It can be easy to let your goals take over and control what you’re doing or how you’re doing it. While goals can be great motivators to get you where you’re going and help you get there faster, at times they can also get in the way of living and enjoying your life.
I’ve had times at which I become so fixated on a particular goal that I tend to ignore what’s going on around me. It’s kind of a ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ type deal and I’ve found that it can interfere with my enthusiasm for life. So here are a few of the ways in which I try to keep my goals under control rather than from my goals controlling me.
Goals can get you down if you don’t make a few of them fun or easy. This is why I try to diversify the makeup of my goals. I like to incorporate not only a mixture of goal levels, but a variety of personal, financial and career goals as well. Having a healthy mix helps keep things interesting along the road to goal achievement, plus it can take some of the ennui regarding certain long-term goals out of the equation.
Only having financial goals or only pushing myself to achieve more at work can take some of the fun out of certain achievements, but throwing in a few personal items like vacation goals or things I’d like to buy or reward myself with at a certain point during the goal process can liven up the goal setting and achievement process and keep me in control of how my goals motivate me.
Setting the Right Goals
Setting lofty goals can be good, but it can also put you in a spot that can either leave you feeling like you’re always reaching for the stars and never getting there or as if you’re a failure for underachieving.
Setting achievable goals, but ones that still push me to succeed is another way in which I try to keep my goals from controlling me. Only seeing road markers in the distance ahead can have me driving all night to get to them, only to realize that I’ve passed a long stretch of road without taking time to enjoy the scenery. I often have to look not only to the future when setting these goals to see where I’m going, but to the past to see where I’ve been, the types of goals I have achieved, and what types of goals I work toward best for me and my situation.
Keeping from getting lost or overly involved in my goals often takes breaking larger goals down into laddered steps. Sure, being a world famous screenplay writer is a great goal, but I have to consider the goals that need to be set to eventually realize that goal. Otherwise, it’s just a dream without any path to get there, and one that controls me rather than the other way around.
While small goals might not need steps in between to achieve them, the obtaining of certain longer-term or loftier goals may be furthered by doing this. In my famous screenplay writer example, certain laddered goals might include first, learning how to write a script, writing the script, and then sending it to prospective agents or contests. These are intermediate goals that might assist me in reaching my long-term goal, whereas just saying I want to be a famous screenplay writer is great in theory, but leaves me with little in the way of controlling or achieving that goal.
Goals in my life change regularly. What my goals were five years ago are nowhere close to what they are now; and I assume my goals in another five years could be distinctly different from my current goals.
Allowing unneeded, unwanted or unnecessary goals to linger only slows me down. This is why I like to regularly reevaluate and adjust goals as I go through life. While I have to give myself time to achieve my goals, this doesn’t mean that I can’t ditch them if they are no longer valid or applicable to my life’s direction. Doing this every so often gives me the upper hand on where I’m taking my goals — not where they are taking me.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.