Monday, March 7, 2011

Case for Not Setting "Goals"

It might sound like a strange topic but do we really need goals to succeed? Most of you (and I) will say, of course! This quote by Bill Copeland  puts it very succinctly:

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score”! 

Without goals we will just float around and have no anchor to hold us to a vision! Our goals might be small or big, but I would say that we do need them, right?

Well, I came across an article in a blog I follow (Zenhabits), which states that we really don't need a goal to succeed! Actually, according to the author, setting goals limit us and binds us to a single path and kills spontaneity. Having a goal that was relevant for us a year for even weeks before, might not be relevant anymore. And doggedly following that goal will only make us miserable! This quote by the author sums up the crux of the whole article"

"Being liberated from goals means you will always be excited about what you’re doing. And yes, you’ll accomplish things. You’ll get somewhere great — you just might not have known you’d ever end up there when you started."-Zenhabits

The Zenhabits author, instead asks us to "focus" on what we want and that will help us get it (um, we need something to focus on : a goal, perhaps?). By being excited about something is enough to get it done! 

I find this article contradictory. Focus to me is the handmaiden of goals. We need something to focus on! Maybe what the author means, is that we should not "laminate" our goals and put it on the mantle? That we should leave some room to evolve and as we change so would our goals? I agree  that we should stay flexible but  I can't agree that setting goals should be chucked all together! Specially for simple mortals like myslef! Without a beacon I would just flounder and probably sleep all day!!

So, what do you think? Should we set goals for ourselves or learn the art of "focusing" to get what we want?


  1. I suppose goals are just a way of measuring perceived achievements; without them you have a harder time seeing what you've done and recognising when you have reached a milestone. Probably having/not having goals boils down to your personality type and whether you can get by without a structure to cling to...perhaps?!

    Goals force me to plan and I feel then I'm more productive...without them I would feel liek I hadn't achieved much ( I like ticking off 'to do' lists!)

  2. Julie, I am like you! I need deadlines/goals to set me in a direction! Otherwise I just float around! One of many character flaws, I guess!But if not setting goals work for people , good for them! I just want to know how they do it!!