The Importance of Setting REALISTIC goals

Do you ever set goals that, in reality, more closely resemble wishes than attainable goals? Here’s some encouragement if you ever find yourself in that situation.

Thunderstorms are a normal part of life during springtime in Indiana. After a recent storm, I went into the backyard to discover that part of a tree had broken off and landed right on our back fence.


The next Saturday, we spent the entire day fixing the fence, cleaning up the yard and cutting the tree into firewood.

It was late in the afternoon when we finished with the cleanup and decided to split the logs into usable sized pieces. By this time, we were all pretty tired, but determined to finish the job. As I watched Bret and Hunter split the wood, I decided that I would also help out. Right about this time, Hunter picked up a very big log with a knot in the middle and announced that it was going to be a job to get it split. For some unknown reason, I decided that I was going to be the one to split that log.

Some details to consider about this decision: First, I have never split a log before in my life. Second, of the three of us, I am by far the smallest. Third, I am not build like a lumberjack. You probably will have already guessed that it would have been smarter to start my career as a lumberjack with a smaller log … but it took me a while to come to that conclusion myself. After a solid half hour of attacking the log, it was clear that the log was winning. But I was determined not to give up. The log became my nemesis and I even named him Leroy so that I could trash-talk him. After an hour, I started to wonder out loud what the difference was between determination and just plain stubbornness. Hunter offered to help “soften him up,” but I refused. Another half hour later, when I could barely lift the ax, I finally swallowed my pride and let Hunter work him over for me.

The knot in the log made it nearly impossible for even Hunter to get it split. In the end, Bret joked that I just split little kindling pieces off the sides – the knot in the middle never gave way.

Here’s the application – I had a dream of being Mrs. Lumberjack and set my goal accordingly. The problem was that it was just an impossible dream. In the pursuit of my dream goal, I overworked my arms and shoulders so much that I could barely hold a pen to write for a couple of days. I did more damage than good while I was chopping away at Leroy for at least an hour and a half. I was frustrated, sore and wasted time because someone else more capable than me could have been using the ax during that time.

I agree with the statement that we should set stretch goals – but they must be realistic and attainable. If we set impossible dream goals, it actually sends us backward in the wrong direction. Dream big and push yourself, but know yourself well enough to admit your limits.

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