Setting goals is an integral part of life, whether short-term milestones and small steps or a larger goal that involves a great deal of commitment and hard work.
Setting goals for personal and business objectives is an excellent way to ignite your passion and motivation to accomplish your dreams.
While goal setting is essential in starting your path to achieving success, it’s vital to set realistic goals that are measurable and allow you to track your progress from one milestone to the next.
So, why is it important to set realistic goals?
Setting Realistic Goals and Expectations
Setting realistic goals entails reviewing your resources, skills, abilities, and chances of success before you proceed. One of the main characteristics of a realistic goal is assessing how likely you are to work towards it and establishing an action plan.
Every step of your plan should be achievable, with smaller goals or milestones to achieve along your path. While some goals may seem out of reach, you can easily “test” your ability to find which goals are attainable and which first steps you can take toward success.
How can you determine if a goal is realistic and achievable? There are some key ways to determine if your plan is beyond your reach or whether it’s attainable.
1. Review Your Resources, Skills, and Obstacles
Do you have the time and resources to make your goals happen? If you’re aiming for a promotion at work or transferring to another department for career growth, do you have the education and ability to move into that position?
Career goals often require a great deal of commitment, including taking on additional training, courses, and financial investment to meet the criteria of the position you want.
You’ll need to assess your personal level of motivation and whether you’re ready to take on the task of achieving smaller milestones to achieve the ultimate goal.
Funding and Support
Financial resources, support from your employer, family, and friends all play an important role in helping you through the challenging parts of your personal and professional goals.
The more encouragement and funding you have to draw from, the more attainable or reachable your goal becomes.
On the other hand, if you lack resources, you can review your options and find ways to obtain financial loans or grants. You may also consider joining a community of people taking on the same or similar goals and are willing to offer suggestions and advice.
Personal Skills and Further Development
Many people don’t realize the skills and abilities they currently have. Focusing on your strengths can be an empowering experience for your personal and professional life.
Make a point of researching everything you need to achieve a goal, and align it with what you already have and what you need to learn.
Write a list of all your skills, industry knowledge, personal traits, and other attributes to help you reach your goals. Once you have all the details listed, you’ll have a clear picture of your top abilities and strengths and where you can improve other areas of your skillset with further training and research.
2. Set Milestones and Expectations
Whether your goal seems straightforward or requires many steps to achieve, it’s essential to establish milestones along your path to track your progress and evaluate your success.
As you meet or exceed each milestone, you can review your plan and make necessary adjustments to make your journey more manageable.
Alternatively, if a milestone is difficult to achieve, you may want to reassess your set goals and adjust them to fit your life and circumstances.
Setting time frames for each milestone is a great way to calculate how long it can take to reach your end goal. It’s also important to allow for enough time to reach each step.
For example, if you feel ambitious enough to complete a six-month course within three months, ensure you’re able to accomplish it without excessive stress or compromising other areas of your life.
It’s important to set realistic expectations and goals that don’t put a strain on your personal life or well-being. Celebrate the completion of every milestone, and give yourself the credit you deserve for putting in the time and commitment to make it happen. Setting sequential stages and reachable tasks to work through will help ensure a greater chance of success.
3. Share Your Action Plan and Goals
Once you have set realistic goals for your personal or career plan, you’ll often find a great deal of support from sharing your plan of action with family, friends, and colleagues.
You may be surprised at the amount of practical advice, motivation, and encouragement they’ll provide along your journey.
When friends and family check in with you on the status of your goal, it’s a great opportunity to assess your own progress and talk about it.
Even when you’re feeling discouraged or uncertain of your ability to continue, they can help you stay on track to ensure you continue achieving your goals within the long term.
4. Readjust Your Focus and Dreams
It is important to understand that it’s perfectly acceptable to change your goals, even halfway through your milestones, especially if it’s best for your individual circumstances.
Sometimes, a goal can seem achievable at the beginning when you have the financial support and resources. However, this can sometimes change abruptly when there are unexpected changes or challenges that may derail or shift your plans.
Instead of abandoning your goals altogether, you can take a break, focus on what’s important at that time, and reassess how to proceed with some modifications.
For example, if you’re in the process of starting your own business and encounter a major event that reduces your financial resources, you could take a break and modify your plan with a different, smaller business model or take a different path to achieve similar results.
When Achievable Goals Become Unrealistic
In some cases, can goals become unrealistic, even if they are initially achievable. When you set a goal, your personal and professional situation may be accommodating, and there doesn’t appear to be any obstacles ahead.
One month later, you might find that the investors or funding you need to create a business are no longer available, or the business partner who shares your vision or wants to leave and start their own company.
It’s devastating when plans fall through, although remember that you can reset and set a goal towards a new path of achievement.
Be realistic about your plans, and don’t hesitate to make the necessary changes to make things happen and ultimately reach your reward.
5. Is Your Goal Measurable?
Can you adequately track and measure your progress from start to finish? The importance of setting realistic goals lies in the ability to create a framework that can be regularly reviewed with an easy structure to track each milestone. Initially, you’ll start with a goal and a plan to reach your target.
Along the way, you’ll have several steps, which may vary in time and difficulty. It’s advantageous to set smaller milestones with specific outcomes that are easy to attain, so you can move forward quickly, even if it’s in smaller steps and takes longer to achieve.
An effective way to determine if your goal is measurable and realistic is by applying the SMART method. This technique is expressed as an acronym that includes all the attributes of a realistic plan: specific milestones, measurable steps, attainability, realistic goals, and a time frame defined for each step.
Write Your Goals and Make Revisions as Needed
Smaller, reachable milestones can easily be revised as you think of a new idea or process that works better. Being open to change and refocusing on your goals is important because there are often many paths to reach the same or similar reward.
In addition to creating a structured action plan, write down your experiences, notes, and references that will help give you the support you need.
You’ll find this practice gives you a clear sense of where you are, what you’ve achieved so far, and the next steps you can start the following week or month.
The importance of setting realistic goals?
Many people experience failure when goals become unachievable, which can lead to disappointment and constantly feeling discouraged.
If a large goal seems too difficult to fathom, you can review the direction of your plan and determine a similar but more attainable version of goal setting.
For example, you may want to open a small cafe or restaurant business but don’t have the investment or capital to start. A more realistic version of this plan would be saving a specific amount of funds every month, finding an investor or partner, or opening a food truck or similar variation on your original goal.
When you set realistic goals, you’ll find the process of achieving each milestone greatly rewarding. There are some significant advantages when you set small goals and milestones that are easier to conquer.
They also allow you to regularly review where you are at to help you focus on achieving more in the future.
1. Improved Mental Focus and Positivity
Small, achievable goals give you a sense of accomplishment, which positively impacts your confidence and mental focus.
A series of short-term goals that lead to a greater reward can be a much healthier approach towards a goal or target, instead of trying to conquer a big task that takes longer to achieve, and without the mechanisms to check your status at each step of the process.
Short-term goals are easier to integrate into your everyday life and help you approach each project with a clear focus on the bigger picture.
You’ll also have the insight to find unnecessary, tedious tasks that you can skip altogether and better align yourself with goals that lead to success.
2. You’ll Stay Motivated and Find Opportunities
Once you concentrate on your goals and make progress, you’ll discover new opportunities to further your career and personal goals.
You’ll also attract the attention of friends and colleagues who may have the ability to introduce you to new job prospects, business opportunities, or groups you can join to gain more knowledge and experience in your field of expertise.
The more you achieve and become aware of greater opportunities, the more you’ll be motivated to work towards a higher level of achievement.
3. Greater Access to Successful People and Their Support
When you take the road to success, even in tiny steps, you’ll meet many people who will shape and influence your goals and help you focus on what’s important.
