Excel At Life--Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence in Life, Relationships, Sports and Career
CBT Jealousy Depression Relationships Conflict Self-efficacy Happiness Goal-setting Motivation Wellness Sport Psych

Popular Articles

Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Happiness is An Attitude

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

Popular Audios

Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

PsychNotes Index

More PsychNotes: Performance, Success and Goal Attainment

January 13, 2016       
print

What Are Reasonable Goals?
by Monica A. Frank, PhD

Goals need to be carefully assessed to determine they are what you want to do, not what you should do. Unreasonable goals cause increased stress. By eliminating the “should” goals, you are more likely to develop reasonable goals.

Some people believe we have to have “shoulds” so as to do what is required of us. But that is a dismal view of humanity because it implies people only do what is necessary because they must. In contrast, I think that most “shoulds” are either unnecessary or have an underlying desire. For instance, a parent might believe that he should make breakfast every morning for his children. However, this may actually be a desire: “I want my children to eat a healthy breakfast.”

When you think of something as a demand it feels more stressful. When you think of it as a desire you feel better about yourself. Try it out. Take a should and reword it into a desire and see how it feels when you say it out loud: “I have to make breakfast for my kids” vs. “I like making breakfast for my kids because I know it starts out their day in a healthy way.” Usually the body feels different physically just by thinking of something in a different way.

Sometimes, though, shoulds are only unnecessary demands. In the case of a person believing she should make her bed every day only because that is what she has been told to do, she may examine that behavior and ask if it is what she truly desires. She might conclude it is not the way she wants to spend her time. In such a situation, she could eliminate the should from her life.

Goals are not demands, they are something that you desire in your life. If you are feeling pressure from a goal it may be helpful to examine it and think about it in a different way—or get rid of it.

For example, if you were trying to meet the expectations of a demanding boss, you could consider why that goal is important. If it is only because you have been taught to believe that you should always meet the demands of authority, you might want to determine if it is necessary. Sometimes, such a demand may not have been the intention of the boss but an internal expectation and when a person lets go of it they may find the boss isn't so demanding after all.

On the other hand, if you have a demanding boss but see meeting the expectations of the boss as attached to a desire or goal you have such as increased pay or a promotion, you are more likely to cope with the stress of the demands. Changing the concept changes the degree of stress experienced: “My boss is so demanding—I can't take it!” to “I want to meet the expectations of my boss because it will help get my promotion” or “Meeting the expectations of my boss makes me better skilled.”

Successful people develop reasonable goals. By pursuing desires rather than demands their effort is more productive and they are less stressed.

Kindle Books by
Dr. Monica Frank



Recent Articles

Analyzing Your Moods, Symptoms, and Events with Excel At Life's Mood Log

Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

Newest Audios

Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training