General Question

boettiger's avatar

Is it better to set unrealistic goals or achievable ones?

Asked by boettiger (123points) September 7th, 2008

Overheard on Twitter: “Today I’m setting completely unrealistic goals. Really reaching for the stars, knowing that I won’t actually achieve them, but needing to free of obstacles like the word ‘can’t’.”

So, is it better to set realistic, measurable and achievable goals for oneself? Or is it better to create a grand vision that is obviously way too aggressive, on the understanding that it will not be achieved, but that even a lesser achievement will provide benefit?

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18 Answers

Darknymph's avatar

A saying anything is possible if you don’t know what you’re talking about.

wildflower's avatar

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark”

dollfacee's avatar

i think it is better to set goals that are wayy up there. the kind where its possible and very realistic, but you will never actually get there. the fact that you know its actually possible makes you try your hardest to achieve it.

rss's avatar

I like to do both! While the big goal may be unattainable, many steps on the way are.

Darknymph's avatar

Hey dollfacee welcome to the collective, and my friends are desperately trying to blast for the stars.

augustlan's avatar

Hope (reach,try) for the best, plan (be realistically prepared) for the worst.

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

Sometimes people need to live their life with a dream rather than live their dream.

marinelife's avatar

One limits oneself by even saying that a goal is unrealistic. Set the goals that you want.

cyndyh's avatar

I think of the dream as the big overarching idea that may or may not be achievable. The goal has a plan and a time-line, and in my view, should be achievable but ambitious within the time-frame you’ve set.

stratman37's avatar

Set HUGE goals, seemingly impossible ones, and include smaller, achievable SUB goals to get there!

wundayatta's avatar

One problem with setting unrealistic goals is that you can never be a success. I mean, you never even get close to your goals (by design). It really sucks being a complete and utter failure.

Now, if you’re saying to set such goals as a strategy to maybe get a little further than you would have had you set realistic goals, then you really aren’t setting unrealistic goals, are you? You’re just playing a game with yourself. Pretending to have unrealistic goals, while secretly having realistic goals. Thus you can consider yourself successfull falling far short of your goals because, in fact, the “far short” was what you were actually aiming for.

I did the wrong thing in my life. I never set goals, so I would never be a failure. It didn’t work. My mind tricked me. It turns out that I do have impossibly high goals, that are unattainable, which, essentially, means my life has been a waste.

Sorry for being such a downer, but it just goes to show you how my life has been a waste. In the future, I advise you to just hit the ignore button (in your head) when you see my name.

rowenaz's avatar

You never know what is possible until you try the impossible.

cyndyh's avatar

@daloon: If that response is indicative of a pattern with you, I think I’d prefer to just read the first half of what you have to say and stop there. You start off with some really good things to say -well reasoned and well said. I’d prefer to skip the part where you get down on yourself. Take care.

wundayatta's avatar

@cyndyh: me, too. I wish that other stuff never even got thought.

marinelife's avatar

@daloon Fight the negative self talk. It can be done! You are worth it!

One interesting thing about goals is that a university study showed that the act of simply writing one’s goals down increased the likelihood of achieving them significantly.

wundayatta's avatar

One goal is to become a published writer, and to make my living writing.

Another is to write a novel or memoire that has a big impact on how people see themselves and behave.

There. A test of that theory.

Third, learn to feel ok about myself.

marinelife's avatar

Admirable and acheivable. Go for it.

cyndyh's avatar

@daloon: I hear you. I’d like reading what you have to say. Let us know when you have it written.

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