The Hidden Significance of Setting Goals
I don’t think I’ve ever read anything or given consideration to the meaning behind goals before, so apologies if I spout off some obvious shit. But I had an epiphany, so I decided to write about it.
Forgot about the goal for a minute. I’ve rendered it irrelevant because I want to focus on all you stand to gain from sticking the bastard in the back of the net.
We all know setting goals and reaching them is a good thing. Set goals, crush them, punch a fucking bear — yea!!!
Personally, I always set goals. Sometimes I reach them, sometimes I miss, and sometimes I flat out give up. I don’t know about you, but I can tell you the latter has been a far more prominent fixture in my life over the former — at least up until a few years ago.
I’ve never really stopped to consider the ripple effect or hidden benefits from reaching a goal. I might give the MailChimp Chimp a virtual high five every time I send a newsletter out or offer myself sporadic pats on the back, but that’s it.
Goals — at least my achieving them — are something I rarely share or get excited by. Maybe that’s because my accomplishments thus far have been shit when lined up with unrealistic expectations? That actually makes sense because I’m cursed by perfection. So, when I do reach a goal, I’m straight back to dangling a dildo in front of my face, which I can never quite grab because I always replace it with a bigger dildo* which keeps it out of reach. As a result, I never take a moment to absorb the significance of whatever the goal is and all I stand to gain from it. And I think a lot of us fall victim to this. We deem many of our goals irrelevant because it’s not the ultimate goal. It’s only worth celebrating when you’re standing on top of the summit!
*I should point out that I have no affection or desire to grab a dildo. It just so happened that it sprung to mind and rhymed. And that’s something I’m proud of. Feel free to dangle whatever works for you!
The other day I reached a goal I set for myself roughly two years ago. When I set it, I thought I’d probably reach it within 6–12 months. Could I have gotten there sooner? Absolutely. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
As Tony Robbins says…
“We overestimate what we can achieve in a year and underestimate what we can achieve in a lifetime.”
Isn’t that nice? And, oh, so true. I’ll bet — like most of us — you’re overly self-critical. The pace of this world has led us to believe we need a resume loaded with monumental accomplishments for all to envy — which really just fucks us up to the point we hardly accomplish anything. At least from our own distorted view.
It actually gets worse…
The Internet feeds unrealistic expectations and pretty much confirms you’d have to be a dipstick to not reach these overly ambitious goals, so you get excited and started sharing them with anyone who’ll listen. That’s motivating right? Accountability. What better way to dial up the pressure than by telling the world you’re Batman? And when you realize they never shipped the utility belt, it will become a hell of a lot easier to give up than to go on and potentially fail. Because quitting isn’t failing. It’s quitting. It’s an out. You’ve simply lost interest and decided to try something else. Let’s just agree that others' opinions carry significant weight and you’re not quite sure you want to run the risk of potentially failing while others might be looking on, or worse, poking you with a stick while reminding you of all you said you’d do?
Not only have you to manage your expectations, you’ve to manage others expectations also.
The only thing relevant to my goal is that I reached it. I punched the fucking bear! Or caught the dildo if you prefer?
The real benefit of reaching your goals is the confidence and belief you stand to gain. Upon evaluation, you put yourself in a position to set and chase more ambitious goals, knowing right well you can achieve them because you understand the biggest obstacle you face is yourself. You learn to enjoy the journey without necessarily having to reach your final destination.
If I had listened to most people, I would never have reached this goal. Not a chance. I’d have given up a long time ago because that’s what I’ve always done. I didn’t have the fight in me. I’d have stuck that shit in the failure file and found another square to start from. But you fucking have to fight in this world to have any chance of living your best life.
This time I only listened to my gut, and even though nothing has technically changed from yesterday, everything would be different if I hadn’t followed this through. I would have taken two steps back in my confidence instead of one step forward. All I did was set a goal, block out the doubt, and prove to myself I could reach it. And right now, nothing else matters.
It sounds like I’m tooting my own horn. I’m not. I don’t have much to honk. I’m sharing this because, in all likelihood, you’re holding back on chasing something important to you because you’ve reservations about your ability, or more likely, others' opinions. And I think you should block that shit out right now because if you want to grow, you’re going to have to challenge yourself and fail from time to time.
Most of us are filled with doubt, and because of this, it doesn’t take much of a nudge from somebody else — whether they’re a loved one or a complete prick — to push that doubt over the edge, so you give up on yourself. If you already have doubts, one innocent passing remark can be enough to justify quitting let alone being told straight up that you shouldn’t be chasing your dreams.
Being paid to crush the hope of those with doubt would probably be the easiest job in the world. I know I’d accept commission only for that role. Every single time. Even those who love you most and only want the best for you will channel their doubts through you because they don’t necessarily understand where your coming from, believe they could do it, or know what’s driving you. How are they to know? Nobody knows what you can or can’t do. That all lies within you. Other people will belittle you for fear you’ll actually get what you want, and as a result, they’ll feel envious of you. They don’t want to change. So why would they want you to change?
I’ve just gone Hollywood with this. It’s all very dramatic. I’m talking about setting yourself ONE goal. There is a compounding effect to this and a long list of benefits that you stand to gain when you set yourself a goal, reach it, reset, and reach it again.
I have a lot more goals to achieve. This is minor. But if I continued my trend of letting doubt take over, I know for a fact I’d quit. And that’s major. Or maybe I’d be rolling in it and jet-setting between the mountains and the ocean. Who the fuck knows? All I know is the more I reach the goals I set for myself, the more confident I become in my ability, and the more likely I am to succeed in that which I want to be successful in. And right now, that’s liberating enough for me.
I hope you’ll find a way to make it liberating for you.
Thanks for reading. :)