How To Set Realistic Goals To Reach Your Dream Lifestyle

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When I started my blog I thought for sure I would be replacing my job income by year 2….. ha! That was the furthest thing from reality. I was still finding my footing in year two still trying to understand all things online marketing.

Setting realistic goals can be really hard when you are fueled by dreams and expectations. But depending on the results you are looking for you have to do the best you can and take action on the “goal you can control” which is the action you took to get there.

Sometimes it takes tweaking the action. and sometimes it takes tweaking the timeline. Either way, you need to create a realistic goal and time line to make it happen.

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What Is A Goal

Before we can get into how to set realistic goals we need to be clear on what the word goal means. Come on Leah…. why are you taking us back to grade school? I know I know. It can feel really annoying to do the groundwork. 

But here’s the thing. When you know what you are striving for (in any situation) you can do better work without rushing through the process.

Goal Definition: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

A goal is not always big tasks like losing weight or reading a book a month for the year.

It can simply be a list of tasks you want to get done in a day and the result you are hoping to get from your work. 

Knowing what your desired result is will help you choose the right tasks to set your realistic goals.

notebook sitting on a table with a cup of coffee and a french press

What is a realistic goal?

A realistic goal is one that is achievable… Aaahhh there’s the kicker. 

It’s grounded in reality, taking into account your current resources, potential obstacles, abilities and circumstances. Setting realistic goals is crucial for success because it keeps you from setting unrealistic expectations and in turn giving up.

They can be broken down into smaller, manageable steps, making them more achievable. By setting realistic goals, you’re more likely to experience a sense of progress and accomplishment, which in turn builds momentum and motivation.

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Why it’s important to set realistic goals

Setting realistic goals is important for several reasons.

Realistic goals increase motivation. When you set goals that are within reach but still a stretch, you are more likely to believe in your ability to achieve them.

This belief will fuel your motivation and encourages you to take action toward your goals.

Setting realistic goals helps you optimize your time and resources if done right. By breaking down your goals into smaller, manageable steps, you can effectively plan and allocate your time and resources to the biggest needle movers. This prevents you from becoming overwhelmed or wasting your efforts on things that don’t help move you forward in your dream goals.

Realistic goals also have a positive impact on self-esteem. When you set attainable goals and achieve them, you will have a better sense of accomplishment. This boosts your self-confidence and encourages you to set more goals to tackle.

a clock, notebooks and paper sitting on a wood table

Write your goals down on paper

Writing down your goals on paper is a simple yet powerful step towards achieving them.

By putting your goals on paper, you give them a tangible form and make them more real. This helps to solidify your commitment and sets you on the right path toward success. — It has been a game changer when I feel overwhelmed with everything going on as well.

To effectively write down your goals, follow these steps:

1. Be thorough and detailed: Take the time to clearly define what you want to achieve. The more specific you are, the easier it becomes to create a plan of action.

2. Use the SMART goals technique: SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Applying this framework helps you create goals that are realistic and well-defined.

3. Think about your goals from all angles: Consider not only the desired outcome but also the resources, skills, and potential obstacles involved. This thorough evaluation allows you to anticipate challenges and come up with ways to overcome them.

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Break down your goals into small steps

Breaking down your goals into small steps is a key strategy for moving forward OFTEN. When you know what needs to be done you can jump right in and get to work. You don’t have to waste time wondering “what to do” when you have even just a few minutes of extra time. 

We have all had those moments when someone was running late and we wasted time piddling around when we could have used that time more productively. 

When you have those detailed lists within reach you are able to pick a task and get one step closer to your goal. 

Setting milestones along the way not only provides a sense of progress and accomplishment, but also helps to keep you motivated and focused on your ultimate goal.

When you have a long-term goal, it may seem overwhelming and daunting at first. But, by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable milestones, it becomes much less daunting. — This allows you to track your progress and celebrate each milestone you achieve, giving you a sense of accomplishment and fueling your motivation.

To break down your goals into small steps, start by identifying the main action steps you need to take to reach your long-term goal. Then, create smaller steps that you can achieve within a certain timeframe.

