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How to Set Realistic Goals to Avoid Burnout

How to Set Realistic Goals to Avoid Burnout

You can experience burnout when you are constantly overwhelmed, emotionally exhausted, and stressed out with workload or life responsibilities. To avoid that, one of the things you can do is reevaluate your work goals and life priorities.

When you were younger, you set big goals and gave all your energy to achieve them. It is great to have big dreams and ambitions, and there is nothing wrong with that, but you also must set realistic goals on your journey toward them. The smaller milestones that you hit can help you stay optimistic, feel more fulfilled and happier, and avoid burnout.

Just like when you go on a long drive, you need stopovers to rest, eat, or stretch your legs, you also need stopovers in your life so you can recharge and rethink your path.

Setting Your Realistic Goals

The big question is, how do you set realistic goals to prevent burnout and achieve a healthier work-life balance?

Here are six actionable tips to help:

1. Understand and Respect Your Limits – Take a look at your current work and personal life responsibilities and accept that you have limits. You cannot say yes to everything, so you must set boundaries. This self-awareness and setting your boundaries can help you set realistic expectations for yourself and avoid going overboard with your personal limits.

When you overextend yourself, it can lead to burnout, so it is important to assess yourself and be aware of your strengths, weaknesses, and personal capacity.

Accept that you cannot do everything and be happy knowing that you cannot. Respect your limits and be kind to yourself.

2.. Break Down Big Goals into Manageable Tasks – Big, complex goals can become overwhelming, especially if you do not make significant progress or face unforeseen setbacks. Break them down into smaller and manageable tasks, which will help you realize that you are still making progress, no matter how slow.

For example, if your goal is to buy your dream home, you can break it down into the following.

  • Find stable employment that provides the income you need to achieve your home.
  • Build and maintain a good credit score.
  • Save for a down payment and work out how much you need to save per month.
  • Create a budget and stick to it.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.
  • Set a time frame to achieve the desired amount for your deposit and when your pre-approved loan may be ready or expire.

All these milestones can lead to your ultimate goal of buying your home.

3. Identify the Resources You Need to Achieve Your Goals – Part of getting overwhelmed with life or work is not having the resources to achieve your goals. Worse, you do not even know what you need to achieve them! After setting goals, you have to identify the resources that will help you achieve them. That makes your goals realistic.

Think about the money, time, training, self-development, or any help that you need. Then plan on how you can acquire these resources.

Once you know, you will be properly equipped to go forward. You will also feel more confident about being able to tackle your work and life priorities.

4. Use the Pareto Principle – The 80/20 Rule – You can use the Pareto principle when identifying your priorities. This 80/20 principle means that you can focus on the 20% of tasks that can yield 80% of the results.

When setting your priorities, look into the smaller and more manageable tasks that will give you the most impact. It helps you avoid burnout because you can maximize your productivity and reduce stress.

5. Prepare to Be Flexible – When things do not go according to your plans and expectations, do not assume the worst. You must be flexible and adaptable along the way as you work on your goals.

Accept that failure is part of the process and that you will face several challenges and setbacks. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, be willing to make changes to your plans and take a new route when necessary.

6. Keep Track of Your Progress and Reflect – When you have identified your goals and the milestones you want to hit, make sure that you spend time monitoring your progress. Reflect on your tasks, see where you can improve, and revise your plans, as necessary.

Remember to celebrate your small wins and reward yourself. Giving yourself credit where credit is due can help you feel more positive and avoid burnout.

Everyone faces challenges and setbacks. Setting realistic goals can help you prevent that from happening.

Take time to reevaluate your priorities, set more realistic goals, take smaller and achievable steps, and you will be more productive but less stressed and overwhelmed.

Need help with goal setting? Check out The 5-Minute Goal Setting Plan here: 52 Weeks Per Year gives you a plan like this one for every week of the year! Downloadable, shareable, and fillable pdfs to help you stay accountable, plan better and achieve more in less time.  Get your copy at:


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