Slaves to Our Goals: When goals trap us

Slaves to Our Goals: When goals trap us

Goal setting is an art that not everyone masters perfectly. There are those who plan unattainable goals and these end up consuming all their strength and energy, while others set goals far below their potential, thus never coming to take advantage of all their abilities. But even when we have set the right goals, we still run the risk of being overwhelmed by them.

What does this mean?

Let's take the hypothetical example of a good marathon runner. He knows he has the necessary skills and abilities to participate in the Olympics and even to win some medals. Then plan to participate and win as a goal. In this regard, he establishes a daily training plan to prepare for competitions.

So far so good, but this person may become obsessed with their goal. He could make his daily life revolve all around this goal to the point that he cannot relax and enjoy anything other than training to prepare for the race. In this case, it's as if his life is on standby, and even if his goal is realistic and he has a good chance of achieving it, it would be interesting to ask whether the emotional cost he has to pay is worth it.

In reality, it is not difficult to become victims of our own goals, because they often seem so motivating to us that they act on us like a ray of light that blinds us and does not allow us to see everything around us. It is perfectly understandable that we strive to achieve a goal, especially if we know we have the skills to do so, but subordinating our whole life to this is not at all healthy. Fortunately, there is a way to set goals without becoming a slave to them.

  1. Appreciate the pros and cons. There are goals that, at first glance, may seem very promising, but when we analyze them from a more objective perspective, we realize that they require enormous effort, time and dedication. Ask yourself if the benefits you will get are worth the effort to achieve them. As you do this, remember that the only precious thing you have and that nothing and nobody can give you back is your time, the time it will take you to accomplish your goal. So decide how to use it wisely.


  1. Don't be fooled by the promise of happiness. Numerous studies have shown that we have a distorted view of the satisfaction that positive experiences can give us. This means that, we almost always think that when we reach the goal we will be happier than we actually will be. But remember that what matters is not the goal but the path.
  1. Choose the right path. There are many ways to achieve the same goal, choose the least traumatic one, even if it involves a long way. If you arrive too tired at the goal, you will not have the desire or the strength to enjoy the victory. Before choosing the path to follow, it is advisable to imagine yourself walking this path in 3,4 or 5 years. How do you imagine yourself? If you see yourself tired and lonely in the future, then you had better reconsider all the steps you have taken to achieve your goal.
  1. Periodically review your goals. It is clear that when we have invested time and effort in achieving a certain goal we feel emotionally attached to it, but sometimes it is wiser to forget it and consider a less ambitious one or simply change our plan of action. Remember that we change and the world around us also changes, if we cling to a goal planned in the past we could run the risk of atrophying.
  1. Remember who you are. It may sound silly, but the truth is that when the goals are very ambitious, they consume us to the point that we lose sight of who we are too. Remember that you are not your goal, you will not get more or less as much if you do it as if you fail. Above all, always remember that you are a person who also has other needs, aspirations and dreams.
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