Do goals really matter?

Historically I’ve not been a person that brainstorms or works towards goals. I don’t make checklists, and I have a hard time connecting my day to day with ambitious dreams. Goals just didn’t seem to help me. So naturally I avoided them and they became things to ignore. Let other people worry about goals.

I came across a podcast where Tim Ferris interviews Jason Fried the founder of Basecamp. Jason says “Goals are not something I pay attention to. I just sort of do what I feel like is the right thing to do in any situation… I don’t have goal posts along the way.”

 “Goals are not something I pay attention to.”

This resonated with me, I felt justified with my goal avoidance after hearing Jason. I chatted about this with my CEO who had also listened to the podcast. But he had a very different viewpoint. One that changed my viewpoint. His line of thought was: if we want to change, we need goals. Goals are the instigators of change. They help us move and shift circumstances.

Are you satisfied with your body? Do you live a healthy lifestyle? If your answers were “yes” and “yes”,  then you may not need a goal to eat less ice cream or work out. In this case a health goal would be something you don’t need to pay attention to.

If the business profits are growing at huge rates you don’t have to worry about shifting things. You are fortunate. You don’t not need to make changes to hit your “unstated goals”. But not everyone is that lucky. If you are trying to shift your health, your career, or your finances, then goals may be the catalyst you need.

 Goals help us push things that aren’t moving, and they help us get places faster.

Goals are hard. I hate doing hard things. I am a product of our culture. The culture that delivers everything to us instantly. But our culture isn’t one that helps build character. It doesn’t encourage sacrifice or decisions that go against our desires.

My apathy towards goals is driven by fear and laziness. I want an escape route, and avoidance seems like a great one. I don’t want to feel the pain of falling short. I don’t want to let myself, my family, or my friends down. So I don’t pay attention to goals.

This line of reasoning isn’t working for me. The fact is I have goals. I want to be healthier. I want to increase my finances. I want to move forward with my career. And I want wonderful relationships. Some aspects of these dreams are moving, but some are stuck in the mud. So instead of letting things run their course in this next year, I am going to start something new. I am going to make some damn goals. And I am going to measure them.

If I fail, I fail. But ignoring the goals because it is the easier thing to do doesn’t seem like the path I will be happy with long term.

I want pizza and beer every day. That isn’t a bad desire. But I also want to have a healthy body that isn’t riddled with compounding health problems as I age. These are two conflicting desires that a goal may help sort out…