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Why do we set goals?

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

It can feel like a contradiction, can’t it? All this talk of finding your goals and building your dreams, whilst also being told you should stay present and mindful.

How can both be true?

The fundamental thought error is that we are taught to select our goals from a place of scarcity. That if we reach the dream, we can be happy. That once we achieve that thing we have been striving for, then we will be rewarded with the golden prize: happiness.

The problem is, that when we arrive at the destination, we discover we have brought the same brain along with us.

Teaching people that they should strive and grow to avoid the feelings they do not like now is like saying you should set goals so you can avoid the human experience. Yes we all fall for it. Never in the history of time has there been a human who did not have problems, difficulties or anxiety and fears. Yet each of us is convinced if we just achieve that one magical thing, life will feel like one big exhale.

We try to motivate ourselves by saying that because we do not have that thing now, that the green, green grass over there must be so much more lush. And somewhere along the way, we decided that means over here is an arid paddock of dry stalks.

But what if you didn’t have to convince yourself that here was rubbish in order to want t motivate yourself? In fact, what if that was your greatest obstacle.

If you cannot begin to practice looking for the joy, the goodness and the benefits of your current moment, you are not going to magically have those skills in your lush new pasture.

If you use scarcity as a driving force, it is only going to get you more scarcity.

In order to appreciate al the things you will have, you have to start practicing appreciating all the things you already have. Not because some toxic positivity glitter washing, but because you are training your brain to learn the tools it need sot get you to where you want to be.

It is by doing this that you learn that there is not better than here. And if you tell yourself it is, you will miss out on half of your life. If not more, because the goal posts are constantly changing.

So if what we are moving towards is not going to make us feel better, why set goals at all? Simply because we can. Simply to explore the curiosity of learning who you have to be in order to become the person who achieves those goals.

When you approach life like a big game of hide and seek, you get to explore what lessons and potential could be out there just waiting to be discovered. And what magic has been hiding right under your nose the whole time.


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