6 Tips for Setting Realistic Goals

Dec 1, 2015

I suppose I should start by saying that this post couldn’t come at a better time—considering the fact that I currently feel positively buried under all of the work that piled up while I was traveling for the holiday. Needless to say, my to-do list feels completely unmanageable—no matter how lofty of goals I set in attempts to get it all done.

But, that’s enough complaining. Let’s get right into the good stuff, shall we?

I think we all know by now that I’m a big fan of setting goals. I do it every Monday here on the blog, after all. But lately, I’ve been thinking a lot more about my goal setting efforts. I started to feel like I was writing down goals just for the sake of doing so, and not really paying attention to how badly I wanted to accomplish those things—or how realistic accomplishing them even was.

So, I’m going to start giving a little more thought to this process. I don’t want to jot down a few random tasks for the sake of feeling like I’m in control of my own personal and professional development. Instead, I want to invest the time in figuring out exactly what I want to get done—and how I’m going to go about doing that.

Let’s focus on just the how piece for right now. I have the tendency to set these lofty goals for myself. And, while I think it’s great to work towards something, I usually only end up frustrated when I didn’t manage to reach that large accomplishment. I think that setting goals is only one piece of the puzzle—setting realistic goals needs to factor into the equation as well.

So, how exactly do you do this? How can you know if the goals you’re setting are realistic? Well, I’ve rounded up six tips to help you out!



Naturally, your current schedule and workload needs to be taken into account when setting goals for yourself. Are you currently buried under a pile of work so deep that you can hardly see your way out? Well, then it’s probably not a great time to revamp your entire blog.

Considering your existing commitments will help you in determining what you can realistically get done in any given amount of time.


Often it’s not your goals that are unrealistic—it’s the amount of time you’re giving yourself to accomplish them that’s unreachable. Admittedly, this is something that I fell victim to a lot. I’d establish goals that I wanted to get done in a week, when (in reality) they were probably much better suited as month-long goals.

So, when laying out your goals, ask yourself about the timeframe you’re thinking. Is this goal something you can realistically get done in a week? Or, is it more realistic in a month? Or even a year? If your goal is larger, set different milestones within that goal to help keep you focused and on track.


Wouldn’t it be great if you could accomplish everything you set out to do? Unfortunately, that’s not the way the world works. You’re not going to accomplish every goal all at the same time. So, it’s important to be selective about the ones that are most important to you.

If you have a number of goals and aspirations on the table, sit down and prioritize them. Which one would you most like to accomplish? Start with that one, and begin chipping away from there.


This is another thing I’m guilty of every now and then. In order to be successful with your goals, you need to be specific.

What do I mean by this? Well, sometimes I’d set a goal like, “Focus more on physical activity”. But, this goal is really quite ambiguous. How will I even know if I successfully completed it or not? It’s so vague, there are no markers for success. So, instead, I’d be better off saying something like, “Walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes at least three nights this week.”

Not only does this better help me measure my progress, but it’s actually quite motivating—I feel like I have a set objective to work towards.


Let’s face it—sometimes the battle with setting goals is finding the time in your day to actually accomplish them. So, once you’ve decided on what exactly you really want to work towards, physically sit down and carve out some time in your planner to work on these things.

Take it from me—you won’t ever get it done if you don’t make the time.


Nobody’s perfect. And, even if you implement these tips, you won’t cross everything off of your lofty “hopes and dreams” list. But, you know what? That’s totally OK. You don’t have to get everything done right now. As the cliché saying says, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.”

Until next time!