Are you stressed out or pressured by your goal setting? No worries, I know exactly how you feel. I too, often feel overwhelmed and stressed because I am not where I’d like to be when it comes to achieving my goals. I harm myself because I’m not productive or fast enough and I fear success is not coming.
Do you question your strategy and wonder if you’re still on the right track? This is absolutely normal and trust me, while there are of course some things you can do to improve your goal setting, when it comes to happiness while achieving your goals, there is only one thing you must know. And I am going to tell you what that is, in just a bit. So, stay tuned.
The purpose of goal setting
To most people goal setting is just a means to reach some particular thing or state in their lives from which they hope to gain advantage or any kind of fulfilment.
However, that is not what goal setting actually is. The real purpose of setting goals is to overcome limitations.
To overcome destructive habits or challenges in your current stage of life which make your life harder and less pleasant. Goal setting is all about making life easier and implementing behaviours, routines and habits into your life that will help you to enjoy life with more joy and less stress.
Of course, goal setting has also the purpose to get you somewhere you want to be and reach something that you want to achieve. And that is the problem where goal setting can interfere with your happiness.
Because happiness can’t be achieved. Nothing you accomplish will ever make you happy. At least not long term.
But that doesn’t mean you have to stop wanting to achieve things and set goals in your life. All that means is, to know that achieving any goal and reaching any destination is not the ultimate success, achieving is not what will make you happy.
The right Mindset
To approach goal setting the right way, get away from the desire to reach a particular destination and instead focus on your why and direct your attention towards experiencing the joy of dedicating time and energy to making that why come alive in any action you take.
It does not really matter whether you reach that goal or not. And I know this is hard to get in your head. I too still struggle with it as I have a natural strive for accomplishment.
But what really matters is the fulfilment of the why in any moment of the process towards making your goal come true.
The why is what motivates you to work towards that goal in the first place. And the why is what will keep you going and what will eventually give you the fulfilment you are looking for.
It should never be something like: “initiate the goal” will bring ME “initiate the hope”.
The why should always be selfless and serving a higher purpose than fulfilment in your own life.
My why for growing my blog and online presence for example is not because I hope to gain financial independence from it, but because I hope to impact peoples lives positively and make one by one a little happier.
If the why is something you have already, something that you want to give to the world and you include it in any action you take towards that goal, then it won’t matter whether you reach it or not, because your purpose of bringing the why to the people around you will have been fulfilled.
Maintaining the happiness
If you are a hard-core goal setter like me and get ridicules pleasure from setting and achieving goals you might sometimes have a hard time to maintain the happiness if you do not achieve it as quickly or easily as you hoped to achieve it. Or you stress yourself out and therefore get less happy. Especially if you find that some particular action you have to take to achieving that goal is not quite what you enjoy doing but you put pressure on yourself because you know you have to do it to achieve your goal.
And of course, sometimes we need to push through such times and swallow the pill to get to the next stage. However, to make sure you don’t lose your direction or yourself in the progress you should include doing those two things into your hustle.
1. Shift your focus from goal to process
Striving to do everything you do to your best ability and aiming to carry out the why in every action will give you the satisfaction you are looking for.
Do not focus on the goal and whether you’ve reached it already or not. Draw your attention towards the progress you are making. Compare your current state to the state from yesterday or an hour before. Have you improved? Was there transformation? Awesome, then you’ve reached your goal.
I should mention here that it is okay to take a break and not be productive at all. It’s okay if you have one of those days where you didn’t accomplish anything. That’s life. But that’s not the end of the world. It might simply be a sign from the universe that you need to take a step back, recharge, refocus and then come back fully energized and with a more positive state of mind.
Instead of only having this one big goal to reach, set small process goals. Goals that can be easily accomplished within an hour or a day. Then give your best and enjoy that action. And time after time watch your goal get achieved by itself.
Achieving goals and being successful must not be hard, it must not make you unhappy. All you have to do is stop forcing it. Stop holding on to achieving whatever you want to achieve. Being to focus on the outcome the end goal will only make you unhappy. But if you can stay present and find pleasure in the actions you take, you will create fulfilment for yourself.
