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How to Set Realistic Goals

Do you find yourself accumulating numerous goals to accomplish throughout the year that you still haven’t gotten to? It’s important to have goals; it shows your ambition, and it feels wonderful when you accomplish and even surpass your goals. However if you load too many goals onto your plate at once, it can start to feel overwhelming. The feelings of overwhelm lead to stress and anxiety, which can cause you to lose motivation and abandon your goals altogether. So, what can you do to achieve realistic goal setting?

1. Break your goals down into smaller, achievable ones – Usually, there are many small goals along the way to accomplishing a larger goal. If you break down that huge goal into smaller tasks it can feel much more manageable. Reaching those smaller goals can motivate you to continue to achieve your long-term vision.

2. Schedule time for your goals, set a timer, and reward yourself – Setting aside time to work on your goals is important especially if it is a longer goal that cannot be broken down. If you can only dedicate an hour to work on your goals, set a timer for an hour and when that timer goes off set it all aside for another day. Keep a habit of making time for your goals—for example, you might decide to spend an hour every Saturday afternoon to make progress on your goals. Lastly, when you are finished with your allotted time, reward yourself! Your reward could be a coffee, a snack, a nap, or whatever it is that you enjoy.

3. Have patience with yourself – It’s okay to take breaks from your goal, and it’s okay if it takes you longer to reach a goal than it took someone else. Sometimes it takes longer than we’d expect and that is okay. Remind yourself that you are doing the best that YOU can, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing because life is NOT a competition. Sometimes we need to take a step back or take a break to reinvigorate and motivate ourselves again. If you push yourself too hard, you could overload yourself and lose motivation. Be patient with yourself, kind to yourself, and take a break when you need it.

Setting big, ambitious goals is not a bad thing, but remember to approach it from a thoughtful mindset. If you’re starting with large-scale, long-term goal, break it down into more achievable mini goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Setting a schedule to continuously make progress and having a little patience with yourself can be very helpful. That way, you’re able to reach your goals while maintaining your mental health along the way.

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