Setting Goals Could Stop You Achieving Your Goals

Rintu BasuPersonal Development2 Comments

One of the things that the personal development industry seems pretty clear on is setting goals. Often though I don’t think they have really thought through what can go wrong and why man people fail to achieve their goals even when setting them in the commonly accepted way.

The Closer You Get the Harder it Seems

Have you ever seen or been in a situation where you start towards your goal with great strides and make a really good start. But then as you get closer to the goal it seems to get harder until you fail at the very last hurdle?

This is a surprisingly common experience for goal setters. Here is what is happening. Every goal you set also presupposes a lack. For example if you set a goal of having a new car, by the nature of setting the goal it presupposes that you don’t have a new car and that on some level that is important for you.


Now the issue becomes as you get closer to the goal the significance of obtaining it and the current lack of it becomes heightened. And that emotional charge can be the very thing that puts you off your game.

Playing the Emotional Game

When I was younger a group of my mates and I all started learning the guitar at the same time. As you can imagine a bunch of teenage boys starting a new hobby, the competition to be the best guitarist was fierce.

I was constantly learning a new riff, lick, chord or song just so I could show off to my buddies. And invariably I would think I had it mastered. I would get my mates gathered in the school common room ready to show off. And then I would fluff the piece altogether, often dropping the pick in to the sound hole.

They would laugh and walk away. I would shake the guitar until the pick fell out and then with nobody watching I would play the piece perfectly. What I had not really sorted out was how much I was invested in getting it right in front of my mates was a huge stressor. It was the one thing that held me back playing in front of my mates.

Letting Go

The key to goal setting is first set meaningful goals as almost everyone in the personal development industry tells you. But then to let go of the emotional attachment surrounding the lack of having the goal. The better than 25% discount on the Confidence Booster is still running and on that course you will learn how to let go of negative emotions of this sort. Click through and find out more here:

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2 Comments on “Setting Goals Could Stop You Achieving Your Goals”

  1. Jon-Kristian

    Indeed! Attachment to goals can be an issue. I was wondering if detachment from thoughts, as in meditation, helps also with goals? It seems that when not entirely consumed with a goal, but instead holding it aloof in a way, makes the goal feel more attainable.

    It’s definitely this way with dating. Holding an all consuming passion for a woman is best reserved until you have seduced her. Doing so prior to this can be a disaster and lead to a bad case of stalking! The closer you get to her the further away she moves.

    I think Rintu is right, too much attachment to a goal can hinder its achievement. Balance is needed.

    Thanks for an interesting perspective, as ever.

    1. Rintu Basu

      I suppose one way of looking at this is using goals to set a direction, then just focus on enjoying the journey and being in the present.

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