How to Balance Goal Setting with Reality

Posted on: February 9, 2020, by :
Man atop a mountain he just climbed with arms outstretched.

We can often achieve our goals. But to take goal setting to another level, to achieve more challenging goals or more goals simultaneously, you need to approach goal setting differently. You need to balance goal setting with reality. And the reality that I’ve seen involves people pushing themselves harder and putting in more and more hours rather than strategically using downtime to achieve goals. It’s challenging to find the right approach to keep ourselves on track.

Based on research, we now know that downtime and recovery can help us be more effective than if we pull all-nighters or push ourselves when we’re exhausted. I’ve developed a simple goal setting worksheet to help you balance your goal setting with reality. Goals are defined next to the action steps and strategies you plan to use to make progress.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

Zig Ziglar

Goal Setting Structure

Using this structure for goal setting you’ll move from setting unrealistic goals to setting challenging, but achievable goals. And your ability to conceptualize goals will improve as well as your ability to create goals for the various areas in your life. You will come to appreciate the power of downtime for recovery.

Goal Setting Template

Customize this template for setting your goals and include downtime. This downtime ensures you have time to recover from all of the activities you’re pursuing. If you don’t include downtime, you risk decreased performance, burnout, or goal abandonment.

Preserve and Protect Your Downtime

Take the time to consider all of the aspects with the potential to impact what you would like to accomplish each day. Draft an outline of a schedule that includes your desired activities and compare it with the demands on your time and modify your draft schedule to be more realistic. You may find it tempting to use your downtime for other activities, I strongly discourage you from doing this—to achieve higher levels of productivity you should preserve and protect your downtime because it is one of the most important aspects contributing to your success.

Now that you have a good process and template for setting realistic goals, here’s your next step. Determine how the approach works for you by reflecting after 30 and 60-day intervals. Remember, to protect your downtime!