This is the last post of the #GoalsYouAchieve series! It’s been an interesting journey writing it, because when I started I didn’t know exactly where it would go. I was learning a lot which I wanted to share, and so I began. As I worked along with the posts, I found my thinking developing and decided to run in some unplanned directions. Today, as I look back on what I’ve written and draw this series to a close, I want to throw you one final curveball:
Maybe you don’t need goals at all!
I started out this series talking about how my prior goal-setting failures were primarily because I wasn’t setting goals well. I talked about tapping into a motivation beyond the goal itself, about focusing on a positive desire (such as “I want to feel fit and strong”) rather than on lack (such as “I want to lose weight”) and about how using desire as part of goal-setting leaves room for multiple paths to getting where you want to be.
I wrote, among other things, about figuring out what you really want (to be, not to have), about how life needs to be considered holistically, and about how there’s nothing wrong with discipline, but there is sometimes something wrong with setting yourself up to fight yourself. I wrote about figuring out what ‘it’ would take, about digging deep, about facing overwhelm and about feeling vulnerable. I wrote about values, and about how crucially important it is that your goals actually matter. I wrote about changing your habits.
In many ways, it’s been a series that is more about conscious living and healthy change than it has been a series about goals at all.
Goals can be useful. They can help us focus on what really matters, help us evaluate our current habits, help us define our values, and help set us in a particular direction. They can remind us that a series of small actions can get us to a grand experience.
Goals can also be unhelpful. They can create a new set of demands, adding stress instead of bringing relief. They can be very outcome-oriented. They can damage contentment and lead to disappointment. They can inspire perfectionism. They can even be driven by fear.
Personally, I have found that goal-setting can be a great way to hone my focus and jump-start my change, but then, once I’m on my way to living the change I want or need, I don’t really need the goals anymore. After all, it’s not really all about achieving an arbitrary outcome (and we shouldn’t be measuring our lives by achieving something in a future we can’t fully control); it’s much more about living a life that’s in line with your values and purpose.
So, maybe once you’ve got your direction, you’ve got your jumpstart and you’ve got your habits, you don’t need your goals anymore.
To close out, therefore, I thought I’d leave you with some links to articles by people who live without goals and claim to be happier doing so:
“I have lived the last 100 days with no goals. And I have never been happier or more content in my life.”: 100 Days with No Goals by Joshua Fields Millburn
“Here’s the secrete: the problem isn’t you, it’s the system! Goals as a system are set up for failure.”: The Best Goal Is No Goal by Leo Babauta
“Goals (wanting to improve) are not consistent with contentment (being happy with where you are).” Achieving Without Goals by Leo Babauta
“I focused on my system and the process of doing the work. In the end, I enjoyed the same (or better) results.”: Forget About Setting Goals. Focus On This Instead by James Clear
“The nice thing about choosing a direction is that you never know what you’re going to get.” When Goals Are Important & When They Are Not by Joshua Fields Millburn
“Goals are for the unmotivated.”: Moving Beyond Goals by Joshua Fields Millburn (*)
“I do not have a daily routine.”: A Day in the Life of a Minimalist by Joshua Fields Millburn
Articles with a (*) have swear words in them, for those whom that bothers.
Thanks for reading along. It’s been a fun journey and I hope it’s been helpful to you. No post on Friday, so see you next week!
Featured Image by Blue Mix via Pixabay.