How not to get caught up in crazy desires on the eve of the New Year

You can achieve whatever you want. Is it true? Not always. This alluring slogan leads many into a dead end, makes them waste time and energy on something that will never come true. How not to fall into such a trap? Psychotherapist Mark Goulston , in the book Keep Your Life Alive, tells you how to understand if your dream is realistic and save yourself from disappointment.

When the impossible is impossible

One day a woman came to Mark for help. She wanted to reunite with her ex-husband and gave several good reasons why their marriage would work like clockwork this time, despite the fact that the first attempt turned into a nightmare. The client knew exactly what had gone wrong and what exactly she and her ex-husband must now do to mend their relationship. It sounded very reasonable.

And only after asking about the attitude of her ex-husband to her plans, Mark realized how far from reality she was. It turns out that her ex-husband has long married another, and they already have two children.

Just because a goal looks reasonable doesn’t mean it’s realistic.

That woman turned what she wanted into something absolutely necessary and stuck to that attitude even after her goal turned into a pipe dream. She not only set herself on the path of inevitable collapse, but also allowed herself to waste time and energy on fantasies that could be used to improve her life or develop real relationships. And this is one of the worst ways to dream and plan.

Reasonable but not realistic

Our expectations in most cases are quite reasonable and justified , although not always realistic. It’s reasonable to start a new career in mid-life, but it’s unrealistic to expect it to be easy or lead to immediate success. It’s reasonable to expect a friend to understand your emotions, but this may not be possible if they are naturally rational and decision oriented.

People who set unrealistic goals for themselves allow thoughts of what they want to overshadow the arguments of reason.

In their opinion, if they really want something, it simply cannot be unfeasible. They love to bet big, but they need a Las Vegas bookmaker to calculate their odds. They themselves cannot realistically assess whether they have enough talent, resources and ingenuity to realize their dreams, and whether circumstances favor this.

To make matters worse, they are usually so sure of their bright prospects that they are unable to either make a contingency plan or emotionally prepare for a likely defeat. As a result, they do not just fail, but retreat to their original positions, and sometimes further. And each loss reinforces the need to justify themselves as quickly as possible, after which the game with minimal chances of winning becomes even more attractive for them.

Recognize that failure is possible

Thinking big is great if you’re the kind of person who can bring great ideas to life. Real creators and visionaries differ from visionaries-dreamers precisely in this: they already enjoy the path to the goal, and not just the result; they know that in case of failure they will be able to pull themselves together and move towards the goal again; they clearly assess their chances of success and are ready for a possible defeat.

If you are going to achieve something grand and maybe even unrealistic, it is important not only to have the necessary funds to achieve it, but also to make sure that failure does not knock you out of the saddle. If you want something but don’t get it, you will be disappointed. If you need something and you don’t get it, you’re at risk of depression. If you simply have to get what you want and this does not happen, get ready for complete devastation.

What to do?

Try to accurately assess the realism of your goals and set your expectations correctly. Don’t try to reach an unrealistic goal with a “I absolutely must do it” mentality. It is much safer to think of it as a need or even a desire. And first of all it concerns relationships.

Since people tend to behave unpredictably, it’s best to treat your expectations about your relationship with them as desires, not as something mandatory. If you perceive unlikely prospects as something unconditional, then you will certainly come to disappointment. But if you treat them as a game with a ghostly chance of success, which they, in fact, are, and treat what is really realistic as something possible, consider your prospects for getting everything out of life that you deserve, very good.

6 steps to a dream without defeat

  1. Ask yourself how likely it is that what you want will actually happen someday.
  2. Make a list of everything you need to achieve your goal.
  3. Take an objective look at yourself and honestly assess your ability to do what needs to be done.
  4. Rate your goal on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is totally unrealistic and 10 is totally realistic. The lower the score, the more important it is to have a contingency and failure plan and use it when needed.
  5. Set the bar of expectations – “I want to have this”, “I need this”, or “I absolutely must have this” – in accordance with the realistic goal.
  6. Try to avoid the “I absolutely must have this” mindset for something that has little chance of success.

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