Last Updated on January 4, 2018 by Michael Brockbank
It’s the beginning of the year and everyone is starting their New Years Resolutions. Unfortunately, a lot of people are focusing on elements that are a bit unobtainable. From losing 20 pounds in a week to becoming a millionaire, I don’t see a lot of thought behind creating realistic goals.
What can you do to improve your chances of success in 2018?
How to Make Realistic Goals
It’s nice to dream of success and/or riches, but you need to have a practical outlook of your life. Don’t just say you’re going to “do better.” Put action behind your statement.
Define What Success Means to You
Success means something different to everyone. Some may feel increasing their pay is ideal while others simply want to be socially recognized. What does success mean to you…really?
Are you looking to keep your bills paid? Trying to buy a new house? Want to lose a certain number of inches around the waist line?
Defining your own level of success lays the groundwork for creating a strategy to obtain it. However, you can’t stop by merely defining success as having a bank account valued at over a million dollars.
For example, I can say that I want to be a published author by the end of the year. However, my recent lack of effort demonstrates something like this is unrealistic for me.
Sometimes you need to be brutally honest with yourself. Not to the point of wallowing in self-pity, but developing more of an understanding about who you truly are.
Build a Realistic Strategy
Creating realistic goals centers around a workable strategy. For instance, I would like to have a stock portfolio worth more than $1,000 by the end of the year. This means I would need to invest at least $41.66 per month – because I already have $500 invested. This is actually quite low, but it’s doable.
Realistic goals keep you from getting frustrated and giving up. An example of this is when I see so many people asking how they can lose 20 pounds in a week and then give up after the first day.
Something more attainable fuels self-confidence. Each time you achieve a certain part of your strategy, you begin to feel proud of yourself. Even the smallest victories can be monumental, especially when it comes to your mentality towards your goals.
Can I reach a goal of writing 1,000,000 words this year? Yes, as long as I can maintain at least 2,740 per day. This, for me, is a realistic goal based on my abilities.
Avoid Instant Gratification
The one thing that throws a wrench in the works for many is instant gratification. Success in any form isn’t going to happen overnight. Well, at least not without some kind of fluke intervention. If I won the Powerball on Saturday, that would change everything.
A lot of people center around what they can have right now. This often leads to a skewed view of how the world actually works. For example, humans are incapable of losing 20 pounds in 7 days without surgeries or causing other forms of damage to themselves. And yes, fasting is a form of damage.
I am the type of person who likes to earn their success. Take the game, “EverQuest” for example. Even in the digital realm, I would turn down magic items all the time because I would rather work for them.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t turn down a $550 million Powerball. But in the real world, I relish in the feeling I get when I succeed without external intervention.
I don’t cheat at games for the same reason. I need to feel that I earned my success when I surpass the competition.
Keep Your Feet Planted
It’s OK to reach for the stars as long as you keep your feet on the ground. This means you need to be aware of your situation and surroundings. Otherwise, you can easily trip and fall.
Sure, I would love to have a million dollars. But my current situation demonstrates it’s not all that feasible. As a result, I need realistic goals to fuel my own vision of what success means to me.
One of my ultimate objectives is to see my name printed on the spine of a book. However, that’s not going to be possible unless I meet my smaller realistic goals to reinforce the possibility of being published.
Dreams are often what inspire people for greatness. However, it takes more than the imagination to make things possible. It takes action and motivation.
Reach high, but keep an eye on where you’re walking.
Surpass Your Own Average
When setting realistic goals, strive to go above and beyond your current average. Take the example above. I could invest $42 per month to get my current stock portfolio up to $1,000 by the end of the year. However, I could go beyond that by investing $100.
Don’t try to gauge your success on that of others. Everyone is different and has varying motivators in place. Your capabilities are going to dictate your success. No one can guarantee you’ll achieve certain goals because too many variables will modify the end result.
A true success for yourself should center more around surpassing your own expectations. Then, set new realistic goals to go even further.
Expanding Over Time
Once you start achieving your easier goals, start adding more. Keep working to better yourself while surpassing your own capabilities. You don’t want to wallow in what’s mediocre for yourself.
For instance, what if I am easily meeting one million words this year? I would alter my strategy to reach for 1.25 million.
Challenge yourself, but make sure you still keep realistic goals part of the process. If you find your current strategy too easy after a month, turn up the difficulty.
Breaking Up Goals Into Smaller Ones
One of my favorite methods for developing strategies is breaking goals into smaller ones. This helps fuel the perception of something being achievable.
For example, let’s say I am aiming for writing 1,000,000 words this year. Instead of focusing on the one million as a whole, I know I need to write at least 2,740 per day. That is my focus. By meeting each day’s challenge, it works to accomplish the greater good.
Smaller and more obtainable goals helps inspire confidence. This often leads to a greater sense of motivation. It’s all about getting into the mindset of, “I got this.”
Realistic goals also prevent setting yourself up for failure. If you’re striving for something that is impossibly large, you’re more likely to become frustrated. Which will impact your mentality towards your goals.
Keep your smaller objectives realizable, but not too simple they seem mundane. Work to go beyond your abilities, just be sensible about your own performance and effort.
Be a Success In Your Own Mind
Everyone is different when it comes to viewing success. Find viable methods to reach your own objectives and work to become a better version of yourself. All it takes is commitment and a realist strategy to make many of your dreams come true.
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