2. Ask yourself: Would I do whatever I do even if I wouldn’t reach the goal I’m doing it for?
If yes, that’s awesome. You found something that makes you enjoy the process and therefore keeps you sane and happy when doing it.
If no, that must not be a reason to stop it. Simply know that you might not reach that goal. So, do you want to make yourself miserable and unhappy just to get somewhere you might never get? I hardly doubt it. So, better start enjoying that thing because if you can’t enjoy the process of reaching your goal nothing will make you happy. Because like I’ve said before. The goal certainly won’t do that. Only enjoying and being at peace with the now, the action you take at the moment will make you truly happy. If you can’t enjoy that action than either surrender to the fact of not enjoying it and find peace within acceptance or drop it.
Don’t get me wrong here, we don’t have to do joyful stuff all the time. Sometimes we no other chance than to do something unpleasant. But then it is even more important to surrender and find peace within what we do. It will pass eventually and then you get to do something more pleasant again.
Only if you really find yourself unhappy with your action but know it is necessary to do to reach that goal you might want to consider giving that goal up and looking for something where the process is more fun.
Happy goal setting
If you got the impression I wanted to tell you that it might be best to quit goal setting all together now, then you’ve got me all wrong.
Goal setting is awesome. Goal setting is fun and goal setting can be very fulfilling. But only if you do it the right way. And that is to not seek fulfilment and happiness in the destination, but enjoy the journey towards it with all its ups and downs.
Then goal setting can take you wherever you are supposed to end up and bring you the life you’ve always wanted.
Now of course, there is more to goal setting than this mental realization. There are a few things you can do when you set your goals that will make sure the whole goal setting process is and stays fun. And now that I’ve given you the right Mindset to approach it, it would be unfair to withhold you these things.
I’ve done a post on how to set goals so actually achieve them already, so if you want to visit that post first.
But now here is how you do goal setting the happy way.
1. Start small
First things first, start small. You might think the bigger the better. But that doesn’t refer to goal setting. Especially not when you are just starting out. Rather start small. Set baby goals and get familiar with the effort it takes to accomplish them.
2. Start easy
In addition, start easy. There’s no need to make things harder or more complicated than they are. Why not choosing an easy goal first and once you’ve accomplished that you can make it a little more difficult time by time.
3. Go slow
Along with that, go slow. No matter how badly and quickly you want to achieve that goal, there is no need to go head over heels and all in.
Do not force any action that doesn’t come natural. Take your time and go one step after the other.
4. Make it regular
For most goals, there is at least one thing you have to do regularly to really achieve your goal. The quicker you figure out what that is and the more regularly you do it the quicker you will accomplish.
5. Build habits
A huge part of successful goal setting is having habits that support you through out that journey. So, build those habits that complement the actions you have to take towards your goal.
Create routines around those things you have to do every day to make your goal come true.
6. Set aside time
Very obvious but to achieve anything you need time. So, set aside that time and then get focused.
7. Set process goals
Like mentioned above, set process goals that will help you see the progress you went through from yesterday to today and today to tomorrow.
8. Focus on improvement
Then focus on improving not on achieving. Give your best and do everything rather with quality than in quantity.
9. Have a checklist
Checklists are crucial to keep you on track. Best have a daily or at least a weekly checklist with all the things you need to do to achieve those process goals.
10. Evaluate, define your problem and adjust
Then evaluate your progress, define problems if there are any and adjust your routines if necessary.
11. Find a goal buddy
Everything is better if done together. So, if you get the chance to find someone who’s working towards the same goal. Embrace it. Be grateful and use this relationship to support and inspire each other.
12. Always look for excitement
Lastly, what is goal setting without the fun. It should be your main aim to always enjoy setting and working towards your goals. Once you don’t maybe take a break and take it easy.
You can also actively look for ways to get back the excitement by going back to your why. But know that it is okay to step back and take time to recharge. Nothing bad will happen as it doesn’t matter whether or especially when you reach that goal.
That’s it. I hope you could take some helpful tips out of this post and feel less pressured and stressed when achieving your goals.
If that post could bring some happiness to your life, feel free to share it with your tribe and impact their lives positive as well.
Lastly, come back on Friday, for another post and then happy goal setting.
Lots of inspiration!