How to Set Unrealistic Goals

In a recent post, I wrote about How to Create a Personal Vision. In order to make your vision a reality, you’ll need to tie it into specific goals. Otherwise your vision will remain a daydream.

Other benefits of goal setting include:

* Using your mind and talents fully
* Making better decisions
* Being more organized and effective
* Having greater confidence and self-worth
* Being more enthusiastic and motivated
* Accomplishing uncommon or “unrealistic” projects

Setting unrealistic goalsI’m particularly intrigued by this last point about Unrealistic projects because one of the most popular systems out there about setting goals proposes they should be S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

I’d like to propose a version called S.M.U.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Unrealistic, Resonant and Timely. Here’s what it would include:

Specific – A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal.

A general life goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week to lose 10 pounds by June.” Or, a general business goal is “Time Management”. A more specific goal is “Eliminate email distractions by only checking it at 8am, 12pm and 4pm for 15 minutes at a time.”

Measurable – When you measure your progress, you stay on track and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on. To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as “How much? How many? How will I know when I’ve accomplished it?”

Unrealistic – So called Unrealistic goals are more exciting and may be easier to reach than you think! 99% of people believe they cannot achieve great things so they aim for average and compete in the “realistic” goal category. Competition is actually fiercest here and therefore where the most energy and time are spent.

Think of it as, “if everyone is fishing in the same spot, why not fish where there are fewer competitors?”

That’s where you may land the big fish!

A really large goal is also an adrenaline booster – it helps with the trials and challenges you’ll encounter, while a realistic goal is average and uninspiring. If the payoff is average then so is the effort.

Think of a contest you might enter. If the prize was a trip to Idaho to see the hot springs, ghost towns and eat Idaho potatoes versus a trip to Italy to see the Roman Coliseum, ride a gondola, stay at a villa and eat gourmet Italian food, which would you put more effort into winning?

Even though it may be easier to win the trip to Idaho, it will likely fall through because you are not prepared to do battle to win against other competitors.

Resonant – This simply means, does the goal feel right to you? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it really MY Goal?
  • Can I commit myself emotionally to completing the project?
  • Can I visualize myself reaching this personal goal?

If you answered “No” to one of these questions, you may want to reconsider this goal. In the short-term it may appear to work for you, but in the long run, you may be exposing yourself to a lot of unnecessary conflict and frustration.

Timely – A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to have 10 new clients, when do you want to have them by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by March 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.

I’m not saying every goal you set should be “aim for the stars”-type of goals – definitely have some SMART goals, but be sure to set big SMURT goals as well.

Big goals force you to reach in and use the potential that is inside of you and help you to overcome short-term failures. They can also help you to change your direction without going back on your overall vision. People who set big, long-range goals have been found to have higher self-confidence, higher self-esteem, and greater personal motivation.

The bottom line is that more than half the rewards and benefits achieved from goal-setting come from actually taking your first step in that direction, regardless of the consequences.

So remember, you won’t pay a price for setting goals. You will pay a price for not setting them.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” – the Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland

What do you think of setting unrealistic goals this year? I’d love your thoughts.

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