

Importance of Setting Realistic Goals – 

  • To make sure you are on the right path – 

What does going on the right path mean? Most of us when we don’t achieve our goals have different reasoning but every failed goal-setting journey can be traced back to this step. At some point in your journey towards greatness, you took certain decisions that diverted you from the right path. 

This diverts of decision happens when we take the obvious path, whereas, we should be taking the right path. Understand the difference between the Obvious Path and the Right Path. An obvious path is something that we feel should be taken at the given moment. Whereas, the right path would be to analyze and understand the given situation, look at our potential and our past then make a decision.

Here is a great example on Crosstalk, on this page if you read Charles Yokoyama’s section you would understand why he chose to pursue a career at the bench.

Bottom line is, to understand every time we make a decision we must ensure that this would lead us towards our goals or not away from them.

  • To Avoid Procrastination – 

To achieve your targets you must set goals and achieve those goals you must take action. However, if you have a habit to procrastinate you would be not taking action and hence no actions mean no results. 

If you don’t set goals based on facts, you would be taking lousy actions which would lead to lousy results. Therefore, one of the important factors of realistic goal setting is that it requires detailed actionable steps that we can take to achieve our target. This would avoid your procrastination. 

Some people might procrastinate even after setting realistic goals. Why? Because they lack actions. Goals won’t work until you do. Hence, during such scenarios, we can refer to this study done by Carleton University which says that self-awareness and self-forgiveness can reduce future procrastination. 

  • To Keep your Focus in the Right Direction –

While you might be wondering that focusing on the right path would keep your focus in the right direction so what is the need to highlight this specifically? There is, trust me. While they are not different, focus and path are co-dependent. Because where focus goes, energy flows. Realistic goals set your focus on the gains of your actions rather than the actions themselves.

The thing that you would be focusing on is the way you react. Change in focus not only happens internally but also happens due to some external factors. Internal focus includes thoughts and emotions. External factors include other people or the environment.

If you set the goals that were vague with no factual backing. You would struggle to keep the focus and hence struggle for your desires.

Factors that Determine the Reality of your Goals

You’re halfway through setting the realistic goals, However, understanding what makes a goal is the next logical step to set realistic goals. So let’s explore the list of factors that determine the reality of a goal. 

  • Can it be measured

The ultimate idea of a Realistic goal is to get a result. Whether your goals are long-term or short-term it should be measured in numbers. Each goal can be measured differently, whatever your criteria for measuring a goal is, it should be tangible and effectively track your progress. So ask this question to yourself, How will I know if I reached my goal or not? 

Signs that your goals are measurable – 

  • You know where you’re going: When you set a goal that is real you know what actions would lead you to what results. Hence you know your destination.
  • You have clarity – When you know your destination you will have clarity. But if you don’t know your destination you would not have clarity.
  • You get small signs – When you set your target high, you would be setting yourself short goals that would lead you towards the ultimate destination. When those short goals are achieved you would get a surety that long-term goal can be achieved as well
  • Past Experience and your Current Potential

Another factor that determines realistic goals is your experience and your potential. Both should happen in unity. What does it mean? Different goals would have different characteristics and different sets of actions that need to be taken. 

However, when you sit to determine the reality of your goal, first, you would write down your plan of action which would give you a hint whether or not the goal is real. When you write down your action plan you would come across some actions that were pursued in the past which got you great results. 

A great example of this would be – If your goal is to plan a product launch for your company and you want to determine the realistic nature of your idea. You might simply recall your college days when you planned an event with a similar idea and similar decisions that got you good results. 

Because most goal-directed actions of decision-makers have some precedent, the past plays an important role in goal-directed behavior – Source: Research Gate

  • Can you Take Actionable Steps?

Another criteria to determine the realistic nature of your goals is to check whether or not you can take feasible actions. Your goal-setting journey is empty if you cannot take action towards it. 

I talk a lot about action plans but what is it? An action plan is the nitty-gritty detail about your goals which includes your outline of goals, objectives, and in some cases data and statistics. 

If you have a goal that includes vague or incomplete actions you will struggle hard. So, how do you define if your action plan is real or not? 

There are two ways that you can do it – 

  • Your Past Experience: One way to determine that your actions would lead you to real goals is that you simply look back in your past and see if you had a similar scenario before. What did you do?
  • Role modeling: Another way to determine the nature of your action is to see if someone else has taken the same actions and got the results you desire. 

Steps to Determine Realistic Goals

Goal setting provides us with a chance to improve ourselves but Now that you know what factors determine realistic goals. It is time to dive into the step-by-step process of determining realistic goals. 

1. Understand your Goals

You might have a goal about your fitness or your business. Whatever the goal might be,  it is important to understand it thoroughly. What do I mean by understanding it? You must know the why behind your goal. Why is it that you want to achieve it? There should be a reasonable reason for you to achieve that goal.

Most of us focus on the what and how of the goal, while that is nothing wrong and you must think about it but first comes the why. It works as a guiding principle for you to understand the goal. 

For Example – If your goal is to have a lean body. Having a goal like Losing weight is vague and would drive lousy actions. Hence, you must recognize the vagueness of the goal and make it more real and specific.

2. Research about your Goals

After you have identified the goal your next step in determining the nature of your goal should be to check and research. Research about whether or not someone has already done the hard work and has action plans ready or whether you would have to start all over again.

If you find out that the goals you’re after and someone has already achieved them, great. Follow and learn from their mistakes. This can determine your goal as realistic. However, if you have a hard time researching you can use the below steps to get to an answer. There are different approaches to research in different fields. However, the end goal is the same. 

  • Identify the problems (Lose 2 inches in 30 days)
  • Create questions (Has anyone lost 2 inches in 30 days, Do we have any Case Study) 
  • Google the questions that were created 
  • Get answers – (In this step you would probably get the answer, yes or no) 

Even after following the above steps,  if your answer is to tell me no,  then you must reset your goals. 

3. Confirm your potential

What does checking your potential have to do with realistic goal setting you might wonder.  the truth is, no one knows their true potential, however, we all have our experiences in the past which can help us identify whether or not we can achieve the goal we set. 

How to identify the potential required to achieve a goal? After you’ve understood your goals thoroughly you would be able to understand the amount of work you would need to do to achieve that goal. Once that happens, all you have to do is recall your past and check whether or not you were able to put in that amount of work. 

 You must ask these questions like do I have the necessary skill to achieve the goal, did I    make a conscious decision before? What results did I get? All of these questions would help you understand whether you have what it takes to achieve the goal. And in case you do not. You can spend some spare time developing your skills. 

4. Review your action plan

We’ve talked a lot about action plans and why it is important. but how can an action plan determine whether or not my goals are real? When you understand your goals, you would be having a list of action steps to be taken to achieve your goal. 

Most of us create action plans based on emotions and not on the fact. This leads to failure. Therefore, if you have set any action steps not based on facts it is time to go back to your goals and set realistic plans that would give you concrete results. 

5. Can you measure it

The final destination of realistic goal setting is that we want results. We want to have some proof of growth and evidence-based on numbers. If you have set a goal that cannot be measured, likely, the goal is not real. 

Saying that you need a better job is not measurable in any way, However, saying that you need to work in a company listed on Forbes that would improve your salary by 50% and provide a work-life balance is much better and measurable. 

Therefore, if you cannot measure your goals, you must restart the goal-setting process and set yourself a target that can be measured. This would determine that the goal is realistic.

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Hey, y'all I'm Faisal!!👋

I’m SO excited you’re here!  I’m super passionate about improving ourselves and the daily challenges we Millennials go through, gives me hope to change our lives for good!

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