Goals are meant to give us a direction in life, right?
Without them, how could we carve a path in all this mess? We always must have an end-goal, something we strive for every day.
Go to the library and get any self-help book. Chances are you’ll stumble upon pieces of advice on goals: how to choose them, what goals to set and most importantly, how to set them.
Daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly goals. They go as far as suggesting to have goals for the next 5 years of your life.
There is nothing wrong with having some form of a goal to guide you. Hell, even I have a goal right now: to write an article that provides value to you, the reader.
In this article, I’ll try to explain why the best goals are the daily ones and why goals can sometimes do us more harm than good.
Present vs Future
Usually, when you think of a goal, you think of something you set to achieve in the near or distant future.
For example, you want this year to lose x amount of pounds.
At first thought, it may seem that there isn’t anything wrong with this but the issue arises when you fail to achieve the goal you’ve set.
You see, goals are future-orientated.
A week, a month or even a year from now, you’ve set certain goals that you’ve promised to yourself that you will achieve or at least try to.
What you might not realize in the midst of the moment is the unpredictability of the future.
There are too many factors that can and will influence your future self which will cause your goal to not have a linear path, thus bringing frustration and confusion.
Setting specific goals might give you better clarity as to what you’re trying to achieve, but it comes with a price.
Having specific goals can lead to a whole detailed scenario in your mind as to how your achievement of the goal will unfold.
“I’m going to get x followers in 1 month, then I will build x amounts of businesses…”
The dangerous side of specific goals is that they can often create an illusion of failure.
Let’s say you’ve set out to lose x pounds in 6 months. You have a workout regime, a diet regime, and most importantly, a deadline.
Unfortunately, you fail to “achieve” this goal. Even more, you might think you haven’t achieved anything at all because you couldn’t follow through with your goal.
This illusion that you’ve “failed” will blind you to the reality that you still have achieved something.
You ate healthily and exercised regularly every day. Isn’t this an achievement in and of itself?
You have already done something worthy of praise.
But you didn’t realize that you were achieving something daily, because you were focusing on the goal that was future-orientated, which brings us to a better alternative.
If you remember, I mentioned in the beginning of this article that the best goals are the daily ones.
People don’t usually call them goals, but rather tasks. You divide your big goals into smaller, achievable goals.
Well, goals being future-orientated are different from systems.
Systems are focused in the present. This allows you to get daily pleasure from your activities.
I will give you an example from my personal experience.
Myself being a web developer, I had the goal of becoming a full-stack developer for over a year now.
Did I achieve it? Yes and no.
I had given myself a deadline of 6 months to achieve this goal in which I promised myself that I will be determined and hard-working until I achieve the goal.
The deadline had been already long passed and at that moment, I was sitting in my chair, looking through my window, clueless and confused as to why I didn’t achieve it.
Well, surprise, surprise, I was already in the process of becoming a full stack developer but I didn’t realize that as I was always focused on the end goal that was future-orientated.
I’ve missed out the fact that every day I was coding, improving little by little.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive but I started becoming an actual full stack developer when I stopped having the goal of becoming one.
I didn’t have to follow a linear, strict path to achieve that. I simply allowed myself to branch off and learn new technologies while focusing on the now.
Having the freedom of not following a linear path to your goal is what can help you achieve it.
Why? Because you will be able to adjust yourself as you go, every day you do an activity you will either succeed or fail at it. Failing will allow you to redirect properly, to change course in a better direction.
Every new experience will build your road to success, whatever meaning that world might have for you.
To a certain degree, it’s important to have goals. But they don’t have to be overly specific.
Keep your goals simple and easy to follow. Use them to point you towards the path you seek.
Focusing only on the future-orientated goals will make you addicted to the feeling of achievement, meaning, and fulfillment. Once you’ve achieved something, you’ll seek those feelings again, like a drug addict.
But focusing on building a system will give you the same feelings on a daily dose. You’ll be able to truly live in the present and build your road to success.