How Not To Let Goals Make You Miserable
Guess what? It’s that time of year again! You know, when every other post or article you read is about what the heck you’re going to do with the bright and shiny, brand-new year stretching out in front of you.
First of all, HOW IS IT A NEW YEAR ALREADY? Okay, that’s done and we can move on.
It’s January and that means it’s a new year, and every new year has the same theme song. It’s a call-and-response hallelujah chorus of “GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!” and the competing refrain of “SCREW GOALS & RESOLUTIONS! GOALS ONLY MAKE YOU MISERABLE”.
Based on the social media posts that tens of thousands of people like, it would seem that we are much more interested in arguing whether or not setting goals is a good idea or a bad one than we are in actually talking about what we would like to transform in our lives, let alone actually making that transformation occur.
Every year, I endeavor, ever-so-earnestly, to inject a different angle on the annual conversation about whether or not goals/resolutions/intentions work. I invite people to a conversation in which they themselves, along with their desires, are infinitely more powerful than mere semantics.
I try to remind people that it’s not the having or avoiding of a goal that makes them unhappy; it’s how they relate to desire and goals that gets all funky.
And, every year, I notice that my posts do not receive tens of thousands of people liking them. This leads me to believe that I’m not sure people actually want to have a more empowering take on goal setting or desire.
So, I suppose this year, I’ll go with the flow and say whatever it is that I’m assuming people want to hear.
1. Goals Don’t Work.
It’s true. You can find a whole lot of evidence that proves that setting a goal doesn’t actually change anything in and of itself.
How many times have you known someone who set out a goal, resolution or intention and then failed to achieve it? How many times have you been that person? I know I have set goals and not achieved them, so obviously my goal didn’t work, right?
Plus, setting a goal means you might fail. That’s a risky endeavor. Now, if you don’t set a goal, then you can’t fail at it. It’s just common sense. If you don’t aim at something, you are guaranteed not to miss.
If you do set a goal and the setting of it alone doesn’t make your desire manifest as though by magic (see #4 below), you might feel the need to make a plan. And what happens if that plan doesn’t work? You still don’t have what you want and you’re out the time you put into it. Ugh.
By not setting goals or trying to achieve something, you get to remain a not-loser at your goal. And we all know that not losing is way better than losing.
And sure, not-losing is not the same thing as winning, but it feels much better to know that you absolutely cannot lose at something you want than it does to risk maybe winning at it, which means you might also lose (and remember, losing feels terrible).
2. Goals Make You Unhappy.
Omigosh. We all know this one is the truth, right? Goals and desires definitely have the power to change your state of mind and emotion and there’s absolutely nothing we can do to change how we think or feel, or how we relate to our goals and desires. It’s not like we have power over our thoughts…
Have you ever set a goal and then felt worse than you felt before you set the goal? Either because you didn’t achieve it, or because you got your hopes up and let yourself get really present to your desires, and that made you feel the discomfort of wanting something? It’s The Worst.
It hurts to not get what we want. It’s much smarter to avoid the pain of any potential disappointment by not allowing oneself to want anything at all. Cut it off at the pass, you know?
I mean, it’s the having or setting of a goal/resolution that makes us unhappy, right? Not the fact that there’s something we want to experience in our lives that is currently missing…
The Goal itself makes us miserable, because Goals are not merely ideas inspired by our deepest desires; Goals are entities, like evil spirits, that lurk around the edges of our lives, telling us that we are not enough, or not good enough, to get what we want. Goals are like goblins who steal our happiness and peace of mind.
It’s surely not the way we’re relating to the goal, or the way we set ourselves up to fail by not creating enough structure (projects and plans are a terrible idea) or taking enough/any action to actually move our goals forward.
It isn’t that we hold our goals like wishes and expect them to magically come true without any effort or action on our part that leaves us feeling incompetent and victimized by our desire.
Setting a goal means you might not achieve it, and then you are stuck feeling like a failure forever. Because surely, if that one attempt didn’t work, then absolutely no other effort, angle or attempt will work, either, and feeling like you’ve failed at something means you ARE a failure, and that feels awful.
3. Goals Mean You Are Not Happy/Grateful/Present.
We all know that we are supposed to be happy and grateful all the time for every part of our lives. It’s very woke, which is a good way to be (I think, according to social media influencers).
If you have a goal, then you are admitting to wanting something to be different than it currently is, and that means you are not grateful or present in your current life. And it’s not good to be not grateful or present in every moment of your life, no matter what is happening.
Since you don’t want to be ungrateful or not in the present moment every single moment, it’s important to avoid thinking about your desired experience of life, as well as to refrain from setting any goals that would have you change anything about your life, your world or yourself.
This way, you get to remain super grateful and present for How It Is, which is very enlightened (also very woke).
4. Manifesting Works Better Than Goal Setting.
If it’s meant to be, it will be. That’s why everything in the world is working so well for everyone, all the time.
Along with being supremely happy and grateful all the time for exactly how everything is in your life, it’s much better to trust God/The Universe to deliver what it will to you, when it will, as opposed to what you want (selfish), when you want it (pushy).
If it comes easy, that means it was meant to be. Anything that feels difficult, challenging or uncomfortable, or requires work, effort or planning is a sign that you are not trusting God/The Universe and you don’t want to mess with the divine, do you?
You don’t want God/The Universe to think that you think you know better than they do how Life should go. Setting goals and making plans might get in the way of divine timing, and you don’t want to miss out on whatever random opportunity might present itself to you.
So you should think a little bit about what you want — enough that you let God/The Universe know what you’d like if it’s not too much trouble, please, but not too much (you definitely don’t want to set a goal or make a plan) — so that you can allow the divine powers that be to manifest what’s meant to be for you and allow Life to unfold as it will.
There you have it. The low down on how goals don’t work and will make you miserable. All of this is true, if you believe it. Of course, so is everything else, if you believe it.
To goal, or not to goal is certainly a question.
Maybe, though, a better question is “What do I want to create my life to be from this moment onward?” And then go from there.
What do you think?