The 2 Types of GoalsSep 10, 2023
Read time: 4 minutes
Experts define goal-setting as the process of identifying something you want to accomplish and establishing measurable and specific objectives to achieve it.
Fair enough. That definition makes sense.
If you search the phrase “goal setting,” you’ll unearth many definitions and perspectives that are very similar to this one.
However, I believe a crucial preliminary step is missing from this action.
Before we hit the ground running—chasing the goals we desire to achieve. We must first be aware of the source of our goals.
So, in today’s piece, we will walk through the most valuable framework I’ve encountered for goal-setting: The 2 Types of Goals.
The 2 Types of Goals
There are two types of goals.
- Goals created out of inspiration
- Goals created out of desperation
Each type has a massive impact on your emotions and output—the energy you have to put towards achieving the goals you set.
Here’s how to think about each type. Starting with the latter:
Created out of Desperation
When goals are created out of desperation, emotionally, it feels like a heavy weight bearing on us.
Energy-wise, it can feel like a burden because of our sense of urgency.
On top of this, imposter syndrome and self-doubt can begin to manifest.
Think about decluttering your life as an example. Depending on your circumstances, it’s easy to feel as if it’s impossible to accomplish such a thing.
This mainly happens when we compare our journey to others and their progress.
So, to combat this, we frantically and desperately search for answers and ways to accomplish our goals faster.
Takeaway: The big thing to note here is that creating goals out of desperation makes us feel like we HAVE to do these things instead of WANTING to.
And this is how most of us set our goals—frantically and desperately, whether we intend to or not.
But the good news is that there’s a better way.
Created out of Inspiration
When goals are created out of inspiration, it feels like a calling pulling us, and there’s a profound enjoyment driving our actions rather than it feeling like an obligation or a chore.
The perfect metaphor for this is when I think about my career as a track and field athlete.
On the track, we had this running joke (no pun intended) where we would talk about how athletes from other sports run to condition themselves to play their sport effectively. But track athletes run to condition themselves to then run more.
I bring that up to say this:
When we create our goals and hit the ground running—chasing the achievement we desire, we should do so because we WANT to, not because we HAVE to.
This is why runners run, painters paint, dancers dance, and writers write even if they don’t get paid or make a living from it.
So, when you think about your decluttering journey—continuing the previously mentioned example.
You’re not decluttering because you HAVE to. You don’t have to do anything. You’re doing it because you WANT to.
- You want to prioritize your values
- You want to put your family first
- You want to pursue meaningful work
- You want to host family for the holiday stress-free
- You want to downsize your living, save money, travel, change your family’s tree
- You want to… [fill in the blank]
Takeaway: The big thing to note here is that creating goals out of inspiration is often the only motivation we need.
We don’t think ourselves into doubt, rationalize why we can’t do it, tell ourselves that it’s unrealistic, how we should focus on more important things, or that we’re not good enough to do it.
Those thoughts can only be fueled when a goal is created out of desperation.
How to Discern The Difference
How do I know when a goal is created out of inspiration or desperation?
Observe your emotions and output—the energy you have to put towards achieving the goals you set.
Here’s an exercise that takes less than 30 seconds to do.
The next time you create a goal and before you hit the ground running, do these two things:
- Check in with your emotions: How do you feel when creating the goal? Do you feel good? Inspired? Excited? Called to take action? Or none of the above?
- Check in with how you feel energetically: Goals created out of desperation will feel draining, confining, and stressful, and you may feel a sense of fear.
Remember: Goals created out of inspiration generate outcomes you’re further inspired by.
⇨ This week’s action step: Before moving forward this upcoming week, hit pause and spend a few moments thinking about the goals you’ve set in your life. Were they created out of inspiration or desperation?
If the latter, revise them with more intention and inspiration. You’ll be glad you did.
That’s all for today!
Keep growing on your journey, and I’ll see you next week.
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