While setting goals one word that comes quite often to evaluate whether you have done it correctly or not is Realistic. Somehow, I came across lots of people who have misunderstood this and apply this concept in a wrong way while setting their goals – be it in personal or business area. Before we dig more into realistic goals, let’s understand what the word Reality means. Take 1 minute out of your time and give some examples of reality. Realities are nothing but a set of incidents which our brain agrees to. The reality is created when our brain finds something doable, achievable and so on. But honestly, we don’t know what the reality is. For example, I will write this on my MacBook and you may read it online – this was not a reality till the time we actually experienced that.
So, reality is something which we have experienced. And most of the things which we have not experienced or we are not aware of that someone else has experienced – our brain normally doesn’t accept those as reality. so, when we speak about realistic goals in that sense of reality, we are actually talking about limiting ourselves to some facts and figures which we have experienced or we are aware of someone who has experienced. For example, climbing Mount Everest, landing up on the moon – these were never realistic goal till the time someone did that.
When we evaluate goals whether they realistic goals or not, we normally form two base for evaluating so:
1. The results – Here we try to evaluate the results we are planning to achieve and try to find out whether those results are realistic or not. Honestly, you cannot tag a result ‘realistic’ until and unless you have seen that happening. The more common the results are the more realistic it seems. For example, ‘ Riding Cycle’ ‘ Learn Swimming’ they seem realistic and easily achievable. But honestly, you may not be that inspired by ‘Learning Swimming’.
You may be happy but it may not be that inspiring. Hence, you should never think of tagging the result as ‘Realistic Goals’. So, you should never even try to fit yourself in between realistic goals. Think of any person with inspiring achievement – be it Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Neil Armstrong, or anyone. What creates their class apart is just thinking beyond what seems realistic to most of the people. And that’s what made them living an extraordinary life rather than a mediocrity life. The results you want to achieve is the first determinant of the quality of life you are planning to live.
2. Your Capacity – Another area where we hunt for realistic goals are our capacity. No one actually knows what his or her capacity is. Take your example. Whatever you are doing and whatever level, I am sure you have not predicted that 10-15 years ago. Our capacity is the result of the situations, learnings, teachings, experiences, practice, attitude and others which we have gained or gone through in this journey of life. And whether you want it or not – Our capacity is bound to change over a period of time. Hence, there cannot be any fixed traits or definition of capacity. Capacity is nothing but a result and this result can be changed anytime. So, hunting for realistic goals based on your capacity is just another limiting belief and time wasting activity which you will be doing.
Anyone who is not living the life which he or she wants is just a result of keeping yourself limited under so-called realistic results or realistic capacity and resulting realistic goals.
But then what are realistic goals?
I am sure now the next question that comes to your mind may be – “ Then why in books we find Goals should be SMART where R stands for Realistic?”
The word realistic means you should have a plan and strategy to achieve the same. Realistic doesn’t mean think Low Level or Mediocre Goals. It means create goals backed with proper plans and strategies to achieve those. Suppose I think today of having a lean and super fit body but in no ways, I plan to have proper diet or a strategic exercise plan, the goals can never be achieved and that’s exactly what unrealistic goals are. Unrealistic Goals are not what we think, it’s what we do. Everything we want to achieve is possible provided we are ready to pay the price to achieve it and work on it. We are here to make goals realistic rather than setting realistic goals.
We are here to make goals realistic rather than setting realistic goals.