As much as I love adventure, escaping reality is impossible. For those of us who love to dream and fantasize and plan the next adventure, setting realistic expectations can be difficult.
However, being realistic about a project or a novel or a vacation can be key to enjoying it. If you set up lofty, unrealistic expectations, experiencing disappointment when they’re not fulfilled can be crushing. Similarly, underestimating how long something will take or how much you’ll spend on a trip can cause problems like missing deadlines or overspending.
A few tips of mine for staying realistic:
- Do your reseach. Before trying something new, get a good idea for what a new project could be like. I do this with so many things (although don’t let this go so far that you overthink it, like I talked about a few days ago) from publishing to traveling to learning how to use new software. I’ll read a book on it, do a tutorial, or read through a few articles before giving any kind of big project a shot.
- Make things manageable. There are lots of ways to make a project more realistic and more doable. I make detailed to-do lists with lots of easy-to-check off tasks, and I map out careful timelines. This helps me stay realistic about what I need to accomplish.
- Know your limits. Whether it’s how long it will take to do something or how much you’ll spend doing it or even when you’re getting to the breaking point of fatigue or overspent creativity, knowing your limits can keep you sane.
Being realistic is challenging, but it does pay off when you’re able to plan and execute something well.