7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Set Goals (Digest)

Note: This is a digest version of a longer essay on goal-setting.  If you agree with the points made here, read the original to understand all the whys and hows.

The common approach to setting and pursuing goals has a potential to keep you away from living a joyful, satisfying life.

See if any of the 7 reasons below applies to you. And if it does, then, it’s time to stop and evaluate.

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Set Goals

  1. Achievement: I don’t do anything without goals! In the other words, you need to set up a reason for your every action, and you revel in the fact that all your actions add up to something. Then how do you feel when it turns out what you’re doing fails to achieve your goals?
  2. Significance: I set goals so that my life has a meaning! One hitch — you don’t know when you’re going to die. How will you feel if you are to retire before achieving that goal?
  3. Future: I’ll be happy when I achieve my goals! In the other words, you are not happy right where you are, right now.
  4. Expectation: I’m supposed to have goals! Who is telling you this? Whoever it is, apparently they only accept you for what you do, not who you are. Besides, why do you need to meet their approval?
  5. Mandate: My success depends on my achieving my goals! So you define success as an outcome, not a state of being. You are not a success unless you’re producing visible results.
  6. Proof: I can’t prove myself without measurable accomplishments! Who are you trying to prove yourself to, and what you trying to prove?
  7. Self-Worth: I am not a good person unless I accomplish my goals!

Why Your Goals Are Hurting You

When you base your self-worth on accomplishments, you become more result-oriented than process-oriented. In the other words, you justify your existence based on the good results you produce. The goal of goal-setting must focus on engaging in a process in addition to producing results.  That way, your effectiveness will increase, and it will lead you to experience joy and satisfaction without having to wait for the results.

How do we do this? By setting process-oriented goals. That’s what we’ll examine in the next installment of this series.


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