Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

The Dark Side Of Goal Setting


I have a love/hate relationships with goal setting.

Which is weird, because I live in the leadership development space and, at least most of the time, people here are big into goal-setting.

Don't misunderstand. Goals are important. In fact, they're critical. They should be clear. Attainable. Measurable. "SMART" goals. All that. And the reality is, whether we (I) like it or not, we all have goals, even if they are not spelled out as such. Living by goals is both important, and unavoidable.

And, this is coming from someone who admittedly lives with a pretty serious case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I recognize it. I own it. I do what I can to keep it under control.

But there is a dark side to being a goal-oriented person (as there is a dark side to FOMO). Tunnel vision creeps in like so much kudzu. The assumption becomes that this path will always be the best path to reach my goals. It's possible to be so focused on the path to the goal that important things are missed. Better opportunities. Significant moments. Life going on around you. Anniversaries, birthdays, a full moon. Allow whitespace to explore and challenge yourself. To grow. To listen. To read. To think. To enjoy.

Maintaining the correct tension becomes critical. Keep the "eye on the prize". But also enjoy the journey, because sometimes "the prize" isn't nearly as sweet as it looked at the starting line.

Goals should be big. But not all-consuming.

Life is bigger than goals.

Defining and working toward stated goals is incredibly important and I don't want to downplay that. In fact, I'm using Michael Hyatt's Free to Focus Planner these days to get better at staying on target with my goals. It's helping me (the FOMO guy) a lot.