Realistic Goals Vs. Idealistic Goals

Setting goals is important. Setting realistic goals is even more important.

This sounds so obvious, right? But it’s taken me FOREVER to realize this. Honestly, I only realized this, like… a few weeks ago? Sometime in April, maybe? It dawned on me that I could actually achieve more of my goals if I set realistic goals, not idealistic goals.

This idea – realistic goals versus idealistic goals – has been on my mind a lot lately because each May, I like to write a post (or two) describing my goals for the upcoming summer. I’ve been doing this since 2012, I believe, and it’s a lot of fun. Also, it helps me to remember what my goals actually are – writing things down always helps to cement facts in my mind.

But those goal-themed posts also create a lot of stress for me, EVERY FREAKING SUMMER. Because I tend to include everything on my list of goals. Waaaaay too many things.

I want to do it all, and I need to realize that I can’t.

For example, each and every summer I make a ginormous list of books I want to read, and then I… end up reading less than half of them. And feeling HORRIBLE about it.

When making goals, I need to begin considering the following thingies:

  • How much time can I realistically devote to [insert goal here]?
  • Am I prioritizing the things I want to do over the things I have to do?
  • Will I have enough time to accomplish [insert goal here] and the things I need to do?
  • Have I lost my enthusiasm for [insert goal here], thereby turning something that was originally fun into a chore?

So this summer, one of my goals is to become better at setting realistic goals. I have a HUGE problem when it comes to turning fun activities into a chore, for example. I have, like, goal-setting overkill or something.

I mean, I love reading, but setting ridiculous goals last year basically killed my love of books for a while, and sent me into a reading slump that I’m still struggling to escape. Reading should be FUN, but when I set unrealistic, ridiculously high goals like “read seventy-five books this summer,” it’s just… not fun anymore.

I need to set realistic bookish goals (and realistic goals in general), such as twenty or twenty-five books. I need to realize that I mostly likely won’t have time to read everything I want to read. I need to realize that changing my goals slightly is OK, too: Maybe at the beginning of the summer I’ll want to read [insert science fiction novel here], but later on I’ll swap it out for another sci fi novel. Or maybe I’ll read something from a completely different genre instead. Or maybe I’ll use that time to do something that’s NOT reading.

Anyway. You’ll see several goal-related posts within the next few weeks as we get closer and closer to summer, and hopefully this time around I’ll be more realistic. I want to do ALL THE THINGS but that just isn’t possible for anyone who’s not Superwoman. And I am not Superwoman. I am Tiny Dorky Girl. And I need to set realistic goals, and not add everything in the world to my to-do lists.


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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11 Responses to Realistic Goals Vs. Idealistic Goals

  1. Miriam Joy says:

    Currently my only goals are “stay alive for the next four weeks” and “pass my exams”. Even those look a little idealistic sometimes…

  2. Sooooo true. I think my goals for this year were a bit idealistic – I didn’t realise how difficult my last year of high school would be! Although I tend to set monthly goals now, so they’re a bit easier to manage.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I think I might try monthly goals once I head off to college… I’ll create a “master list” of goals and then break them into more manageable chunks! 😀

  3. Cait says:

    I’m opposite. xD I usually set very realistic goals and forget to aim very high at all, heeh. But ohh, I love writing lists of goals. I wrote a list of 22 things I wanted to accomplish this year and have so far done NONE. -_- They were totally realistic goals too, gosh darnit. I’ve just been notoriously unmotivated to be arty. I think realistic and ambitious goals are great, but you’re so right! There needs to be balance.
    I wanna be supergirl. Where can one sign up for superpowers?

    • nevillegirl says:

      *patpat* See, that’s what I feel like EVERY summer – like I’m not motivated to do anything/accomplish any of my goals! But I really, really want to THIS summer, so I’m hoping that being realistic will help.

  4. Pingback: Summer Reading Goals, Part I | Musings From Neville's Navel

  5. Pingback: Summer Reading Goals, Part II | Musings From Neville's Navel

  6. Pingback: Plans For The Summer Of 2015 | Musings From Neville's Navel

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