Setting Up Goals – And Why You Should Not

stop sign, cartoon person

For as long as I can remember, everyone was talking about the importance of setting up goals.

And I have done that because this is what you are supposed to do if you want to have certain things in life.

But this always felt off to me.

However, I did not dare to trust my intuition, because this is what a responsible adult must do to be successful.

So I followed the advice of the experts and diligently made goals in my professional and personal life.

But there came a time when I matured enough to trust my instincts and go with them.

So here, I am going to make a crazy statement and if not fully convince you at least make you see my point.

I don’t like setting up goals. They are very limiting and counterproductive.

Now, why would I say such a silly thing?

If you attempt to make a goal, you are limiting yourself to only the possible goals that you know of.

What about all the other possibilities that you don’t know exist yet?

You cannot aim for something that you are not aware of yet.

Let me give you an example.

In my 20 years of professional life, at least twice I got a great job opportunity in a field that I had no idea existed. It turned out to be a perfect job for me at the time. I could have never set up a goal like that because I simply did not know that those possibilities existed.

Another problem with setting up goals is that you don’t really know if they will be useful overall.

Why do we set up a goal in the first place?

We do that because we think that achieving that goal with give us something that we want.

And we think that that something will make us feel good.

So our ultimate goal is to feel a certain way; basically some sort of a good feeling.

What is missing here is that we have no way of knowing if the goals that we have set up for ourselves will get us to the ultimate goal of feeling good.

Let’s look at an example.

I have set up a goal to work to get a job at a certain company because I think this will allow me all sorts of professional opportunities.

So I got the job and technically achieved the goal, however, my boss is a micromanager that blocks all possible advancements for me.

In this situation achieving the goal was completely useless because it did not give me what I really wanted. A feeling of achievement, professional fulfillment, excitement, etc.

You had no way of knowing this and could not have prevented it from happening in the first place.

So, what I am proposing here is to focus on what we really want to achieve and allow life to get us there.

While this at first glance seems to be the same, it is not.

If you focus on how you want to feel, the approach will completely change.

You will not be setting up SMART goals.

Three Options

The way I see it, there are three really good alternatives to setting goals:

  1. Let life take you where you need to go.  This one is my ultimate hope. But this is also the hardest. Most of us believe that we have to try to control life to get ourselves where we think we want to go. I’m starting to trust the universe and believe that it knows more than I do. It knows better what is the best thing for me. If I could only let go and have total trust, I’m sure my life will be more than I have ever imagined. You might not be ready for that just yet but that’s ok, you could start with the second option.
  2. Work on developing good habits instead of goals. If you are not ready for letting the universe take control of your life, you can work on developing good habits instead of setting up goals. For example, I  could say I will write for my blog for 10 minutes a day instead of setting up a goal of let’s say 3 posts a week. In that way, I am developing a habit of writing daily instead of setting a specific goal that will most likely fail and make me feel really bad about failing to achieve it.
  3. Work on feeling good. This is what we all want in the end anyway. This is why we do what we do, because we think this will get us feeling good. So why not start with that goal in mind. Develop a habit to look for the positive aspects of any situation. That will definitely improve the way you feel.

Some say that life without goals is empty and pointless.

If this is where you are in your life, then that’s fine too but I would really urge you to look for a deeper meaning in life.

Life must be about something more than just coming up with a checklist of goals and working on accomplishing them.

Bu the truth is, you are where you are, and you will get to where you need to be when the time is right.

My only goal here is to possibly help you see a different point of view.

If goal setting seems not right to you, don’t do it.

Trust your intuition, you don’t have to follow the masses.

How goal setting is pointles is illustrated perfectly at many jobs.

May companies have policies that require employees to set goals for the upcoming year.

I personally have never found this productive or even useful.

For most people, when this cumbersome task is due, they come up with things that they would have done anyways as part of their regular jobs, because why risk a bonus or lower salary increase that is based on those goals.

I like learning new things, I also love taking on new challenges throughout the year but they are never as a result of a goal setting.

Usually they just come up or an opportunity presents itself and I go with it.

The only point that I trying to make is don’t stress over it.

99% of the world will tell you that this is what you need to do and when that fails to give you a sense of achievement or success (because it will) you will feel like a failure. You will start questioning if you are doing it wrong or if there is something wrong with you.

Stop that nonsense.

Make goals if your company requires you to do so or if you feel like to you have but allow space for the unexpected, unplanned opportunities to come your way.

Those are the things that will make you feel happy and fulfilled.

Those types of opportunities will make you will onew with life in perfect harmony.

Have a little faith and let go of some of the control.

Allow life to surprise.

it will take you places you have never even dreamed of if you only allow it.

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