fbpx

The problem with goals that focus on the wrong things

problem with goals
Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash

Tony Robbins talks about the common problem with goals. After reaching one, you feel great for a brief time.

Then it sinks in that you don’t feel the way you thought you would. It doesn’t change your life in the profound way you expected.

So you set the next goal, and the cycle continues.

Robbins suggests instead to strive for progress. He goes so far as to call progress the key to happiness. It’s a wonderful concept because anyone can make progress. Even a lockdown can’t stop you from inching forward.

The problem with goals is if you fall short of them, which we often do, you feel like a failure. That’s because we’re judging ourselves by what we haven’t achieved instead of how far we’ve come.

The problem with goals is if you fall short of them, which we often do, you feel like a failure. Click To Tweet

That’s why Robbin’s equation of progress with life satisfaction makes so much sense. If we spent more time celebrating our incremental wins, we’d all feel better about ourselves.

Goal-setting is still valuable but here are some tweaks to make it a more fulfilling experience.

1. Set goals around things you can control.

Rather than choosing a random number that depends on other people saying yes to you, set goals like writing a certain number of words per day. Or calling X number of prospects.

That way success comes when you complete the tasks you set out for yourself. The only way to lose is to fail to take action.

2. Celebrate incremental wins.

The problem with goals is they create stress and aggravation until and unless they are reached. When we celebrate small wins along the way (in other words, progress) we keep our joy and a level head.

This primes us to be more open to opportunities that aren’t directly related to our big goal. But that enrich our life experience in big ways. And may even move the needle toward the goal.

3. Stay open to possibilities.

The problem with goals is they have to be difficult enough to challenge us, but not so hard that we feel hopeless and give up.

That’s a fairly narrow and elusive window. And it’s often based on random numbers, which can feel dehumanizing.

Such goals deprive us of creativity and the soul-stirring experience of living life in a way that invites new and exciting adventures.

When we're dead set on our goals we miss out on opportunities that would increase our happiness. We're so focused on pushing through the closed door we miss the one wide open to us. Click To Tweet

When we’re dead set on our goals we miss out on opportunities that would increase our happiness. We’re so focused on pushing through the closed door we miss the one wide open to us.

4. Focus on feelings.

What if instead of setting goals based on numbers or outcomes, we set goals for the way we feel?

I’ve heard Tom Brady imagines his team winning the Super Bowl long before he goes into the game. He’s focused on the feeling of winning and that goes a long way toward achieving it.

I’m guessing he doesn’t care as much about the numbers on the board (as long as he has more than the opposing team).

5. Ask why you want your goal.

Is it based on intrinsic or extrinsic motivation? Are you chasing things because you want them or because you think you should want them?

Mindset coach Dean Graziosi promotes a seven-level investigation into this very topic.

You ask yourself why you want to achieve your goal. Then you take that answer, and you ask why you want that. You do that seven times until you get an answer that looks very different from your first “why”.

By going seven levels deep, you’ve gotten out of your head and into your heart. And that’s where the magic happens. Because there’s emotion attached to this deeper-level why, you stay motivated.

I’ve written about the subconscious reasons we self-sabotage. This exercise will help you tap into that subconscious to help you get what you want out of life instead.

Share this