a reality check

reality check

An event or outcome that forces one to accept or reevaluate the reality of one's position or situation. I think the government's latest round of legislation is a reality check to those still holding onto the belief that they had lower-class citizens' best interests in mind. The loss against Scotland is bound to be a reality check for England that they need to rethink their strategy on the field.
See also: check, reality

a reality check

COMMON A reality check is something that forces you to accept the truth of a situation. This defeat is a reality check after two victories against reasonably good opposition. Today's poll is a reality check for those who believe that the government faces certain defeat.
See also: check, reality