What if your goals are not serving you?
Conscious that many of us may start thinking about 2023 goals and New Year plans, I want to share with you that I have seen some goals turn into unhealthy patterns and habits.
“I just want to achieve X role and then I’ll feel I’ve made it.”
“If I could just buy my own home, everything would be better.”
The thing is, what if the drive to achieve that thing becomes unhealthy?
Often there is something deeper underlying the goal. In the case of the first example, my client always felt he had lacked approval from his parents. “They never said they were proud of me and that’s all I’ve wanted.” The idea of hanging all our happiness on the chance that somebody might someday say something I’ve been hoping for…. Can drive us in circles of pain and frustration.
The home owning example above came from a friend who believed that this was the expectation of her as a 35-year-old. Society told her she should have her own home. Yet would it really make any difference to her personally, financially etc?
There is a fine line between a healthy drive towards a goal and a striving that can harm us, and we may not always recognise which camp we’re in. So a helpful starting point is to reflect on our thinking…
What is behind your goal?
Is there a deeper need you are trying to meet? And is that need something you can control or influence? If you are aiming for something you can’t control, this may be an unhelpful goal that will send you running in circles never achieving what you were really hoping for. You might find it helpful to consider how that goal has served you in the past, how it has not served you, and what new goal might now be more healthy and fulfilling for you.
What are you doing to work towards your goal?
Are you happy with the way you talk to other people about your goal? Do you feel good about the way you are behaving and making decisions? Is there even some satisfaction for you in the journey and not just the destination? When we are feeling good and even enjoying the journey, we may be healthily following a plan towards a fulfilling goal. It’s when we are impatient or feeling angry about a lack of progress that we may spot warning signals that we have moved into striving.
I wish you a wonderful break over Christmas, yet I know for many this can be an extremely stressful or sad time of year. Do please get in touch if you could do with a listening ear.
If you are taking time to think about goals for 2023, let’s start with some healthy ones.
All the best,