3 Ways Setting Goals Can Harm Us

Setting goals alone is not harmful, the way in which we do it can be.

If we could stop and think about our time on this planet, we'll soon realize that we spend 99% of our time working towards a goal or dream, only to meet that goal and start a whole new process again. What I find ironic is that we should appreciate the 'process' because ultimately that's what really matters. Without a process, there is not product. However, I have found myself over and over again teaching this idea to highly successful people. And honestly, I lose sight of it myself more times than what I like to admit.  It's a simple concept that most of us don't learn and (in my opinion) causes marked distress. Most times it's because we strive for a goal so intensely that we exhaust ourselves in the process. 

1. The Dream College

Have you ever heard of 'declaration day' in local high schools? It's a day where all of the seniors wear their selected college sweatshirt and show off their hardwork.  It separates the mice from the men. What I wish we could do is fast forward this day and show them a freshman dormitory of their peers who are also wearing that exact sweatshirt. Soon these students realize a whole new process starts over and it might not be the dream they envisioned. Mostly because they didn't see beyond declaration day. 

2. The Perfect Body 

"Just a little more." All too often, I hear this in my office when I'm meeting with a client who discovered their diet goals have turned unhealthy. The belief is that once they reach a goal, they'll be happy. Over and over again it's never enough. The focus on a weight goal and achieving that 'perfect number' has masked the importance of paying attention to the process in which the diet has become dangerous. 

3. The Workaholic


One more promotion, one more raise, one more bonus. The goals are endless. Achieving that "one more thing" becomes the emphasis and the process is lost. However, many of us reflect back on our process and realize it didn't really make us happier or richer, it gave us momentary elation, just to wake up and start over again.  


When we set goals without being thoughtful, we lose the opportunity to pivot, adjust and change our course when it's no longer working for us. What we get is burnt out and dissatisfied. If we begin to see life as a series of processes and goals we soon realize that the attention should go on the 99% and let the 1% be whatever is meant to bee.

Audrey GrunstaudreyComment