For example: If you want to put up 400 pounds of meat for your family each year on your homestead. Then break down the 400 pounds you need to hit over each quarter of the year. 

a planner sitting on a wooden table

Get Detailed With Your Plan

This goes for anything. You MUST be detailed with your plans to have a clear idea as to what you can accomplish in any given time.

I am going to break down the steps to painting a room so you can see how detailed I want you to be.

  • Decide on a color.
  • Go to the store and buy supplies.
  • Remove and box up all decor in the room.
  • Move all furniture to the center of the room.
  • Cover all the furniture.
  • Dust the walls.
  • Put painter’s tape up.
  • Trim the room with paint.
  • Pain the walls
  • Paint a second time if needed.
  • Remove all the tape from the wall.
  • Sweep the floor and check for drips.
  • Put furniture back into place.

See how detailed that is? It gives you a very clear picture of what you need to do in order to get the project done.

You need to do that for every task or goal you plan to set. For extra brownie points, I want you to go back through and add a time estimate of how long each task will take you.

clock on a brick wall

Look for things that will stop or slow you down

When setting realistic goals, it’s important to not only focus on what you want to achieve but also consider the potential obstacles or factors that may stop or slow you down along the way.

Identifying these challenges ahead of time helps you better prepare for them and increases your chances of success. — Keep in mind that there will still be things you never saw coming and you have to be ok with that. Just pick yourself up and keep going.

One major obstacle to consider is the limitation of time. We all have busy lives with numerous responsibilities, and finding the time to work toward our goals can be challenging.

It’s crucial to prioritize and allocate dedicated time to focus on your goals, even if it means making sacrifices in other areas. — If you don’t put it in your calendar or make a plan to get it done you won’t get nearly as far. I am a pretty driven person and I still don’t get as much done without a clear plan in place.

Another obstacle is limited resources. Whether it’s financial constraints, lack of access to certain tools or technologies, or limited support, these resource limitations can hinder your progress. — This is crucial for setting an accurate time frame for your goals. 

When my husband was building our garage add on I was several months pregnant and not able to be of much help. So this caused him to have to do A LOT on his own and really slowed his progress. – Which was hard to watch when I am normally right there beside him working on those types of projects.

sticky notes, money, and a phone

Your own abilities and skills can also be a factor that slows down progress. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses and look for ways to improve or leverage them to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance from experts or find courses on the topic you need help in.

Recognize the importance of maintaining balance in other areas of your life. Setting unrealistic expectations or neglecting other aspects of your life can lead to burnout and hinder progress.

Finding ways to integrate your goals into your lifestyle and ensuring overall well-being is essential for sustainable progress. <– THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Make adjustments as needed

Making adjustments to your goals as needed is an essential part of the goal-setting process. It’s important to reassess your goals based on your current circumstances and adjust them accordingly.

Remember, goal setting is not a rigid process. It’s okay to make adjustments. By reassessing your goals, thinking about the available resources, time limitations, and potential obstacles, you can ensure that your goals remain attainable and aligned with your current circumstances.

desktop computer sitting on a desk with a candle to the left and a cup of coffee to the right with a note book in the middle

Don’t Be Afraid To Stretch Yourself

Don’t be afraid to stretch yourself. You won’t get ahead in life if you are not pushing yourself to do new and bigger things. Or simply trying things you don’t think you can do.

I love the saying my business strategist says “What got you here, won’t get you to where you want to go.”

If you want different results you can’t keep doing the same old thing over and over again.

Now if you love where you are. Then, by all means, stick with what you are doing. But I have a feeling if you are reading this post then that is probably not the case.

Have your reason why for every goal

Having a reason why for every goal is essential for setting achievable and meaningful targets. When you connect your goals to a purpose, it significantly increases your focus and motivation. 

A simple exercise to determine the purpose behind each goal is to complete the statement: “I want to ____ so that I can ____.”

By explicitly stating your intentions and the desired outcome, you can dig deeper into the underlying motivation for pursuing a particular goal.

What Unrealistic Goals Look Like

Setting unattainable goals can have a negative impact. It can lead to frustration, disappointment, and a loss of motivation. 

There are definitely unrealistic goals that are not possible unless something absolutely crazy happened. Things like going from sitting couch to running a marathon in 6 months. (I’m just making that time frame up, I have no idea if that is possible or not But you get the idea.)

