Why is it important to set realistic goals [SMART(ER) Goals]

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goal setting

why is it important to set realistic goals?

Most people are confused between goals (goal setting) and dreams. They think their dreams are a goal and when they can not see them coming true in life, they get unmotivated.

So first you must have proper information and distinction of goals and dreams.

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

—Pablo Picasso
why is it important to set realistic goals
why is it important to set realistic goals

What are Goals and Goal Setting?

According to psychological research-

‘Goals,’ are “the object or aim of an action, for example, to attain a specific standard of proficiency, usually within a specified time limit.”

by Latham & Locke (2002, p.705)

However, the main conflict with people is not able to define their goals and dreams. They think their dreams are goals.

Dreams are mainly fantasy of your mind.

Yes! they are helpful to set your goals and keeping you motivated, But they are not goals.

For example, you might dream of being a millionaire, traveling the world, or being an astronaut.

On the other hand, goal is something more concrete

Goals are plans you intend to achieve in long or short term.

For more details check out this article- Dreams vs Goals: The Differences that Matter.

Goals are mainly your destination, although to reach a destination you must know the path and milestone, then here comes the term goal setting.

Mostly games are addictive because we have a well-set goal in mind to win.
Goal in Mind to Win

Goal setting is most important to achieve your goals. No matter if it is a long term goal or short term goal. Goal setting gives you proper motivation. In games when they give you tasks or quest, then they are using this and they are addictive because we have a well-set goal in mind to win.

This phenomenon first described by Edwin A. Locke in hisGoal Setting Theory in Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentive.

In this theory, he talks about how goal setting motivates people to achieve their goals and increase their productivity.

The main question is Why is it important to set realistic goals

As We discussed goal setting gives you motivation to achieve the goal. No matter if it is a long term goal or short term goal. Goal setting focuses on leveraging you with knowledge, resources and organize your time, so that you can pull off your goals.

Actually, when you think of something to achieve or gaining something without any goal setting or planning then you are dreaming or fantasizing yourself.

With goal setting & defined goals, you can measure and get self-aware of progress in your life. Which can boost your self-esteem and self-confidence, when you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you have set.

What are SMART(ER) Goals?

Smart Goals
Smart Goals

When we set goals then we learn about things that we never have done before, but we somehow forget the importance of realistic and executable goals.

SMART goals’, this term first occurred in the November 1981issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.

In his article for ‘The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’, He states SMART goals-

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Achievable.
  • Relevant.
  • Timely.
  • Evaluated.
  • Reviewed.

How to Set Goals?

Now here comes the most important question How to set goals in the way to achieve them?

So the way of setting goals can be divided into four parts-

  • Long Term Goals
  • Short Term Goals
  • Chunking (shortest term goals)
  • Revaluation and Praising

1. Long Term Goal setting

This is the main skeleton of your destination. Think about what is it you want to achieve. That may be your dream to be a millionaire or you want to get your dream job in a company.

Now jot it down in a book or notepad in your mobile devices.

Always remember the SMART goal setting technique.

Be specific-

There is a difference between saying, “I will be a millionaire someday” and “By 2025 I will be a millionaire”.

Always be specific.

Set Measurable Goals-

Use numbers or specific quantity when setting goals.

For example, If you want to be a successful YouTuber, then instead of saying “I will get a lot of subscribers”, say “I will get 500k subscribers by 2023.

Must be Achievable & Relevant-

As we already discussed the difference between dreams and goals. Don’t get fantasize. Always be realistic when setting your goals. For that, you must know what you are capable of and your limits (which you can push eventually).

Let’s rethink about being a millionaire in 2025, But you never learned a skill and don’t know which path to follow to achieve that goal. You only get fantasized with your dream.

That’s why you have to set the first goal for skill development, then for the upcoming 5 years goals.


Goals must be time based and has a deadlines.

When you give yourself a deadline to complete work then you must also set a reward and a penalty otherwise it won’t work.

For example, to being a successful youtuber you can set a goal to gain 5 million subscribers till 2025.

2. Short Term Goal setting-

Long term goals are important to give your main aim a proper picture but as they take too long time to achieve, A human mainly get demotivated in long run. for example, People go to gym and they think to reduce their weight and getting well shaped body. But after sometime they get demotivated because they can not see much difference within 1 or 2 months.

Actually they always think about long term goals and never set a short term goals.

So always set a short term goal.


If you want to be millionaire by 2025, and you know what skills you need to be a millionaire. So set monthly and weekly goals to gain that knowledge and apply it.

3. Chunking ( Shortest-term Goal setting)

After setting short term goals of months and weeks, Now set goals for days and hourly. Daily set 3-6 tasks to do. First examine how much time you take to complete that task and after that set goals hourly

For example-

You are working on YouTube-

  • Recording- 3 hours
  • Editing- 2 hours
  • Sound refining- 1:30 hours
  • Export, Compress- 2 hours
  • Thumbnail making- 1 hour
  • Upload & SEO- 1 hour

4.Reevaluate & Praising yourself-

Do you know?

As computers understand only Binary, the Same our mind only understands Only Reward and Penalty.

If you want to achieve something then you must have motivation and motivation comes when there is a reward for your good work and penalty for your no work or bad work.

So always set a deadline to complete a work. Set a reward after completion of a work, and if you are unable to do a work then you must set a penalty.

For example-

You love gaming on mobile games.

As you put down daily and hourly goals, then set a match on every task completion.

Besides all that always take the proper amount of break between tasks. Use the Pomodoro technique for ease.

After all that goal setting, You must reevaluate your progress and set a day( it might be the end of a month, Sundays, or fortnight) to evaluate your achievements. Revaluation tells your mistakes, where you are lagging, and what other improvements you can implement to achieve your goals.


  • Goals and Dreams are different.
  • Use SMART(ER) Goal setting Technique.
  • Set Long, Short, Shortest term goals
  • Always set deadlines
  • Use Reward-Penalty Technique.
  • Timely reevaluate yourself to improve your approach.


Check out my another article-

10 Steps that will Guarantee to make you wealthy within 5 years or less.

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