I’m the kind of person who loves making Goals. Goals motivate me to aim for something great, to be in a better place then where I am now.
But I’ve also noticed that goals can become a source of unhappiness.
Let me explain.
A person with a Goal mindset often thinks in this way “If I get [goal here] then I’ll be happy”. As a result our Happiness gets pegged with achieving the Goal.
And once you reach your Goal, you plan for the next Goal starting a new cycle of wanting something to be happy.
Here are some more problems with having a Goal mindset:
- There’s a lot of excitement in the beginning when we make Goals, but the excitement fades with time, making it difficult to reach the Goal
- Outcome is not in our control. Therefore even if we do our best, we still may not end up reaching out Goal. But instead we end up carrying the burden of failure
- All the focus is on the result, and not on the journey. When infact it’s the journey that is more important than the result
- Goals are often conceived without account for unexpected changes in life. Sometimes our plans change along the way that don’t allow us to reach our Goals
Focus on Habits
Here’s something I found better than goals.
Instead of focusing on reaching your Goals, focus on creating the right Habits. In doing so:
- You are free to enjoy the present moment by focusing on the habit your want to create
- Your Happiness doesn’t depend on reaching something in the future, but instead of building something in the present – a Habit
- You’re aiming for long term change, not short term gratification.
How to turn your goals into habits?
For example, if your Goal is to lose 5 Kg in the next 3 months. Focus on creating a Habit like “Workout at the gym 5 days a week”.
Now inspite of your best efforts if you’ve not lost those 5 kg, that’s ok. You’ve done something better… you’ve formed the habit of exercise that will keep you health for the rest of your life.
Isn’t that better than just losing 5 kg and putting that weight back on after 3 months?
Here are some more examples of forming Habits from your Goals:
- Write a 300 page Book in the coming year. Focus on creating a Habit of writing 30 mins a day
- Learn to speak a new language. Schedule language speaking sessions a friend
- Learn a new programming language: Commit to spend 5 hours a week on an online class with Lynda.com.
You get the point :-)
But how can you achieve anything if you don’t have Goals?
Ok, let me clarify something. I’m not saying “Don’t make Goals”, what I’m saying is don’t have a Goal mindset where you’ve set all your hopes and dreams on achieving that one Goal.
Instead put your attention in forming habits that will take you towards your Goal.
It’s the new Year, and many of us are making Goals. I’ve made Goals as well, and for each Goal I’m focusing on a Habit to support the Goal. What are your plans for 2014? Share your thoughts in the comments section below: