Well, the year has begun. We all have set up specific goals for ourselves and why not? – It is the flavor of the month. Isn’t it?
But why do we set up goals only when the year ends. Is it because we failed to achieve anything which we aimed for the year gone by? Or, is it because we got lazy and procrastinated on our goals by doing too much planning and being a skeptic of really going for it. The reasons are in hundreds, but the outcome is only one. We failed in realizing our goals. So the next year has begun. How should we set up out goals realistically? Before that, let’s analyze why we fail to achieve them.
What causes Goals to fail?
1- Setting up unrealistic Goals.
Yes, we all are guilty of setting up unrealistic goals. We all love to glorify our success. The result is to set up higher goals. We dream of achieving a particular goal whether it be shedding 20 pounds or buying a dream house or forecasting significant figures in your sales to the bosses. Most of them are sincere goals, set up passionately filled with a bucket load of positivity, ambition and a strong will.
But, all goes kaput in few weeks when you struggle to keep up with it. We fall behind the schedule and realize the goal wasn’t realistic. The burden makes us pessimistic, and we slowly move away from it. We may encounter some sporadic boost, but the backlog is too overbearing for our daily motivation.
2- Overestimating our potential.
Being confident is excellent but being overconfident is foolishness. It is one of the reasons where many even lose their jobs by setting up unrealistic goals for their employers. We sometimes overestimate our potential based on previous achievements. But, usually, forget the timeline or circumstances under which we achieved it. So, before setting up the goal, did we factor those conditions which were in favor of us this time?
For achieving the goals, we need a positive mindset, and sometimes we do achieve unbelievable results with that mindset. But, the essential aspect to attain big goals is discipline. It becomes challenging to produce consistent results when the goals are unrealistic. You may win battles, but winning the war becomes difficult.
3- Setting Goals due to peer pressure:
Sometimes, we set up goals depending on our competitors or peers. We don’t assess the parameters of setting such goals. We don’t know how the other person has sketched his roadmap to achieve those goals. What if they too are setting up unrealistic goals? It will lead to confusion, and you will end up embarrassing yourself by dancing with someone else’s shoes.
4- Setting up vague goals:
Unclear goals which have no specific purpose are bound to falter. We are unsure of what we are setting and just trying to give it a shot. Goals set with half-hearted intent will not take you ahead. I have to lose 20 pounds. I will lose some 5 or ten of them by walking and maybe lose another five by dieting. I will go for a swim on the weekends. It should shed the rest. These types of goals are set without any definite purpose.
Similarly, vague goals can confuse your employers at your workplace. It will raise doubts about your ability to think clearly.
5- Mistaking Goals as targets:
It is a common practice that we confuse goals with targets. I have to make this much money this year. I will shed 40 pounds this year. These are not goals; they are targets. Goals are to build up the platform to achieve those targets.
For example, I will invest a particular sum of money to achieve financial freedom by the end of 2025. Or, I should write 20000 words a month to finish writing the first draft of my novel by June and the final manuscript by December. Here, writing 20000 words is a task, finish the final manuscript of the novel is the goal and December is the target. Goals have to be derived by defining tasks to build up the platform to achieve the targets. The whole process needs to be clearly defined otherwise, they end up being targets.
6- Too many things on the plate:
Sometimes good realistic goals are hampered by parallel subsidiary goals. I will set up a bakery business this year. But since I also know few things about pharmacy, I should even start a pharmacy business.
Putting too many things on your plate makes you lose focus on one thing. The vision blurs, and thus the goals are not met. Don’t choke yourself by setting up too many goals.
How to set up Realistic Goals?
Realistic goals are not the ones that you can achieve smoothly by the end of the year. When we talk about being realistic, usually that is the apparent notion. But, then why do we need to set up goals if we already know we will achieve it. If we are doing that, we are cheating the purpose and in turn cheating ourselves. We set up goals to move ahead in life. We need to better our previous performance. The whole use of goal setting is to challenge yourself and create a new you.
If you challenge yourself with unrealistic goals, they harm you in making you detest you. So to set up realistic goals, you should do the following things:
1- Don’t mistake conservative goals for realistic goals:
Realistic goals don’t mean conservative goals. Realistic goals are about setting up the goals which will have the desired effect on your ability, your career, and your life. A conservative goal which you can achieve easily will defeat the purpose.
A goal has to be designed based on your past credentials. If you have been successful in achieving your previous goals, it is natural that you will set up something more challenging this time. Look back at how you did it. If it was easy, then you need to take a more significant leap this year. If it wasn’t and you somehow made it, then you should set it up with a little conservative approach.
Analyze where you lacked and how will you overcome that. What effect it will have on the result. Lay down those parameters and challenge yourself to better it this time. By taking these into account, you should reach a very realistic figure. So, don’t mistake conservative goals for realistic goals.
2- Always set your goals with the intent to achieve it any cost.
There is a school of thought, if we achieve at least 70% of the desired goal, it will be great. Again, this is a goal with half-hearted intent. What is the purpose of setting a goal if you want to achieve only 70 % of it? Then isn’t 70% the realistic goal. A goal must always be established to fulfill it.
3- Goal is a result of series of small tasks.
To set up a realistic yearly goal, you should break it into half-yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly goals. Based on these, you need to define your daily tasks. The daily tasks will lead to achieving weekly goals. Weekly goals will give you an idea of your monthly achievements. Similarly, it will lead you to the yearly goal.
You can only achieve your bigger goals by achieving smaller goals. They will happen if you perform small tasks regularly. It needs patience and perseverance. The focus also plays a vital role here. Your daily routines should have its focus set on the long-term goal. It may be a tiny thing today, but bit by bit it accumulates into a shape and then gradually the tasks accomplish the shape you have set as the end result.
You should also consider breaks in your routines to avoid boredom. The road usually is filled with apathy and patience. It is a very lonely process, and you need to motivate yourself to keep up with it. So, before setting realistic goals, be more self-aware about your potential, ability, and passion for achieving it.
4- Every day is not same.
When you perform your daily routines, the outcomes may be different. You may or may not meet your daily goals. So, you need to keep space for catching up to it. If you don’t do that, you will lag behind, and the backlog will pile up into a massive mountain in no time. If you keep some breathing space and time to make up for the lost work in your goals, the chances of catching up and being in the game are always on. You are a human and shouldn’t plan to set up goals for a machine. Add that little human touch in setting your goals.
Hopefully, these considerations should do the trick for you. With a better plan focused on a realistic goal setting, you should stay on track this year.