Why Setting Goals Just Makes You Miserable

..got a goal, something you’d like to achieve? – If you haven’t I’m sure you’re a happy little bunny.

Those of us that set them, I did for a while, aren’t so lucky. 

When you repeatedly look from where you are to where you want to be that gulf sure can take the shine out of life.  And every day that that gap doesn’t close is one where you question your existence. 

‘Why can’t I do it?’

‘What’s wrong with me?’

‘Why did God give me ambition when I’ll never get there?’

That last one was something I used to regularly ask myself. To me, having a goal was like the carrot on the end of a stick I’d never get closer to. And sometimes it felt like that stick was just there to whip my butt with.

Nowadays, I’m not so hard on myself. And as for goal setting, I switched from that to a softer approach, just working the process. 

What I mean by that is, that any goal you want to achieve is going to involve a process. That process is something that you probably have to do regularly, maybe even daily. 

Take losing weight as an example. The goal is probably off in the distance like you being 30 pounds lighter. The process, on the other hand, is watching the food you eat and putting your training shoes on a couple of times a week. 

If you keep looking at the 30 pounds, the gap is going to make you miserable, unless you’re on the home straight with 20 pounds lost. And by the time that happens you’re looking at weeks or months before you’ve got something to celebrate. 

The process, on the other hand, you can sleep well each night knowing you did the job. – You watched the calories, you did your twenty-minute walk and the day was a fruitful one. – And each day you follow the process, is one victory stacked on top of another.  

The best bit, you still get to your goal of losing weight. 

It’s the equivalent of going for a long walk, but keeping your eyes fixed on your feet instead. The journey to the top of the mountain top may be huge, but those shuffling feet will get there before you know it. And at no point did you feel like giving up.

So if goal setting is making you miserable, or you can see how you’re going to get there, work out your process and focus on that instead. Before you know it, you’ll be at the spot you thought you’d never thought possible, and you’ve been happy all along the way. 

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