A life without goals isn’t quite worth living. But does that mean you should live only for your goals? Do you occupy all your waking hours obsessed with your goals?
Why Do We Need Goals?
Our goals aren’t just things to achieve to pass our humdrum lives. They are our purpose in life. They are our motivation to move forward and our reason to wake up in the morning. But to get obsessed with your goals is an unhealthy way to go about them.
To have goals is a beautiful, happy thing. We all have goals, even if we aren’t aware of them, regardless of how small they are. Just setting a few goals is sometimes enough to make you feel happy.
Why Goal Obsession Is Bad For Your Happiness
Some people get so obsessed with achieving their goals that they end up making their goals the center of their happiness. Eventually, when they reach their goals, the joy they find isn’t as much as they had expected it to be.
Nor does that happiness linger as long they had wanted it.
You create your happiness — along the way to your goals. Happiness isn’t something you attach to your goalposts.
Genuine happiness comes from within, not from material, superficial things.
And focusing your whole life on achieving your goals could be making yourself run after a butterfly you can’t catch. If you want to find happiness, you shouldn’t get obsessed with your goals, as obsession comes with a handful of negative features.
1. Obsession Comes With Expectations
An obsession with your goals requires a precise unfolding of events. It demands you to have a clear picture in your mind of the exact way you’re going to achieve it, step by step.
As well, you’ll have to have planned what you’ll do once you achieve that goal, how would that feel, and how it will change your life.
In other words, you’ll have plenty of expectations. And expectation is a big enemy of happiness. Some believe expectations are reasonable, but actually, expectations are a weapon you use against yourself.
You get hurt when your expectations fall flat. For instance, you need help designing a poster for your assignment. So, you seek some services to get it done, all the while obsessing about the highest quality.
Now, wouldn’t you be disappointed deeply to receive a poorly done hack job of a poster? Of course, you would. And why? Because of your sky-high expectations.
Expectations are a source of unhappiness rather than happiness. Here’s how: Usually, the events in the real world do not unfold as they do in your mind.
They rarely behave like you expect them to. Therefore, the chance your realities would match your expectations is thin.
And this, naturally, gets you disappointed almost every time you have high expectations.
2. Obsession Makes You Goal-Dependent
Dependence is a vicious cycle. When you depend on something, you can’t be truly free or happy.
The same goes when you’re obsessed with achieving your goals. You believe achieving your goals will make you the happiest. But all you’re doing is making your happiness depend on something outside you.
3. Obsession Comes With An Inbuilt Stress
Let’s say you’re working for a company, and you are obsessed with producing top-quality work. These are high goals to have, regardless of your incredible skills.
Because when you’re obsessed with something, you want it to be perfect — meaning you’ll barely be satisfied with anything. Therefore, you’ll lose so much time on the tiny details that you’ll fall short of time to finish your masterpiece in time.
In other words, you will stress out to make your project all perfect and right on time. But how can you be obsessed and happy at the same time when obsession comes with stress?
You can’t find your true happiness when you are obsessed with your goals.
Here’s how you can learn to easily cope with stress in your life: 10 Most Effective Strategies To Beat Stress.
What Should You Do Instead
1. Know Achieving Goals Takes Time
You don’t have to be obsessed with your goals to achieve them. You have to care enough to meet them, so you can guide your thoughts and actions towards your goals. Just as well, you have to accept and understand that not all goals are easy to achieve, especially when you dream big.
Great things take time, so there’s no point in rushing the process. Savor the journey. Live the moments.
You have to take your time and move forward in your rhythm. It’s your life, so live it in your way, not as others do.
2. Realize Happiness Comes From Within
External factors won’t make you happy — not really. They will provide a momentum of happiness, but they will fade away faster than you know it.
Genuine happiness comes from within. For that reason, getting obsessed with your goals can’t possibly help you find your happiness. You have to ask yourself what joy is to you.
What are those things in your life that make your heart fill with joy? And what does it take to reach that point?
Make happiness the way to achieve your goals and not the reason. And always remember, you create your happiness.
3. Learn To Create Goals For Happiness
Finding your happiness is a great, fantastic thing. Keeping it as a way to live your life is a real challenge, but the solution couldn’t be more straightforward. All you have to do for staying happy is to create goals that will be by your happiness.
Tal Ben-Shahar, one of the most well-known happiness scientists in the world, says:
Happiness is the ultimate currency.
Getting obsessed with your goals will only stand in your way of living a happy life. Happiness isn’t about how and when you achieve your goals. It is more about what the goals mean to you and how they make you feel about yourself.
Of course, happiness isn’t really about the goals themselves. It is about you and the way you shape your mind and lifestyle that will eventually help you find your joy.
Remember, you can neither achieve nor buy happiness. You can only create it from within. Therefore, let your obsessions go and focus on what always made you smile and try to use it to achieve your goals.
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Author Bio: Isabelle Gaylord is a writer. Her writings focus on the areas of personal growth, mental health, and spiritual development.
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Editor Bio: Edited by Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental wellbeing, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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