Why It’s Important To Set Realistic Goals And Still Aim High


Why It’s Important To Set Realistic Goals And Still Aim High

Setting realistic goals reduces the stress we put on ourselves, and increases motivation and opportunities for personal growth and professional success.
Realistic goals

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

– Michelangelo, the sculptor not the ninja turtle

Setting the right goals ends up leading to sustained progress in all areas of life, including:

  1. Personal Satisfaction
  2. Professional Development
  3. Social Relationships

Setting realistic goals is important for many reasons, and learning how to set realistic goals will create a pathway toward success that is the perfect mix of challenging, lofty, and attainable.

What is the difference between a realistic goal and an unrealistic goal?

Setting realistic goals involves creating objectives that are challenging yet attainable given your current circumstances, social skills, network, resources, and technical capabilities. They are grounded in reality and are often more specific, measurable, and time-bound. This can lead to higher motivation, better focus, and a greater sense of achievement when the goals are met.

On the other hand, setting unrealistic goals involves setting targets that are excessively ambitious or beyond your current capacity to achieve. While they may be inspiring, they can also be demotivating and stressful if they are consistently unmet. They may lack specificity and measurability, and they may not be grounded in your actual circumstances or abilities.

Why Is Setting Realistic Goals So Important?

Realistic goal setting plays a major role in personal and professional development. Your goals can provide a clear direction, motivate action, and it helps you turn vague aspirations into achievable tasks, which ultimately boosts your self confidence.

1. Stress Reduction

Setting realistic goals can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels. When tasks and objectives seem overwhelming, it can lead to stress. However, by breaking down these tasks into smaller, more manageable goals, it can make the overall objective seem less daunting. This not only reduces stress but also makes the process more enjoyable.

  • Realistic goals make large tasks seem more manageable.
  • Reduced stress levels lead to better mental health.
  • Stress reduction can improve overall productivity and performance.

2. Better Time Management

When goals are realistic and well-defined, it becomes easier to manage time effectively. You can allocate appropriate time slots for each goal, ensuring that each task is given the attention it requires. This can lead to improved productivity and efficiency.

  • Realistic goals allow for effective time allocation.
  • Improved time management can lead to increased productivity.
  • Effective time management can prevent burnout and maintain work-life balance.

3. Improved Problem-Solving Skills

Realistic goals often require you to think critically and come up with effective strategies and solutions. This process can significantly enhance your problem-solving skills. Furthermore, overcoming challenges associated with achieving your goals can boost your confidence and resilience.

  • Setting realistic goals encourages critical thinking and strategic planning.
  • Overcoming challenges can boost confidence and resilience.
  • Improved problem-solving skills are beneficial in various aspects of life and work.

4. Greater Accountability

Clear, realistic goals make it easier to track progress and hold oneself accountable. By setting achievable goals, you can effectively monitor your progress, identify areas of improvement, and take necessary action. This accountability is crucial for personal growth and team development.

  • Realistic goals make progress tracking easier and more effective.
  • Accountability can lead to improved performance and productivity.
  • Greater accountability fosters personal growth and team development.

5. Strengthened Resilience

When you set and meet realistic goals, you build resilience as you learn to navigate challenges and adjust your strategies. Each hurdle overcome in the pursuit of a goal strengthens your ability to withstand setbacks. This resilience is a valuable skill that can be applied to various aspects of life.

  • Goal setting and achievement foster resilience.
  • Resilience can improve your ability to handle setbacks and challenges.
  • Strengthened resilience can enhance overall wellbeing and success in various life areas.

6. Encourages Continuous Learning

The process of setting and achieving goals often requires you to acquire new knowledge or skills. This fosters a culture of continuous learning, which is crucial for personal and professional growth. Therefore, setting realistic goals can be seen as a catalyst for lifelong learning.

  • Goal setting often involves learning new skills or knowledge.
  • Staying curious and open to learning can improve adaptability and versatility.
  • Continuous learning enhances personal and professional growth.

7. Collaboration and Teamwork

Achievable goals in a personal context leads to collaboration and unity. Realistic common goals strengthen interpersonal relationships and promote shared responsibility and mutual support.

  • Realistic goals promote effective teamwork and collaboration.
  • Teamwork can lead to better solutions and improved performance.
  • Beyond career growth, effective collaboration enhances interpersonal skills and relationships.

