The Danger of Setting Unrealistic Goals

By Mr. Self Development

Sally wants to lose 20 pounds before the holidays.  In other words, she wants to lose 20 pounds in the next 20 days.

Sounds reasonable right?  …Well it certainly does to Sally! 

And why does this sound so reasonable to Sally? Because Sally will only be eating apples for the next 20 days.   It’s the latest “craze;” it’s called the “Apple Diet.”  …It all but guarantees losing one pound per day.

So will Sally make her goal?!

She may …but even if she does, she will gain those 20 pounds back within a few weeks after achieving the goal.

Why?  …Because Sally has set an “unrealistic goal!”

So the question is?  “What makes ‘a goal’ unrealistic?”

…and here’s the answer…

A goal is unrealistic if you don’t have the “consciousness” of the “kinds of people” who have that level of success.

By consciousness I mean, the mentality, the wisdom, the thoughts, and the perspectives.

Would the average person, who “successfully” maintains their weight, eat “only” apples for 20 days in order to lose 20 pounds? 

Of course not, because they know that if it’s not something they can do consistently, it won’t work permanently.  …Why should they even bother wasting their time?  In that time where they would have been “eating apples” they could have implemented a genuine approach, one that deals with their thinking, bringing them that much closer to their ultimate goal…

Just as soon as this “apple eating frenzy” ends for Sally, she will have to binge in order to bring balance back to her life.  Her consciousness still holds her at a certain weight, and no “Apple Diet” is going to change that.  The only way for her to change, is for her to change her thinking.  She has to begin to think like a person who successfully maintains their weight.  [I’m going to tie this back to success “in general” in a minute, hang-out with me for a second.]

In Sally’s “attempt” to act like a person who successfully maintains their weight, Sally is actually acting like an overweight person, and will ultimately get their results.   It reminds me of something that the Apostle Paul wrote, he said, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”

If a person who successfully maintains their weight “wouldn’t eat apples for 20 days,” then you shouldn’t either; if your goal is to be like them!  Sounds simple enough right?  To succeed you have to discover the consciousness of people who have the success you desire, and copy that!  Copy their thoughts, their habits, and their perspectives, through their conversations and their actions.

Don’t copy people who have the same struggle as you!?!  You and your three overweight friends all eatin’ apples!  There are no short-cuts.

…If you copy the individuals “who have your struggle,” then you will continue to struggle, it’s that simple. 

Step number one for Sally would be to commit to no longer diet using such extreme measures.  Step number two is to interview several of her friends who are succeeding in the dieting arena.  Step number three is to put together an action plan based on what her friends are doing.  Finally, she’ll need discipline, a mental picture of where she wants to go, and the motivation to get there.

So what am I saying?  I’m saying that you must adopt the mentality of the successful to succeed. 

We sometimes try to succeed overnight, and then when it doesn’t work, we move on to something else, even though the most successful people in the world couldn’t succeed the way we’re trying to succeed. 

A successful person more than anything else is a consistent person with “whatever” their strategy is; they may have periods of unusual activity, such as preparing for a marathon, or during unusual periods of business growth, but more often than not, they’re approach is a consistent one…

So what am I saying…

In a nutshell, our goals are often too unrealistic!  We don’t have the right mindset for the level of success we desire, and beyond that, and more importantly, we don’t even pursue the right mindset.  We’ve confused activity with progress!

Let me explain this with a brief parable.

There’s a caterpillar called a “processionary caterpillar,” and it is so-called because it blindly follows the caterpillar in front of it. 

Jean Henri Fabre conducted an experiment with these processionary caterpillars; he arranged them in a circle to see what would happen with the little creatures.  He wanted to see if they would continually follow each other around.  He also placed some pine needles in the middle of the circle; they love to eat pine needles.

The processionary caterpillars began to follow each other around, round-and-round they went for several days; until they all died.  Although an ample amount of food was only inches away, they kept on going round-and-round.

They had confused activity with progress!  And that’s what we do so often, and we even do this unaware.  We go from business to business, from diet to diet, from seminar to seminar [activity].  And we fail to make progress, not knowing that the answer to our problems lie in our thinking!  (We’re closer to the solution than those caterpillars were.)

…To make progress you must find someone whose doing what you want to do, and do what they’re doing.  Conduct some research, find out how long it took for that person to succeed, did it happen overnight, were they consistent for 10 years.  Was it hard, what kind of growth did they see initially.

You must adopt their thoughts…

In closing, to succeed you have to “grow-up” and become the kind of person who attracts the level of success that you desire.  I could say that last statement a thousand times and it wouldn’t be overstated.  It’s not about what’s going on around you; who you are determines where you go.  To be a success, you must be a success; you must be a success on the inside (that’s in-between your ears).

You must have the thoughts and the actions before you can have the results.  So there you have it, so, why is it dangerous to set unrealistic goals?  Because it wastes your precious moments, it wastes your very life, it wastes time that you can never get back.  So today I want you to commit to do away with “unrealistic goals,” commit to adopt the mentality of the person who succeeds, and soon you will succeed as well.

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November 11, 2010

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