My thought process behind my goals and ambitions has always been to aim high. I find that this cultivates a frame of find which is conducive to reaching higher levels compared to realistic expectations. For example, if you’re aiming to get a 24, then you will study the amount required to get a 24 and will likely get around a 22-23. If you’re aiming for a 30 with honors, then you will make sure to spend the hours and learn the details to where even if the exam doesn’t go your way you’ll likely hit around a 26-27.
This type of thinking does take some time to implement as it’s quite easy to stay in your current frame of what you’re capable of, however, I believe that if you’re able to incorporate it into your daily thought process, you’ll be more likely to achieve greater feats. It also takes mental fortitude to be able to accept “failure”, as this is more likely with loftier goals. If you’re aiming for the moon, even reaching the stars will feel like a loss. When this happens, it’s important to keep in mind that perfection is impossible and to use that feeling to push you to do better next time.
This way of thinking, however, is not for everyone. For some people making realistic goals means that they’re more likely to reach them. This then motivates them to keep going and reach slightly higher the next time so that over time they will be consistently reaching much higher than if they were to aim high from the beginning. This iterative process of aiming slightly higher than what you’re comfortable with each time is better for people who struggle with motivation when a task seems too difficult. If you’re the type of person who thinks “wow I have so much to study and the exam is so close, I don’t feel like doing anything” then this way of thinking will likely just exacerbate those feelings. If however, you’re the type of person who pushes themselves harder when a target is harder to reach, who likes the challenge, then this way of thinking could drastically improve your chances of excellence in whichever endeavour you choose to pursue.