How to Avoid False Hope Syndrome and Achieve Your Goals

How to Avoid False Hope Syndrome and Achieve Your Goals

Writer: AL-Mamunur Rashid Sagar

Discover the causes of False Hope Syndrome and effective strategies to overcome it. Learn how SMART goal setting can transform your aspirations into reality.

What is False Hope Syndrome?

False hope syndrome is a term that describes the tendency of some people to make unrealistic or unattainable goals and fail to achieve them repeatedly. This can lead to frustration, disappointment, and loss of motivation. Some examples of false hope syndrome are:

  • Trying to lose a lot of weight in a short time without changing your diet or exercise habits.
  • Promising yourself to be a better person without specifying what that means or how to do it.
  • Planning to study more than before without setting a schedule or prioritizing your tasks.
  • Expecting a big change in your life after achieving a goal without considering the possible consequences or challenges.

What are the Causes of False Hope Syndrome?

There are four main causes of false hope syndrome, which are related to the way we plan and execute our goals. These are:

  • Mistake in determining the amount: We set our goals too high or too low compared to what we can realistically achieve. For example, we think we can lose 10 kg in two months when it may only be possible to lose 4 kg.
  • Mistake in determining the time: We underestimate or overestimate how long it will take us to achieve our goals. For example, we think we can finish reading a book in three days when it may take us two weeks.
  • Mistake in determining the effort: We don’t know how much hard work we need to put into our goals. For example, we think we can get 80% marks in the exam without studying enough or using effective strategies.
  • Mistake in determining the impact: We don’t realize how much our goals will affect our lives, positively or negatively. For example, we think losing weight will make us more attractive or popular without considering the possible health risks or social pressures.

How to Overcome False Hope Syndrome?

One of the most common and effective ways to overcome false hope syndrome is to use the SMART technique, which is followed by many successful organizations and entrepreneurs. SMART stands for:

  • Specific: Your goals should be clear and well-defined, not vague or general. For example, instead of saying “I will lose weight”, you should say “I will lose 5 kg in three months”.
  • Measurable: Your goals should be quantifiable and trackable, not subjective or abstract. For example, instead of saying “I will study more”, you should say “I will study for two hours every day”.
  • Attainable: Your goals should be realistic and achievable, not impossible or out of reach. For example, instead of saying “I will become a millionaire”, you should say “I will save 10% of my income every month”.
  • Relevant: Your goals should be aligned with your values and interests, not irrelevant or contradictory. For example, instead of saying “I will learn a new language”, you should say “I will learn French because I love French culture”.
  • Time-bound: Your goals should have a deadline and a timeline, not indefinite or open-ended. For example, instead of saying “I will read a book”, you should say “I will read a book by the end of this month”.


False hope syndrome is a common problem that can prevent us from achieving our goals and fulfilling our potential. However, by using the SMART technique and avoiding the four mistakes of planning, we can overcome false hope syndrome and make our dreams come true.


The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. False Hope Syndrome and goal-setting strategies can vary from person to person. It is advisable to consult with a qualified expert or therapist for personalized guidance and support. We do not endorse or promote any specific treatment or approach mentioned in this article.

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