I’ve set many goals in my life. I’ve set small goals, big goals, S.M.A.R.T. goals, short- and long-term goals, and every type of goal in between. Along the way, I’ve noticed some defects in the almighty goal-setting process. Having a general idea of where you want to go is important. However, trying to guess how long it’s going to take you and what that place is going to look like once you get there is wishful thinking at best.
The whole goal-setting process is unreliable and confuses people about the true purpose of accomplishments. It’s not the goal that’s important; it’s the person you become while trying to achieve that goal. Here is how to accomplish things without ever setting goals:
1. Make a to-do list.
Goal-setting lacks immediate action, which is the fuel of success. Making a step-by-step list will put you into motion instantly. It will give you a clear path of how to go from point A to point B. The more you cross off, the more momentum you will build and the easier it’ll be to complete your list.
The to-do-list is really a setup for habit building. Once you’ve completed your list, you should be left with a habit or set of habits that, if done consistently, will lead to success. Build these habits until they become automatic, and success will be inevitable. So let’s say you want to become an in-shape, healthy person. Here’s an example of a list that you could make to kick-start your journey:
- Read three books on nutrition.
- Start listening to three different health-related podcasts.
- Learn at least two healthy and easy go-to meals for lunch and dinner.
- Throw away all the junk food in your house.
- Eliminate all sugary drinks from your diet.
- Learn how to meditate.
- Set up your room for an optimal sleeping environment.
- Build habits.
2. Create healthy habits that will help you accomplish your to-do list.
Your habits become who you are. Instead of setting a goal such as “I want to lose 20 pounds,” start adopting the habits of an in-shape, healthy person. Really the only difference between healthy people and unhealthy people or successful people and unsuccessful people is their habits.
What habits, which if done daily or weekly, would turn you into the person you want to be? Make a list of the habits that you want to build, stay consistent until they become a part of your daily routine, and over the course of a year you will become that person you imagined, all without a looming, motivation-sapping goal hanging over your head.
3. Don't let goals limit your possibilities.
When you’re ultra-focused on hitting a certain goal, you completely take yourself out of the flow of infinite possibilities. Have you ever experienced setting out to find something, such as a new career or relationship, and had a certain result in mind but then received a result far better but completely different from what you could have ever imagined? This is what I mean by infinite possibilities. We are all so limited by our small view of potentials.
If we remain patient and listen to our intuition, we could accomplish a lot more with far less frustration. You'll allow for more opportunities to enter your life — and this can lead to an occasional change in course, which can bring you to unique and exciting places that you would have never expected.
Think of every time you accomplished a big goal, whether it was graduating from college or getting a promotion at work. When you finally reached it you felt elated. You celebrated with friends and family and you went to bed feeling proud. However, a week later, how did you feel? How about a month or a year later? Eventually the feeling of accomplishment completely dissolves and then you’re searching for a newer, even bigger goal. Self-improvement is measured in small increments, not big accomplishments. If you set up your life so success is inevitable, then there is no need ever to set goals. Self-improvement and accomplishment will just happen on its own.
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