What Is the Most Likely Consequence of Setting Unrealistic Goals?

As a performance and life coach, I often find that people have a lot of questions about setting goals. They ask, “Why is setting goals important?” and “How does setting goals lead to success?” These questions are fine but my experience tells me there are better questions to ask regarding goal setting. Instead, try questions like, “What types of goals should I be setting?” and “How do I get the results I want?”

When I get the first set of questions from a client, it is an indicator they are focused on the wrong aspects of goal setting. In my approach to life and mindset, I am less concerned with how or if people set goals, and more focused on empowering people to go for what they really want, which is often beyond what they have been conditioned to accept as realistic.

Much of my coaching methodology centers around aiming for big targets. My work combats the social conditioning that tells us setting big goals is unrealistic. If someone asked me, “What is a common problem with goal setting?”, my answer would be aiming too low.

The problem with having low aim

Whether you realize it or not, other people have been sending you messages your whole life that it is best to play it safe. Maybe you’ve even been told directly that if you aim too high you will only be disappointed and have your confidence reduced when you inevitably fail. The fear of having your outcomes be deemed “failures” has kept you from going after big targets. Embracing these outcomes as negative creates a belief system that limits your potential.

If you aim high, you will undoubtedly feel disappointment at times, your confidence will be threatening, and you will face failure. But that is also true when we aim low. Failure is not to be avoided, however. Failing is a part of life. It should be welcomed because failure encourages growth and expansion.

We tend to believe we are saving ourselves from disappointment and failure by setting goals that are at the same level or only slightly beyond things we know are possible,. What we are really doing is living in a limited mindset. It is your mindset that makes a goal unrealistic, not the nature of the goal.

A big goal is just a goal. Risk is involved with any goal. Removing the focus from the size or scope of a target and seeing it as just another goal, illuminates the difference between going after what you truly want and settling for what you have been conditioned to believe you can attain. It’s important to aim for targets you know you can achieve. The caveat is, going after targets you know you can hit does not mean you need to aim low.

Aiming low limits our potential. To unleash our true infinite nature, we must move beyond that limited mindset. When we are in a limited mindset, big goals are unrealistic. But if we change our perspective and the way we frame big goals, we can create a new environment. We can create a reality conducive to going after what we truly want and stop settling for what we’ve been told is possible.

How to set good goals

The real consequences of setting “unrealistic” goals are not disappointment, lost confidence, or failure. The real consequence of aiming for big targets is you may achieve them. The word consequence can have negative connotations, but the actual definition holds no such judgment. A consequence is simply a result or effect of an action or condition. By acting under the right conditions, the real consequence of pursuing seemingly unrealistic goals is getting the result or effect you want. The real consequence is you will hit that big target.

If you want that next level of success, but you believe it is unrealistic, you have created a condition, an environment, that makes it unrealistic. Taking responsibility for your environment—your mindset—by removing all conditions that limit your potential is the first step toward turning the “impossible” into just another goal.

Frame your goals as attainable, and they become accessible. Leave them in the unrealistic column, and there they will remain.

The most important step in the process of setting goals

As a performance coach, I work with clients to remove socially conditioned or self-imposed resistance to aiming high and teach people how to move into alignment with big, life-changing goals. When you think about the execution of aiming for a big target, there is a part of you that says, “Well, I’ve got a good thing going now. Why would I risk it?” That is the resistance that prevents you from being aligned with what you really want.

The consequences of not going big are far worse than setting goals that you or others may view as unrealistic. Being average or accepting mediocrity seems comfortable. But the truth is there is nothing worse than settling for less than what you truly desire.

If you are reading this post and are a part of the BiggerPockets community, I believe you want to go big. And you probably believe that you are doing the things to make that possible. And you may be.

You may be taking tons of action, hustling and grinding, and working tirelessly to reach big goals. And you may be hitting them. What I want to share with you is there is an easier and more enjoyable way to go big. You can continue to grind your way into success, or you can begin to hit big targets faster with less struggle and more ease and flow. It all starts with your mindset.

The most important step in goal setting is starting from a mindset that is aligned with success. To shift out of a limited mindset and access your true infinite nature, you must understand simply wanting to go big is not the same as aligning yourself with a big target.

To reach big targets with more ease and flow, you must believe one hundred percent that you will hit the target, no matter the size. That is how you move into alignment with what you want. To move beyond the grind and the struggle, it’s not enough to simply desire success. You must start from a place of success.

You can access a higher frame through the power of decision. Make the decision that you will hit your target. You might not know how, and you might not know when. But it doesn’t matter. Decide that you will hit your target because you won’t stop until you do.

Shift your mindset and make the impossible a reality.

Life is just waiting to give you everything you deserve and desire—you just need to shift your mindset to achieve it.

Final thoughts

From my experience, it is not about wanting to go big. It is about being in alignment with big targets. We often spend all our time in action, with no attention to our mental environment or the reality we are creating. Before you write down the first goal, check your mindset. Do you believe one hundred percent that you will be successful? If you are in doubt, you are in misalignment with the target and resisting success.

The key to doing the impossible is believing it is possible.

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