8. Increases Flexibility

Realistic goal setting includes the ability to adapt and change as circumstances evolve, promoting flexibility. This adaptability is crucial in today’s rapidly changing world, where individuals and organizations must be prepared to adjust their strategies and goals in response to new information or changing circumstances.

  • Realistic goals promote adaptability and flexibility.
  • Flexibility is crucial in a rapidly changing world.
  • Being adaptable can lead to better outcomes and success.

9. Enhances Job Satisfaction

When goals are achievable, you are more likely to meet them, leading to a sense of accomplishment and increased job satisfaction. Achieving goals consistently leads to people feeling more successful and valued.

  • Realistic goals can increase job satisfaction.
  • Achieving goals can lead to a sense of accomplishment.
  • Increased job satisfaction can improve productivity.

10. Promotes Work-Life Balance

When goals are realistic, there’s a clearer distinction between work and personal time, which can improve overall life satisfaction. Realistic goals ensure that work doesn’t consume all your time and energy, allowing for a balanced lifestyle.

  • Realistic goals can improve work-life balance.
  • A balanced lifestyle can lead to improved mental health.
  • Work-life balance is crucial for overall life satisfaction.

11. Motivation To Reach Long-Term Vision

Realistic goals are stepping stones to larger ambitions, helping to maintain focus on long-term vision and aspirations. Each small, realistic goal achieved serves as a confidence boost, propelling you closer to your ultimate vision. Therefore, setting realistic goals can be seen as fuel for your long-term vision.

  • Realistic goals can keep you focused on your long-term vision.
  • Achieving small goals can boost confidence and motivation.
  • Keeping an eye on the long-term vision can lead to greater success.

How can I set realistic goals?

Setting realistic goals involves several steps. 

Be Specific 

First, you need to clearly define what you want to achieve. Be specific about the outcome you desire and make sure it’s measurable. 

Be Objective

Second, consider your current circumstances, resources, and abilities. Ensure the goal is challenging but within your capacity to achieve. 

Be Aware Of Time

Third, set a timeline for achieving the goal. This adds a sense of urgency and can motivate you to take action. 

Be Vigilant

Finally, regularly review and adjust your goals to ensure they remain relevant and achievable. If something, or someone, is getting in the way you may need to learn to say no.

Setting Realistic Goals: Dos and Don’ts


  • Do set clear and specific goals.
  • Do break down large goals into smaller tasks.
  • Do set goals that are challenging but achievable.
  • Do regularly review and adjust your goals.
  • Do set both short-term and long-term goals.
  • Do celebrate small victories.


  • Don’t set too many goals at once.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others or set goals based on what others are doing.
  • Don’t ignore the process in favor of the outcome. Achieving a goal is often about more than just the end result and requires a level of outcome independence.
  • Don’t be rigid with your goals. Be flexible and willing to adapt your goals as circumstances change.
  • Don’t ignore small progress. Every step towards your goal, no matter how small, is progress and should be recognized and celebrated.
  • Don’t set goals without considering the time, energy, and resources necessary to achieve them.

Need Help Setting Realistic Goals?

Setting clear, written goals and having someone to share your progress with can greatly increase your chances of success.

Jaunty is dedicated to enhancing your social life and social skills. We believe that everyone can successfully improve their communication skills and social life. We offer comprehensive programs that integrate the best practices from philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral sciences. Our approach is designed to make people skills learnable and accessible to everyone, regardless of their current capabilities or past experiences.

Working with a social skills coach from Jaunty can provide you with the support, guidance, and tools you need to set and achieve realistic goals.

The Social Skills Masterclass has helped thousands of people achieve the life they’ve always wanted, and we can help you:

  • Understand your capabilities and limitations to set achievable goals
  • Learn strategies to break down large goals into manageable tasks
  • Boost your confidence and motivation to pursue your goals
  • Improve your problem-solving skills to overcome challenges
  • Enhance your resilience and adaptability to navigate setbacks
  • Develop a continuous learning mindset to acquire new skills and knowledge

With Jaunty, you can gain the skills and confidence you need to set realistic goals and achieve them, propelling you towards a more fulfilling and successful life.


Eric Waisman

Eric Waisman

Founding Instructor

Liked the article?

Help us reach more people