Writer and therapist Pam Johnson points out there is value in achieving goals, because “Even if the goal is small, you will feel a great deal of success… Whatever the success is, you will have reached a goal. You need to learn to take pride in your goals as well. Do not think of yourself as still having a long way to go.”
She adds, “Think of it as having accomplished part of the goal and having gained the motivation to complete the entire path.”
From her article Motivation, Self Improvement and Reaching Goals Leads to Success in Life.
Certainly there are some short-term, concrete or very narrow goals that are useful steps in developing your talents and making your life better.
But many personal growth leaders promote the idea of making long-term, life mission kind of goals as a needed part of personal achievement.
I have never felt comfortable with that strategy, and here are some other viewpoints on why those ‘huge’ goals may not be so useful.
In his article What’s wrong with goal-setting, psychologist and speaker Kenneth W. Christian, Ph.D. (author of Your Own Worst Enemy: Breaking the Habit of Adult Underachievement) writes, “Listen folks. Talking about goals won’t get you there any more than going to church will get you to heaven.
“If you do not passionately believe in where you are going, don’t give goal-setting a bad name by using the word goal to describe listless me too ism. A goal has to be a real destination at which you not only aspire to arrive but for which you make every preparation and expend every effort.”
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Morty Lefkoe asks,
“Is it really important to have goals?
“I have always had a problem with goals despite the fact that for years everyone has talked about why they were important (‘How can you possibly get what you want if you don’t know what you want?’).
“I always thought it was more important to live out of my vision, what I am here on earth to do—than out of goals.
“Here’s a metaphor that I’ve used to explain my problem with goals. Imagine that my vision was to go east. Then I decided that my first goal was to go from my home in San Francisco to New York.
“So I go to the airport to get my ticket to New York and I am so focused on getting that ticket that I never notice a non-stop flight directly to Europe.
“In other words, there are so many ways to manifest one’s vision. Goals can limit your possibilities and keep you from seeing ones you never would have dreamed of. Remember my post last week about living out of question instead of answers.
“Both answers and goals limit possibilities.”
He adds that Paul Scheele, creator of the Paraliminal courses and co-founder of the publisher Learning Strategies, “said something that validated my position about goals.
“He made the point that organizations (and individuals) need to stop living in the past and in the future, and start living in the present.
“Your goals are a function of your already-existing beliefs that were formed in the past. Your strategies ultimately are a function of the meaning you’ve given your past experiences and the meaning you are giving your appraisal of the future.
“So both our goals and our strategies force us into living in the past and the future, and inhibit us from living in the present.
“Living in the present enables you to focus on what is emerging. I liked Paul’s use of that word: emerging. It is what arises moment by moment when you are living in the present.”
Excerpted from post “What I just learned will transform my life … and yours”, on Morty Lefkoe’s Blog.
More articles by Morty Lefkoe — author of the book Re-create Your Life: Transforming Yourself and Your World.
You can eliminate at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using The Lefkoe Method for free at The Lefkoe Institute.
Related article: It takes more than feeling passionate – Many people may find the advice to “Find your passion” to be useless or even fearful. Author Daniel Pink has said, “I find that question very daunting: What’s your passion? I find that almost paralyzing, in a way. I find it less paralyzing to say, What are you interested in doing next?”