Letting Go of Goals

Designed to help you find focus and tackle “the problems we face as we try to live and create in a world of overwhelming distractions” is focus : a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction.

This is Leo Babauta‘s latest book and he is producing it iteratively online. One issue I have is that if there are two current trends that I’m undecided about and feel have been blow out of proportion it’s the minimalist lifestyle and the notion that modern life is distracting.

Regardless, I enjoyed the following from the chapter letting go of goals, describing why we should do exactly that:

They are artificial — you aren’t working because you love it, you’re working because you’ve set goals.

They’re constraining — what if you want to work on something not in line with your goals? Shouldn’t we have that freedom?

They put pressure on us to achieve, to get certain things done. Pressure is stressful, and not always in a good way.

When we fail (and we always do), it’s discouraging.

But most of all, here’s the thing with goals: you’re never satisfied. Goals are a way of saying, “When I’ve accomplished this goal (or all these goals), I will be happy then. I’m not happy now, because I haven’t achieved my goals.” This is never said out loud, but it’s what goals really mean. The problem is, when we achieve the goals, we don’t achieve happiness. We set new goals, strive for something new.