Setting Realistic Goals ... But How?

We've all been there: we make seemingly impossible goals. But because we're usually at the beginning of the year it doesn't look so bad. There is still so much time! This could be anything: running a marathon, reaching a certain following on Twitter, or managing to write 1000 hours in a year - ha ha. Inadvertently you end up sitting in your room, eyeing your calender carefully and wondering What in the name of all that is holy have I been thinking?

Most of the time it is your own fault anyway. For some reason you always tend to aim "too" high. It looked do-able at 3AM when you made this your goal. But suddenly it is not doable, and a moment later the whole idea is ditched without even trying.

This leads to feeling depressed, incompetent and being stressed. I have discovered that the most important aspect is to be realistic when setting goals. But how do you get that done? Now that's the tricky one. However, I compiled some tips that help me set realistic goals which push me while not being unbearably stressful.

Write Down Your Goal

Especially your big goals! It doesn't really matter yet if you consider them doable or not. Write it down first.

This is rather obvious, but it helps you to keep in mind what you want to achieve. After a few months you may have already forgotten if you wanted to write 500 words per day, or 600. This way you have a rough idea where you want to go.

Most importantly, it is the easiest way to split your goal ...

Split Your Goal Into Smaller Tasks

Why would you need that? 

Simple: If you break your goal into smaller chunks it becomes less terrifying, and becomes more doable!

This year I set myself a rather ambitious sounding goal of running 400km. At first glance this sounds like a lot. Can you even think about where you could go if you moved 400km? Impossible!

No, not really, because dividing this through 52 means that I only have to jog 7,69km per week. This means either two short jogs, or one long-ish on the weekend. Suddenly, this seemingly impossible goal looks easy, and doable.

Manage Your Time

But how do can you tell that you're going to have the time for jogging 8km a week?

This is why scheduling is important. Personally, I have a weekly calender on which I write down my daily tasks & events that I can't move - like when I have to work, or meeting with friends. Of course, you're going to have weeks which are more stressful than others. But then there will be a quiet week in which you can catch up. This way you'll have a handy overview and know when and where.

In addition, by spreading the smaller tasks over the weeks you are going to be able to see progress and realize that you are moving forward. After all, validation is a good feeling.


What if you realize now that you are reaching too high? Or maybe you can do more? What if you reach your goal too soon? Now you're left with nothing to do ...

Take a moment and pat yourself on the back, but - personally - I am averse to leaving it there. Now I have some experience and can set myself a new goal, a higher one while again, managing my time and split it into smaller tasks.

However, imagine that sadly you're not doing too well? What if you don't have the time to try even more? It's a tight rope to walk on. It is okay to not always be 120%. You can learn from that as well, and the next time think more realistic. Just because you didn't reach your must this week you have not failed the whole task. And even if you don't manage the big goal ... so what? The world won't end - yet.

Do you have any tips when it comes to setting goals? Let me know!


  1. A very interesting post! I find that telling friends about my goals and letting them hold me accountable works very well for me too ;).

    1. Actually, that sounds like a good idea! ;)

  2. Hi, great tips. I find that writing them down in smaller chunks and crossing of the list as go through a month works wonders, Chloe #TeacupClub

    1. Thanks! Sometimes I do this too, it really works wonders :)


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