Tomic, 23, has been vocal in his bid to crack the ATP's top 10 after ending last season ranked a career-high 18th in the world.
However, former world number one and 17-time grand slam champion Federer provided Tomic with a reality check after the maligned Australian lost 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-5) to Milos Raonic in the semi-finals of the Brisbane International on Saturday.
"He's been good, but then top 10 is another story," said Federer, who will face Raonic in the final following his 6-1 6-4 win over Dominic Thiem.
"The year is not just one month long or one week long. It's 52 weeks. It's every day.
"That [is what] he's been struggling to show, to be quite honest.
"Many seasons now in a row we have seen or heard that top 10 is the goal, and he's missed out on it by a long shot.
"I think before speaking so highly, maybe it's good to take it to the next level, whatever that is. We shall see."