When we set goals, it forces us to think about the future; a future that we imagine to be better than our present situation. However, we have to be extremely careful that we don’t let our thoughts about the future prevent us from enjoying and appreciating the present.
Let’s assume for a moment that your current production is $400,000 per year and your goal is to be a million-dollar producer. How different would your life be as a million-dollar producer versus a $400,000 producer? How much “happier” would you be at the million-dollar level? Think long and hard about your answers to those two questions.
If we become obsessed about reaching a certain goal, whether it’s the million-dollar production level or buying a second home on the beach, we may end up reaching the goal but at a high cost. Frequently, it’s at the cost of enjoying each step along the way. When we don’t appreciate and enjoy each step along the way, it’s like running on a treadmill; we’re running hard and sweating profusely, but we never get anywhere.
There’s nothing wrong with setting goals and striving to improve your life situation. The problem arises when we use goal setting as a drug to escape our present situation. If used as a drug, goal setting will lead to ultimate disappointment. Reaching the goal may lead to short-term gratification but it will undoubtedly be fleeting (remember the hedonic treadmill?). We reach long-term fulfillment by being grateful for each moment and stringing those moments together to make a lifetime.
Eckhart Tolle, in his book, The Power of Now, wrote, “Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’, or by being in the present but wanting to be in the future.” The physical fact is we can’t be anywhere other than where we presently are so enjoy each moment!
Top achievers set goals and strive to improve their life situation. However, they also understand that each moment of life should be treasured for its own intrinsic value. That way, even if their long term-goal is not reached, their goal of living each day with fulfillment is.
- Goal Setting: How to Set and Achieve Goals (goalsetting.biz)
- 7 Goal Setting Steps (selfimprovementbase.com)
- ‘A New Earth’ Author Eckhart Tolle Had Oprah Behind Him But Not Critics (huffingtonpost.com)