Throughout life we have been taught to set goals for ourselves and do the best we can to reach those goals. The more I grow and reflect on my mindset in the past, I have realized many of the goals I set for myself I have failed. The most interesting part about it, is I am grateful I did not achieve them. Why? Well, because I wouldn’t be in the place I am today without it. In this week’s post I discuss why I don’t believe in goals.
If I Followed Goals I Would Be Lost
I want to make myself clear before I dive deep into this, I am not saying I never use goals in my life. I often tell myself, I want to get x,y,z done before the weekend, or I need to do some chores before I get ready for bed. If you think about it, these are goals we set for ourselves throughout the day that keep us organized and productive. I look at these as more of tasks not goals. When I think of the word goals or goal setting I think of myself setting the path for my future. I am calling the shots. “I want to grow up and be x.” “I am going to make x amount of money.” “I am going to average x amount of points a game.” “I am going to be valedictorian.” The list goes on. At the end of the year what does everyone do? We all make new year’s resolutions (aka goals) that map out our future for the next year. How many times have you actually followed through with your new year’s resolution? I have never made it past January. Yet, still we force feed ourselves to think that we control our destiny and future. The more I reflect and think about what my life would be like if I accomplished the goals I set out for myself, the more I realize I don’t have a clue what is best for me. If I call the shots, I would not reach my full potential!
Are Goals Bad?
If you want the short answer, not necessarily. It is not the goal itself that is bad, I think the mindset toward a goal is what can become misleading. Some of us place our identity in the outcome of accomplishing our goals, and if we don’t reach them, we feel like a failure. On to my next point: I don’t believe in goals because there is a percentage of it that is uncontrollable. Goals can provide direction and discipline, but at the end of the day we do not have complete control if we accomplish them or not. Can we sway the percentages of completing them, yes, but rarely do we have 100% control over it. I say this because if I put all of my energy into accomplishing a goal and fail, I am going to feel like I failed when in reality it could have been because of circumstances out of my control. Put your energy and focus into the things you can control, and don’t worry about the things you can’t.
If I Don’t Believe In Goals, What Do I Believe In?
Like I mentioned previously, reflecting on the goals I had for myself when I was younger I am glad I did not achieve them and have an all-or-nothing type of mentality towards them. Why is that? I believe if I set my destiny and follow the path that I think is best for me, I would be miserable in life. I would chase the wind and constantly seek approval for others, and if I accomplish something, I would not feel satisfied. Then I would create another goal and keep repeating the process while sacrificing the things that bring true fulfillment. Instead, I let God call the shots on my life, because I know he has in store what is best for me. In college I felt that it was his will for me to pursue physical therapy school. You could say that was a goal of mine. However, I did not put all of my chips into it. I focused on the things I could control, and if it was his will, I would get into physical therapy school. If it wasn’t at that point and time, then I wouldn’t get in. Does that mean I would have failed my goal of getting into physical therapy school? No. It just means God has something better in store for me at that point in time. On the flip side of that, coming into college my goal was to earn a professional basketball contract overseas. I worked my tail off, but throughout my college career God slowly changed my heart and direction in life towards where he wanted me to go. Did I give up? No. I think we should focus on the things we can control in all areas of life. However, I could have set that goal and worked tirelessly for three years, while disregarding all of the signs that it was not what was in store for me. Who knows maybe I would have made it, I wouldn’t feel fulfillment from it. What if I didn’t make it? I would have felt like a failure. Instead, I let God call the shots, and I focus on mastering the things I can control. If a door closes and I know I controlled the things I can control, there is no reason for me to feel disappointed about the outcome because I know something better is in store.
What Can I Control?
In every situation in life I believe there are two things we can control: attitude and effort. These two things are controlables because it is a choice. It doesn’t matter if I got a raise at work or if I just got fired from my job, I can always choose to have the best attitude given the circumstances and give my best effort. These attributes are not performance based, not outcome-based, and don’t require approval and respect from others. This mindset allows us to take failures and learn from them because controlling our attitude and effort will result in a growth mindset in all circumstances. Is giving our best effort and having our best attitude easy? No, but it is something we have 100% control over. There is a saying, “Be where your feet are.” This is so true. We can get caught up in the future and what is in store for us or what goals we have for ourselves. Yet we miss out on the present, and ignore what is right in front of our eyes. Be sensitive to where you are at in life, focus on the things you can control, and let God take the wheel.
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