Are You Feeling The Pressure To Reach Unrealistic Goals This Year?
How to Get Rid of Unrealistic Goals
While setting ambitious goals can be a great way to realize your full potential, there are limits to how much you should use your imagination. Sometimes, a goal you set is simply too far out of your reach to achieve. While you may not realize a goal is too big until you attempt it, there are a number of signs that it might be unattainable from the very beginning. Assess your goals carefully to see if they are unreasonable and eliminate or adjust them to prevent frustration.
Evaluating Your Goal
Determine if your goal is based on external factors.You should come up with goals that are based on yourself and your own abilities. That means that you alone are responsible for your success or failure. If you base your success on the actions and abilities of others, you risk failing not because you weren't good enough, but just because someone else was better. This will frustrate you and you may end up quitting your goal.
- If you are on the track team at school, you may set a goal to have the fastest time in the mile-run on the team. But someone else on the team runs a faster time than you and you just can't beat him. In this scenario, your goal is based on another person's skills and not your own. If this person is simply better than you, you'll end up frustrated that you can't achieve your objective. Instead, construct your goals in a way that reflects your own skills. Rather than saying you want to have the fastest mile-time on the team, say that you'd like to run a mile in under 5 minutes. That way, you have a goal based on your abilities and within your power to achieve.
Set your own goals instead of trying to achieve someone else's.It is not uncommon for parents, bosses, or coaches to set goals for you. They often have your best interests in mind, but they may not be taking into account what you really want. Before trying to achieve a goal someone else has set for you, think about it carefully. Is this something you really want, or are you doing it to please someone else? If you decide that it is the latter, you should rethink that goal. Taking on a goal that is not your own could leave you feeling unfulfilled and depressed later on. Set goals that are important to you to avoid this outcome.
- Your parents may be pressuring you to attend law school because they think it will be a good career choice for you. While they may have your best interests in mind, you might have no interest in being a lawyer. If you give in and pursue they goal your parents set for you, you might feel like you wasted your time in law school when you could have been doing something much more meaningful to you.
Think about your current workload.While a goal might be realistic if you had no other commitments, you have to take into account your other responsibilities. If you're committed to other, more important things, than a seemingly realistic goal becomes much less manageable. Before committing to a goal, look at your current situation. Make sure that by taking on this goal, you won't be neglecting important areas of your life. If you'll have to sacrifice other important things, than this goal may have to wait until another time.
- Say, for example, you'd like to learn to surf. This is a manageable goal, if you had the time. But you have three kids and have to work two jobs to support your family. While learning a new skill would be good for you, your current situation simply doesn't allow for it. You'll have to let this goal wait until you have more time on your hands.
Think about how long it will take to achieve your goal.Sometimes, a goal isn't necessarily unrealistic, but you might considerably underestimate the time it will take to complete. In this case, do some research and try to find out how long it may take to reach your objective. If you find out you've underestimated the time it will take, this isn't a reason to give up. Simply adjust your time frame or set a smaller, more manageable goal that you can complete by your original deadline.
- Running a marathon, for example, takes months of training and preparation even for experienced runners. If you've decided that you want to run a marathon next month and you've been out of shape for years, this is an unrealistic deadline. Not only will you get frustrated, but you could seriously injure yourself by pushing your body so hard. Adjust your time frame by saying that you'd like to run a marathon by next year. In the meantime, run smaller races to work up your endurance and build your confidence.
Take your experiences into account.While it's a good thing to step outside your comfort zone, be careful when setting ambitious goals in areas where you have no experience.
- Some people dream of opening up restaurants and ignore the fact that they've never worked in a restaurant before. This is an unreasonable goal because your chances of becoming successful without any experience are slim, and there is significant risk in opening a business. You could end up sorely disappointed if your restaurant fails, not to mention in serious financial trouble.
- Remember that when the stakes are low, it is definitely okay to try out a goal in an area you have no experience. If you want to learn how to play basketball, you can easily commit to a pickup game once a week with friends. The worst that can happen is you lose a few games.
Listen to others' opinions.While you don't have to always take the advice of others, listening to their opinions could be helpful for you. People you trust especially will usually tell you if they don't think you can achieve something. If when you tell people about your goal they express hesitation or doubt your abilities, you shouldn't write it off immediately. This can be an indication that you've committed to an unreasonable or unattainable goal. If others seem unsure of your goal, use the preceding steps to evaluate your goal. If any of those steps apply to your goal, you may have to rethink it.
Making Your Goal More Realistic
Break your goal into smaller goals.If you discover that a goal you made was too ambitious, it doesn't mean you have to abandon the goal altogether. It may just mean that you should start a little smaller and work your way up to the bigger goal. That way, you can make you goal more manageable and achievable.
- You original goal may have been to complete a triathlon. Say you attempt it without adequate preparation and fail to finish. Learn from this. Focus on each event in the triathlon one at a time. First compete in a few swimming races, then bike races, then foot races. When you've become more proficient in all three events, then you can come back to the triathlon better prepared than you were the first time around.
Save your goal for a later date.Sometimes goals are unattainable because you simply don't have the time to commit to them. Just because you don't have time for one of your goals right now, that doesn't mean you never will. Keep track of your goals and come back to them when your life slows down a bit.
- Remember the surfing goal from Part 1. The parent of 3 children working 2 jobs to support the family didn't have any time to learn how to surf. In a few years, however, he may get a big promotion at work that gives him a big pay raise and he'll have to work less hours. This will free up his time to finally get to his goal of learning how to surf.
Get more experience.While you may have had to forget about a goal because you had no experience in a particular area, this doesn't mean the goal is permanently unattainable. You could start educating yourself in the field that your goal was in and then try again when you have enough experience.
- Remember the restaurant goal from Part 1. At the time, it was unattainable because you had no experience working in restaurants. But this doesn't mean you can never own a restaurant. Go to school, work several restaurants, and get the experience you need. With dedication, you can make that original goal of owning a restaurant a reality.
Be willing to adjust or change your goal.It doesn't make you a failure to realize that a goal you set was unreasonable.You shouldn't be afraid to adjust your goals as you see fit to make them more manageable. You'll end up a lot happier when you change your goal to something you can actually accomplish.
- Perhaps you wanted to lose 20 pounds per month in your new weight loss program. After two months, you realize that this isn't happening and you overestimated how much you could lose. So you adjust your goal down to 10 pounds per month, and you discover that this is perfectly within your reach.
Admit that a goal is out of reach.Evidence states that continued pursuit of unattainable goals can lead to increased psychological distress.Therefore, be willing to accept that for whatever reason, a goal is out of your reach. It doesn't make you a bad person to realize this.
- Your goal may have been to attend an ivy league school when you graduated high school. If you aren't accepted to any of the ivy leagues, it doesn't make you a failure. You have to accept that your goal wasn't attainable at the time, and then move on. In the future, you can set new, more manageable goals that you will be able to accomplish.
Video: Stop being a victim of your own Expectations - By Sandeep Maheshwari
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