Something you might be able to relate to more is organizing your whole house in one week. Even if you worked on it all day for 5 days that is crazy talk.

There are going to be some things that you are just going to have to guess at how long it will take. But also be willing to give yourself some grace if you don’t reach that goal or get that project done. BUT YOU STILL KEEP GOING!!!

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Be Realistic With The Time You Have

I am going to tell on my mom for a second. She is AWFUL about trying to pack too much into one chunk of time. She will try to do 47 things on the “way out the door”. God love her. Her intentions are good but it just doesn’t work.

A big key to hitting realistic goals is making sure you have the time to do this whatever it is. It’s easy to come up with great ideas and not stop to think about what your schedule looks like.

Do you want to push hard and get the goal done as quickly as possible? Or do you need to take it in small chunks each day? If you are easily overwhelmed then you should probably take it a little at a time.

Whether you use paper planners or you are a digital gal I want you to go through and mark down everything that happens in your day for the next month that doesn’t change. Don’t forget to mark the TIME those things will take you to do. That is key to keep from cramming too much in one day. 

Things like:

  • Appointments
  • Church services
  • Pre-planned dates with your husband
  • Morning routines

Once you have all of these things marked down then you are ready to set your action plan for your goal.

 This video will help you get a clear visual on how much time you have on a day-to-day basis.

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When To Say “Not Now”

There are going to be times when you have to push things to a later date… and that is OK!

If you are looking at your calendar and you start to feel a little stress in the pit of your stomach. Then don’t push it. Always give yourself 20% more time to complete smaller projects and 30%-50% more time on big projects like a room renovation.

On top of that be willing to set aside things that are going to slow you down even for a reason. 

Rory Vaden said “When you give diluted focus you get diluted results” That is so true for any area of life.

Quick Tips To Not Get Overwhelmed

  • Write everything down. Your brain was meant for coming up with ideas not holding them.
  • Do your tasks in small chunks.
  • Do a brain dump whenever your mind is feeling like a 5 lane highway at 5 O’Clock.
  • Use the tools your brain likes best. Whether it’s a digital calendar or paper planner like this one.
  • Allow for 20% more time than you think it will take.
  • Give yourself grace.

Share your goals – (even when it’s scary)

Sharing these goals with others can be scary. Especially if you don’t know if you can hit it. This requires vulnerability and the willingness to be held accountable. Despite the fear and hesitation, sharing you goals with friends, and family members can actually be incredibly beneficial.

One of the key advantages of sharing goals is an increased level of accountability.

When we verbalize our goals to others, we create a sense of responsibility to follow through. Knowing that others are aware of our aspirations motivates us to stay on track and take consistent action.

Regular check-ins with our accountability partners can help us maintain momentum and ensure that we are making progress toward our goals. These check-ins serve as checkpoints to reflect on our actions and evaluate our strategies. — The insights and perspectives given by others who want to help you succeed can help you identify blind spots and make necessary adjustments to your plans.

Examples of realistic goals

 Here are some examples of achievable goals that encompass various aspects:

1. Homestead Business Goals:

– Increase sales by 10% within the next quarter by implementing targeted marketing strategies.

– Learn SEO in order to bring in more customers organically.

– Improve productivity by creating a central hub, processes, and systems, for everything in my business.

2. Homestead Goals:

– Provide your family with 200 pounds of chicken for one year supply.

– Create an income stream that brings in $2000 extra a year to pay for our other projects. So that the homestead doesn’t take from our family operating budget.

In all these examples, the key to setting realistic goals lies in their specificity and having a clear plan of action.

By outlining specific targets and breaking them down into manageable steps, we increase our chances of success. It is crucial to consider our resources, time, and potential obstacles when designing our goals.

notebooks and paper sitting on rustic table

Remember, realistic goals inspire us to challenge ourselves while remaining attainable. They provide a sense of direction and progress, keeping us motivated on our journey toward growth.

Here is something I want you to remember before I let you go…

No matter how well you plan your day and life. You are going to get a little overwhelmed at some point. It’s what you do with that overwhelm that matters. Are you going to let it paralyze you to the point you end up doing nothing?

Or are you going to face it head-on and find a solution to the problem? You’ve got this.

It’s time to get your money-sucking hobby to pay for itself!

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