Why is it important to set realistic goals?
Back in the days when I was barely 5, being Batman was the ultimate goal of my life. I received a Batman costume for Halloween, a Robin suit for my Chihuahua sidekick, and a Bat Mobile that I paddled with pride around the neighborhood.
8 years down the line, I wanted to be a rock star, and similar efforts were dedicated towards this motivated ambition.
Fast-forwarding life by another 5 years, I discovered my talents in writing and pursued the idea of being a novelist only till realization dawned and made me aim for a job in a top corporate enterprise so that I could pay my bills, raise a family and retire with a stash.
Now imagine if I was 22 years old and still wanted to be Batman… where would my life have headed in another 25 years?
Looking back, I can see my goals have been only as realistic as my age, imagination, drive, perspective, and priorities.
Does this mean that the goals that seem real now may be irrelevant as priorities change later?
So, what exactly are realistic Goals? Why is it important to set realistic goals? How realistic can goals get if they keep changing with time and priorities?
Are the goals that me or you are pursuing right now ‘real’ enough? Let’s find out…
What Are Realistic Goals?
By the simplest definition, realistic goals are ‘end-results’ that you can achieve with your existing skill sets, talents, hard work, and devotion.
Realistic Goals are also those that you can accomplish by enhancing your skills with advanced learning and practice, which may take some time, effort, and investments but are always worth your energy and patience.
At any time and through ever-changing priorities… always remember, if your goals are relevant to your current state of existence, directed towards ‘a future’ that resonates with your achievable expectations and are worthy of your time and resources (both tangible and intangible), they are ‘Realistic’ and should be pursued with zeal.
To make things easier, here are 5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself to Understand if Your Goals are ‘Real’…
- Are your goals measurable?
- Are your goals attainable with your key or secondary skillsets?
- Can you define your goals precisely?
- Are your goals pertinent in the short and long-run?
- Can you achieve these goals within a set time frame?
If you have answered Yes to all, congratulations, you are on the right track. If not, you may need to assess your aims once again, realistically.
Why is it Important to Set Realistic Goals?
Ever wondered what happens to a thirsty wanderer in a mid-day desert when he starts chasing a mirage? That is precisely what happens when you chase unrealistic goals.
Fatigue, exhaustion, the useless squandering of essential resources, loss of motivation, mental / psychological complications, and dismal outcomes always follow blurry and undefined aims.
The benefits of Realistic goals are multifaceted, and here are a few of them that can motivate you to get on the right track right away.
Realistic Goals = Realistic Prioritizing
Priorities define success. The first 5 things in your priority list usually draw maximum time, dedication, and resources from you.
If your goals are realistic, you will prioritize them among the first 3. This is that intangible catalyst that will invariably lead you to achieve your aims.
Effective Usage of Available Resources
When your goals are real, you always know where and how to channel your resources. Therefore, you prevent squandering your time, energy, and even funds for skill improvement / practice on non-essential irrelevant directions, which works towards speeding up your expected outcomes.
Restores Mental and Emotional Health
Being time-bound and achievable, realistic goals shield you from negative emotional spirals like frustration, anger, feeling of loss / defeat, irrelevance, grief, depression, addictions, self-harm, and many more, which go a long way in maintaining better mental and emotional health.
Key to Stay Self Motivated and Confident
Tangible goals, be it short-term, long-term or, lifetime, help you stay focused and motivated because you know that you are doing your best towards achieving something worthy and relevant.
The factor of ‘achievability’ boosts your self-confidence, which again fuels your endeavor towards sure shot success.
Freedom from the Comparison Trap
Realistic goals are set only after you evaluate your expectations in terms of your individual values, perspective, and of course, ambitions.
Therefore, it emancipates you from the comparison trap, a vicious negative emotional spiral that pushes you to create irrelevant goals only to match up with superficial standards set by others.
When your goals are real, the only comparison you make is of your progress through your set timeline. Here, ‘You’ are your only competitor.
Your ‘Why’ Becomes Clear… So, Your ‘How’ Becomes Easy
One of the key forces that back realistic goals is the ‘WHY’ behind them. In simple words, when you set realistic goals, you know exactly ‘why’ you want to pursue what you are aiming for, which makes the direction and course of action towards achieving the same crystal clear.
Therefore, you are 100% aware of…
- The resources you require to achieve the goal.
- The skill sets you need to perfect for the same.
- The timeline by which your goal should be achieved and,
- Ample self-motivation to keep you going.
This may be the source of enlightenment in your quest to learn why is it important to set realistic goals?
Continual Drive for Self-Improvement
Whether knowingly or unknowingly, realistic goals always make you a better version of yourself, mostly for
- all the time you devote towards what you wish to achieve,
- all the skills you constantly use to get closer to the goals,
- all the time and money you spend on learning and improvement of existing skill sets,
- all the patience and dedication you maintain day after day,
- the pitfalls that inspire you,
- the drive that prevents you from giving up.
At the end of the day, it becomes your journey towards self-improvement. There is no better way to become ‘exemplary’ than by setting and working towards a realistic goal.
Now that you know why is it important to set realistic goals, this may be time to learn how to set realistic goals and get going. Always remember, while it is true that nothing is impossible, defining ‘possibility’ can help you navigate through uncertainties to successfully reach where you wish to be.
Also read: When The Why Is Clear The How Is Easy