Your own struggles and how you have overcome them on your journey to achievement can also inspire others. You’ll find people who may want to contribute to your small business, share their own experiences, or invite you to become a part of a network that provides additional support and resources.
Joining a Professional Organization
Many professional organizations offer membership programs, and communities offer mentorship, specific training, and group events that help you build your career and offer many pathways to achieving success.
With further knowledge in the industry and shared experience with others, you’ll find out more about the importance of setting realistic goals for the interim and long term.
Attending workshops or conferences, either online or in-person, keeping up-to-date with new developments, and embracing change are some of the best ways to find the right action plan for your future.
4. Clearer Vision of Your Future
As you work towards a realistic goal, you’ll have a greater idea of what to expect short-term and long-term. Every step towards achievement provides you with more ideas and additional learning opportunities that may pique your interest along the way.
You may find that your true passion takes the form of a detour from your original goal, which gives you a better chance at overall success and satisfaction in the long term.
Realistic Vs Unrealistic Goals: Making the Distinction
When you consider unrealistic goals, they may seem fun to entertain at the moment, or consider in the future, although they are often short-sighted and don’t provide any realistic options or tangible results.
While some people dream of becoming the CEO, finding overnight success with a million-dollar business or losing 80 pounds in a few months, they know it’s not going to happen.
However, you can design positive steps or goals based on those reachable dreams and move in the same direction as your dreams.
Change Your Big Dreams Into Attainable Goals
If your goal is to build a popular social media platform to promote business with thousands of followers, start with a smaller goal of promoting a specific aspect of your services and find pages, groups, and networks that will help you along the way.
This option is far more realistic and may take longer, though you’ll quickly learn effective methods and how to create a strong following for your account or profile.
Ending world hunger and homelessness is a goal that many people want to achieve. So, setting achievable goals for this would include; starting a local food bank, volunteering for agencies that find affordable housing, and other local communities that support vulnerable individuals are additional ways in which you can make a difference in many people’s lives.
Embrace Personal Goals in Your Community
Personal goals such as losing a significant amount of weight or becoming an athlete may seem out of reach, at least initially.
However, you can successfully reach these goals with careful planning, dedication, and long-term commitment. You may also find that focusing on improving your overall health and implementing a balanced diet can make it easier to achieve your athletic dreams or reach weight-loss goals.
It is important to remember that your journey is your own. What worked for someone else, may not work for you. Keep tweaking and implementing new milestones and strategies to not only keep you motivated but to ensure that you are able to accomplish your goals.
Don’t give up, simply because you aren’t seeing instantaneous results overnight. They may take time but it will be worth it in the end.
Take Practical Steps Towards Career Growth and Development
Asking for a pay increase, working towards a management position, and improving your department’s performance may, at times, seem difficult to achieve, though, with the right tools and support, you can make improvements that get you noticed and make it easier to reach the end goal sooner than expected.
You may benefit from enrolling in a financial course, taking additional classes, or signing up for an employer-sponsored program that can offer you some helpful tips and suggestions to propel your career to new heights.
When you turn your dreams into realistic goals, you allow yourself the opportunity to achieve a level of greatness that will boost your confidence, increase your sense of purpose, and give you new and exciting career opportunities.
Not only will realistic goals become a rewarding experience for you, but you’ll also find a lot of inspiration when you network with other people and motivate them to realize their potential and pursue their dreams.
Setting realistic goals provides you with a healthy path towards self-improvement while also allowing you to experience better career prospects and business opportunities that you may have never considered in the past.
Setting realistic goals allows you to challenge yourself while providing the framework for achieving tangible results and better overall satisfaction in life. An action plan, solid commitment, and a bit of ambition are all you need to get started on your path to achieving success.
Remember that all of your hard work when it comes to committing to realistic goals, while also implementing your values and career objectives will result in a rewarding and fulfilling future.