Why Hanging on to Your Goals May be Limiting Your LifeNone By Homaira Kabir
It’s that time of the year when many of us (60% by some accounts!) have already given up on our New Year’s goals. We respond to this apparent failure in different ways, most of which are variations of the shame and blame cycle. Rarely do we sit down and question the authenticity of our goals.
In a world where external pressures to be someone or do something begin in our very early years and come at us from all directions, often in very subtle ways, it’s not uncommon to set goals that are misaligned with who we are.
They are grounded in a view of how we “should” be, which means they tend to be rigid and absolute. We pursue them with the underlying motive to be accepted by others, and fail to notice signs that it may be time to let go. We remain oblivious to draining energy, to lack of joy, to obsessive behaviors. And we turn a deaf ear to other opportunities that knock on the door because we hear only that one tyrannical call.
We can open up to a much more joyful experience of goal pursuit by setting goals that conform to who we are, rather than desperately strive for those that twist us to fit externally ordained expectations. Who we are and how we move through the world are deeply connected, and when we project ourselves in a way that’s inauthentic, we run on precious little fuel and find scarce joy once we reach our destination.
If you’ve already given up on your resolution, and even if you didn’t set any, here’s a way to live that helps you build a life story you’ll be proud to call your own.
Ask Yourself: Who Do I Want to Be?
Begin with your heroes. Who are the people whose lives you admire? What are the values they espouse and why are these meaningful to you? Would you like to be one of their “tribe,” and how would you add value to it? What is the unique combination of the character strengths that mark your authenticity? And how does it change depending on the different roles you play in life? For authenticity is not singular by any means, a fact beautifully stated by humanist Walt Whitman when he said: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."
Ask Yourself: What Do I Want to Do?
This is where goal-setting comes in. Identify a need out in the world and create a unique combination of your many facets so you can do your part in fulfilling that need. Think of the experiences you&rs