For successful accomplishment of an objective, people have to ascertain if their goal is attainable. They have to determine what goals are most important to them. People have to weigh the time, effort and other costs that they will have to pay in the way of attaining their goals and the benefits that will be derived out of them; against other obligations and priorities that they have in their lives. Even if things don’t seem to be in their favor, people can attain most goals that they set out to achieve if they meticulously plan their steps. People have the capacity to expand their horizons, develops skills and adopt personality traits that can help them attain goals that they previously considered impossible.

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In order to make the systematic achievement of goals a reality, it is necessary to name a date by which the objective is bound to be accomplished. Otherwise, the goals remains a dream as there is no conceivable end to it. Aptly described by Milton Erickson,

“A goal without a date is just a dream.”

Deadlines are what push most people to switch towards actions. Setting flexible timelines can help keep people moving and also raise their morale. On the contrary, being too strict in terms of setting deadlines can have a negative effect by making the process of goal achievement a frantic and stressful race against time.

Perhaps the most important aspect of effective goal setting is being realistic. To understand the concept, one has to comprehend what it actually means. What is considered realistic by one person may not be realistic for another. How realistic a goals is based on a person’s self-belief, the desire to fulfil an objective, one’s mental and physical capacity along with the financial resources. These things are usually set in the present but one’s goal is to be achieved in the future. During this period, people can exercise their ability to alter all these factors in a manner that makes goal achievement seem realistic.

On the surface, one can argue the helpfulness of being realistic. If some famous explorers had set only realistic goals, they would not have sailed around the world in light of the prevailing belief at the time that the world is flat and their ship might fall of the edge. In the same way, scientists would not have been able to find a cure for diseases that were believed to incurable, as they would have appeared to be beyond the realm of reality.  Masters of neurolinguistics programming (NLP) maintain that goals need to be realistic in the sense in the sense that people can exert control over the outcome. For instance, explorers and scientists were able to accomplish impressive feats because they did not show reliance on other people and controlled their outcome to an extent.

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