This is my first article out of 420 blogs that has the F bomb in the title.
Therefore, you know it’s going to be good.
Before I dive in, if you’re offended by the word “fuck,” stop reading now.
Instead, go live your PG rated life, watch some Netflix, and drink water with perfect pH.
If you’re still here, 1. Hopefully you’re drinking wine 2. Congratu-fucking-lations and 3. You’re cool as fuck.
Of course, I have to get spicy in my language if I’m going to devote an entire article to goal setting.
Well, I believe goals are bullshit.
Whether they are in fitness, sports, career, academics, or relationships, goals have their way of leaving us in disappointment and drowning us in frustration.
Off the bat, I can think of a couple examples:
1. New Year’s Resolutions
On January 2nd, we sign up for a gym membership, trudge along on the elliptical for 5 weeks, eat paleo prepped meals, and are frustrated because we don’t see any real results.
So we jump ship and say fuck it altogether.
2. Getting Married
At age 25, we set the goal of getting married so we get married to the first person we believe we have a connection with, come up with a creative wedding hashtag, have babies, buy a house, and post pictures of it on Facebook.
At age 30, we’re divorced and lonely.
3. College athletic scholarships
In high school, we want to play for the top D1 school in the country, so we attend their ID camps, email the coaches, and buy their spirit wear. This makes us rule out all other options.
When it comes time to apply and commit, you’re pissed off you only got offers from D3 schools.
You say you want to write a book by the end of the year, yet you lack the motivation to be productive and put it off that it doesn’t even get done.
So what do all these have in common?
Also known as one-time deals.
To that end, goals fail to take into account the long-haul, the process, and the compounded habits over time.
Coming back to New Year’s resolutions, people are so focused on the end results of losing 10 pounds, that they don’t realize the lifetime habits to keep the weight off. In fact, studies show that most people gain all their weight back after embarking on a New Year’s diet.
It’s funny because goals force people into relying on willpower for a finite moment in time, rather than honing positive, life changing habits for an infinite amount of time.
Looking at the marriage and relationship example, this isn’t to say love at first sight doesn’t exist.
I have known many couples who fell in love right away and got married and still have magical relationships to this day.
On the other hand, I’ve seen couples who have rushed into marriage because of their life goals of having a partner for the sake of not being alone.
Instead of fishing in the ocean and diving for a variety of meaningful connections, they snag the first one in the pond who gives them any sort of attention.
Or, how about the athletic performance world, where people feel they can go D1 because they broadcast it to the world?
Don’t get me wrong, goals can give some of us purpose.
Goals can propel us to take action.
Goals can set the standard high.
Goals give us direction.
But they become problematic when we fail to lean into the process.
They become problematic when we change our behavior for a finite amount of time.
They become problematic when we don’t reach them, life throws a curveball, and we freeze because we don’t know how to adapt.
Again, goals are a one time deal. There’s a clear end result to achieve, which is why they’re dangerous.
So instead of stating your goals, why not take small, actionable steps each day? Why not evade this time-frame mindset and take things as they come? Why not immerse yourself in the present moment, which you will find increases your focus and tenacity? Why not develop daily habits (or investments) that add up for the long haul?
Jeff Olson speaks about this in his book The Slight Edge. Small disciplines can lead to massive success. I highly recommend you read his book.
As an example, had I set the goal of writing 400 blogs when I started out, I would’ve felt defeated from day one. Sure, 400 blogs would’ve given me direction and purpose, but I would’ve been so stressed on the end result, that I would’ve felt pressure, which would’ve led to lack of creativity.
Instead, I said to myself, “hey, I’m going to blog as much as I can and see what happens.” This allowed blogging to be much more enjoyable and less of a chore for me. Truthfully, blogging is a habit. I don’t have a goal of reaching 1,000, but I probably will because waking up each day and writing an article comes natural for me. #habits
It’s also worth mentioning I get a lot of questions about my professional goals as a coach. More often than not people ask me, “any dreams of coaching college?” or “any dreams of training professional teams?”
Honestly, I can’t give a sexy answer.
My answer is normally something along the lines of this: “I’m just trying to do my best each day when I train kids. My passions lie within coaching youth athletes and that’s all I know.”
Because of this, I show up. I perfect my craft. I give my athletes my all.
Maybe this answer makes you feel uncomfortable. That’s fine.
I think it’s totally okay to live in the moment, perfect your craft, and see what happens. Having habits not only adds to your piggy bank of awesome-ness, but it also opens doors up for new opportunities. Not to be a braggart, but my habits of blogging and coaching daily have led to numerous freelance job offers from publications and soccer clubs.
With that said, start developing habits that last for an endless amount of time. Be present. Get fucking good at what you do. Live in the fucking moment.
And maybe you’ll find all of this is far more rewarding AND sustainable.