What’s your dream car? Where’s your dream vacation destination? What’s your dream girl? What’s your dream job?
Do you have answers for any of these questions? Or for all of them? Is that a good thing?
Ok, I’ll stop asking questions now. Clearly setting goals is beneficial for making progress in your life. But in this article I’ll argue against this self-improvement staple. Let me make one thing clear: you should set goals for various areas of your life. I only want to point out the dangers of becoming obsessed and attached to these goals.
Note: This article doesn’t apply to the lazy sloths who haven’t set a single goal for themselves. In their case, setting any goal can only be a good thing.
1. You get attached to the outcome
The purpose of setting goals is to give yourself a direction to work towards. You set a goal when there’s a need for a purpose in a certain area of your life. The act of setting the goal formalizes your intention and seemingly increases the chance of success.
But it can have one terrible side effect: you get attached. And when you get attached, you start to put the goal on a pedestal. Yes, you’re still likely to achieve it, but oftentimes the costs outweigh the benefits. You start to sacrifice your health, relationships, and leisure time to get what you want. And if you don’t get it you can lose all of your sense of self-worth.
The solution to this is to set goals in opposing areas of your life. Say you set a goal that relates to your career—to get a certain promotion, for example. You should balance this by also setting a goal for something in your personal life—dating a new girl or learning a new martial art, for example.
2. You become addicted to setting goals
While setting measured and calculated goals is a good way to grow and learn, there is a danger of becoming obsessed. It’s happened to me, and I’ve seen it happen to other men as well. You achieve one thing, and before you even pat yourself on the back you’ve replaced it with something else.
Always having an aim in life is important because it fills you with a sense of purpose. But you must be careful not to turn goal setting and achieving into the only thing in your existence. Spending time with friends, watching a good movie, and eating a savory meal are all things that should be enjoyed and looked forward to.
The solution to avoiding this trap is to remind yourself that a lifestyle without enjoying things is unsustainable. You’re missing out on essential parts of living. Your goals are important, yes, but they’re not everything.
3. You set the wrong goals
Yes, I’m judging your goals. Some goals suck. Simple as that. They are dead ends that will only lead to suffering and anxiety. Others are good. They will lead to growth and happiness.
What’s the difference? Bad goals focus entirely on the outcome. Owning a Ferarri or sleeping with 100 women are examples of bad goals. Saving some money every month and having the confidence to approach any woman in any circumstance are far better alternatives.
Sure, the image of a Ferarri or of a bunch of hunnies in your bed is vivid and attractive, but it focuses your attention on all the wrong things. How can you buy a Ferrari if you can’t save $1000 per month? How can you sleep with 100 girls if you don’t even have the balls to approach one?
The solution is to set goals that meet the following parameters: you have a large degree of control over them (ie. success is likely if you put in the time and effort), they focus on the process, and you can describe why you want to achieve it (ie. your motivation).
For a roadmap to setting better goals and conquering your fears check out my book Dominate.
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