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Why is it Important to Set Realistic Goals: Fundamentals for Happiness

Do you feel that you are successful at setting and achieving your personal goals? This is an area that many people struggle with and it can greatly affect one’s life satisfaction, confidence, and happiness.

Setting and achieving goals helps you to feel in control of life and to create the life that you desire. To achieve your personal goals, it is important that you can set realistic goals.

In this article we share with you: what a realistic goal is, six reasons why realistic goals are important, and how to set a realistic goal. We also explore the reasons why setting realistic goals is fundamental to happiness in life.

What is a realistic goal?

A realistic goal has structure and is feasible. It is not just realistic in general, but it is realistic for you taking into account your values and resources.

Creating a realistic goal is an essential part of a SMART goal. SMART goals are:





Time Limited

You can read more about SMART goals here.

In this article, we focus on creating a realistic goal. Let’s continue to explore six reasons why setting realistic goals is important.

Why is it important to set realistic goals?

As nice as it is to dream big and set big goals for ourselves. A dream that doesn’t have a clear plan of action will remain just a dream. This is where realistic goals come into play.

1. Realistic goals are mindful of your resources

When setting a goal, it’s important to take into account the resources available to you. Consider the amount of time it will require, the kinds of skills and knowledge required, and any financial costs. Are these resources realistically available to you?

Creating a goal that considers your available resources requires you to accept yourself and your current situation. You do yourself no favours by creating a goal that requires too much from yourself. Realistic goals are mindful of your resources and this helps to avoid burnout.

2. Realistic goals reduce overwhelm and frustration

By creating clear goals that take into account your available resources your goals become easier to manage. Considering all the resources required for all of your goals ensures that you can manage several at once. In the process of creating your goal, you may need to break it down into more manageable steps, creating milestones. This helps to reduce overwhelm and frustration while completing your goals.

3. Achieve the right goal with realistic goals

Realistic goals require thought and planning which helps you to achieve the result you desire. When creating realistic goals, take into account your values and how well your goal aligns with them. When your goals align with your values it increases motivation and the fulfillment gained once the goal is achieved.

4. Realistic goals build confidence and self-esteem

When goal planning there is a tendency to think that an ambitious goal will give us the big reward we are looking for. However, grand or ambitious goals that aren’t worked towards through smaller, realistic steps usually fail and damage one’s confidence. Realistic goals will help to build your confidence and self-esteem because they are quicker to achieve.

A small and realistic goal can still challenge you, however, it will be more achievable. By accomplishing smaller goals your confidence and self-esteem will grow making it easier to tackle more challenging goals.

5. Realistic goals keep you motivated

Goals that are quicker to achieve, not only improve confidence and self-esteem but they increase motivation. We lose motivation when we keep failing at our goals because they aren’t achievable. Completing realistic goals regularly will lead to more frequent releases of dopamine which encourages motivation.

6. Realistic goals inspire action

Goals should inspire us to take action. When a goal is realistic it feels more achievable and will inspire you. When we feel encouraged by our goals, they become much easier to achieve and we are less prone to self-sabotage or guilt. You need to believe that you can achieve the goals you set for yourself; this is possible when the goals created are realistic.

How to set realistic goals?

We hope you’re inspired to start creating realistic goals for yourself. Here are a few steps to guide you through setting a realistic goal.

  • Incorporate all aspects of a SMART goal. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Limited.

  • Identify the resources needed to accomplish the goal. Do you have the necessary time, discipline, information, support, or financial means? If not, how can you access more resources or refine the goal?

  • If your goal doesn’t seem realistic try breaking it down into smaller more manageable steps.

  • Identify any threats or obstacles. Be realistic about any practical or personal obstacles you may face while accomplishing your goal. Create ways to navigate these obstacles before they arise.

  • Make sure you feel confident in your goal and that it aligns with your values. A realistic goal holds true meaning for you.

  • Check with someone close to you. Do they agree that this goal is realistic for you?

Realistic goals are clear and meaningful, taking into account the availability of your personal resources. This is why they reduce overwhelm, increase self-esteem, keep us motivated, and take us in the direction we planned. When the goals we set are realistic they inspire us to take action making them easier to achieve. Achieving your goals in this way will help you to create a more fulfilled and happier life.

We can help you to create and achieve your goals. Contact us to discuss how we can best support you through individual counselling.

Best of luck achieving your goals. DREAM BIG. BE REALISTIC.

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