Finally we are getting to goal setting! If you have ever heard anything on setting goals, you have inevitably heard something about the importance of setting realistic goals. I'd like to introduce a slightly different way to approach this. I don't love the idea of squashing our goals and dreams to make them more realistic. But we do have to be realistic about how we approach them.
First, we have to look at what makes something realistic or not. Realistic and possible are not the same thing. It is possible for me to do many things - but that doesn't make them realistic for my lifestyle, schedule, skill set, personality and place in life.
Something like, "I will read one book a week" would be a pretty lofty goal for me - just saying it doesn't sound very realistic. I have a history of starting one book and then starting a new one before I have a chance to finish the previous. So it would be lofty, yes, impossible, no. I could do it. Even being/feeling as busy as I am I know I could use waiting, tv + social media time to commit to this, making it possible. But is it realistic?
To make it realistic:
1 | I would need to have enough of and the right kind of motivation; a real reason to even bother. Do I recognize a need to change? What value does this add to my life? Why is this important to me? Why one per week? Motivation cannot be simulated. It can't be faked. It can be encouraged and cultivated though.
2 | Along with the right motivation, I would also need a strategy, a specific plan. When will I read? How much will I read? What will I do if I fall behind? What will I give up to allow for more time to read? What will I read?
3 | And then, there is the needed mindset. You can accomplish very difficult, seemingly-unrealistic things if you have the right mindset. Again, this can't be faked. But it can be cultivated. The mindset that allows us to both progress and be in tune with our boundaries and need for rest is what we want. It's a mind that sees our potential and where we are; clearly seeing our need to evolve in order to have what we want, without getting too attached to imperfections, the obstacles, or fears. To me, this is honesty. It's clearly seeing what is ahead of us with potential and grace.
As we become more in touch with our desires for life and see our own capability we can develop the mindset that encourages growth and progression while nurturing ourselves along the way. The more we do hard things with a healthy mentality, the more our confidence in our ability grows. The more we recognize, "Hey, I really don't need sugar after every meal" or “I am so much happier when I start my day with movement” the more we are able to detach from the other habits/patterns/comforts that we have become our default mode. It’s a mindset that is open to our own evolution; that welcomes the shift and believes in our ability to do so.
4 | Another aspect to setting realistic goals is support. Do we have the social and environmental support? This can be as simple as being surrounded with people who don't belittle or demean our efforts. But, taken to the next level, when we have others around us seeking goals along-side us, calling us to workout, checking in on us, eating greens with us, it's immensely powerful. The more support you have, the more likely you are to succeed. You also want to consider the climate where you live, your financial resources, your wardrobe and your physical space you live in. These things may sound small, but are often enough to keep us from action. If it snows where you live, your environment is presenting a challenge for your goal to run everyday. You want to be honest about the role of each moving part so that you can make the changes you want to make.