Why goal-setting is terrible advice for a happier life
I’ve been a goal addict for as long as I can remember. My obsession with success made me hustle after big things – and I did well. I got the big house, the relationship, and the successful business. I got to see the world with my work, and as a financial expert, I accumulated a lot of wealth. I thought I’d ‘made it’, until all the things I’d worked so hard to achieve started to crumble away.
My marriage failed, I lost a lot of money, and I realized that despite all the things I’d achieved, I wasn’t happy.
It was a sobering moment. How could I have achieved so much yet not feel the way I wanted? Something had gone wrong, and I wanted to know what it was. So I decided to go within.
With the help of journaling and coaching, I realized goal setting had made me fall short. It was a wake-up call that changed the way I live my life.
So if you’ve been doing everything’ right’, but are still chasing, stop setting goals!
Instead, test the approach to life in this article. It might just hold the answers you want.
Why goals create failure
The self-improvement world is obsessed with goals – and with surface-level thinking, you can understand why. Goals give you focus and direction. They stop you drifting, and they help you feel in control of your life.
But there’s a BIG problem with goal setting that most people don’t know about [or don’t want to talk about].
GOALS KEEP YOU STUCK IN THE FUTURE.
Think of it this way. Your goals are a constant reminder that you’re not where you want to be.
In other words, your goals are a daily tap on the shoulder reminding you that you’ve fallen short and you’re not [yet] good enough. And it gets worse! Goals also reinforce the myth that happiness and success exist in the future – not in the present. That’s because goals attach the feelings you want to an arbitrary future milestone that you may or may not hit.
Think for a moment about the impact of attaching your happiness to your goals:
- You have to wait to feel great
- You not settled because you want to be somewhere else
- You wait for future achievements and effectively wish your life way
And if all that wasn’t bad enough, when you do hit your goals, the feelings of success and happiness are usually short-lived – because you quickly move onto the next thing you desire.
Which once again is out there in the future.
When we live for our goals, we’re always chasing and never fulfilled. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
You’re not chasing the ‘thing’; you chase the feeling attached to the thing
Want to know why we’re goal obsessed?
It’s because we live in a consumer-driven world set-up to sell you more. Advertising pushes your scarcity buttons and tries to convince you you’re not good enough. It also provides ‘solutions’ and perpetuates the belief that life will be better in the future – all you’ve got to do is fix what’s ‘broken’.
With all these outside influences and messages, it’s no wonder we attach the things we want to physical achievements, accomplishments, and materialistic purchases.
That’s why goals are so attractive – because they promise a way to get you what you want.
But here’s what you don’t know about goals.
It’s not the result that drives you.
Instead, it’s the feeling you attach to the achievement of that goal.
You can test this ‘truth’ for yourself right now.
Think about the goal you’re currently chasing and notice it’s the feeling you want. For example, it’s the way you feel when you imagine a promotion or the way you feel when you see yourself moving around your dream home.
You don’t desire travel, wealth, or a partner. Instead, you want:
- The adventure and spontaneity travel represents
- The security, freedom, and abundance that money creates
- The love you’ll feel in a soulmate relationship
In other words, you don’t need to set goals to live a great life.
YOU can have what you want NOW.
When you let go of goals, you get out of the matrix. You escape the belief that happiness exists in the future. You’re no longer prepared to settle or take less in the present. You don’t fall for the Retirement Trap, stay in relationships that don’t make you happy, or do things you don’t enjoy.
You don’t wait.
Instead, make changes to your life so you can feel the things you desire NOW. For example:
- You feel adventurous now by seeing your city as a tourist
- You ‘own’ a home by the sea by booking an Airbnb
- You become a speaker by live streaming on your phone
You dump your goals, adopt intentional living, and focus on feelings – then live in a way that makes those feelings a reality.
What are intentions?
An intention is simply a statement of how you want to feel. For example, happy, productive, or successful. With an intention set, you let the day decide how those feelings manifest.
In this way, intentions allow you to live in the now because you’re not attached to an outcome. When you don’t care how you feel those feelings, you stay open to what’s in the now and shortcut your way to a great life.
This doesn’t mean you settle for less. You could [and should] want vast abundance, happiness, and freedom. The difference is you’re no longer dependent on the house, the relationship, or the money to feel great. You’re not waiting for the future to feel fulfilled. Instead, you feel fulfilled now.
This approach to life stops us from wasting time and empowers us to make the most of every moment. It breeds deep fulfilment, which is why we empower our members down this path.
If you want to join them, book your free Financial Happiness Conversation today.
Disclaimer: All information contained within this article is of a general nature. Do not rely upon it when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.