Updated: Oct 21
Find success by setting realistic, achievable goals
Have you found yourself scrolling through Instagram, when you come across a picture-perfect photograph of your high school friend holding hands with their significant other against the backdrop of a magnificent sunset? You read the caption—#relationshipgoals—and you can’t help but feel a little bit insecure… even inadequate.
Or maybe you’ve created a vision board on Pinterest of clothes and hairstyles, hoping to recreate those #fashiongoals that you so love. But no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to capture the essence of those influencers, who seem to pull off looks so effortlessly.
But Are #Goals Really Goals?
Early pioneers of goal-setting theory define goals as: an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan and commit to achieve.
Goals are not dreams, which tend to be things that we imagine will make us happy; nor are they visions, which represent where we intend to be in life.
Goals are a set of specific actions that, cumulatively, will help you achieve your vision or dreams.
So those filtered, photoshopped, airbrushed photos that inundate our social feeds and vision boards aren’t really goals. Why?
Simply put, we’ve got to get real when it comes to setting goals for ourselves. We don’t live our lives through a filter, nor can we move through life with airbrushed perfection. Measuring ourselves against our friend’s #relationshipgoals or an influencer’s #fashiongoals will only cause us to set unrealistic expectations on ourselves, and eventually be less happy.
Set Goals Effectively
First things first. Before setting your goals, ask yourself: why is this goal important to me?
To increase the likelihood of success, your goals must be truly meaningful to you. If you’re going to embark on something just because it’s trendy or because you’re being told that it’s “the right thing to do”, you’re setting yourself up to fail simply because you aren’t as invested as you would be if it was something you truly desired.
The second thing is to ensure that the goals you set are achievable. In our previous blog post, we discussed the risks of jumping into the process of change before you’re ready for it. Another way to self-sabotage is by setting unrealistic goals for yourself.
For example, you’re on a weight loss journey and you set a goal to lose 5 kilograms in a month. This is not only an unrealistic goal, but also a dangerous one. Not only will you take steps that could harm your body, such as unhealthy dieting, but you could also end up putting in your best effort and still not achieve your goal—leaving you feeling dejected and disappointed.
In college and at work, we’re taught to set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals. These SMART goals can also be applied when it comes to self-improvement.
You can learn more about setting SMART Goals in our Goal-Setting lesson pack here, or chat with one of our ThoughtFull Professionals to get some help in coming up with a realistic plan.
ThoughtFull Professionals are credentialed mental health professionals. Through the chat, our Professionals will partner with you in a thought-provoking and creative process that assists you in maximizing your personal and professional potential areas of your life.