How Focusing on Goals Can Make You Fail

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By Daphne C Spyropoulos

Say you want to lose an amount of weight. You set a goal in your mind and then work for it and wait until it happens. But what if it doesn’t? What if you can’t control yourself and you just can’t seem to get to where you want to be? What if the amount of weight you wish to shave off of your figure is too much and you just don’t have that much discipline in you? Is weight loss a goal you will never achieve?

Keeping one’s eye on the finish line can off course be motivating for some but for others it can be intimidating and debilitating. I remember mountain biking for the first time after years, when my legs started to give up on me. I am very strict about covering pre-decided distances when working out so quitting was off the table. If I were to start descending before I reached the top of the mountain I would have felt like I was never on a bike ride in the first place. This is why I stopped looking at the top and would land my gaze at the first tree I would find in my way, then the second, then the fifth and so on. Before I knew it, I had made it.

Breaking down a great goal and dividing it into smaller, more attainable ones only makes you feel more successful. If you aim at finishing a marathon, you are only happy once: the moment you pass the finish line. But if you refocus and redefine your goal, from an all-or-nothing to a getting-there approach, your happy moments increase exponentially: you celebrate making it through the first 5k then the 10, then the 20 until you reach the end.

This morning I was reading some of Leigh Weinraub’s articles for the Huffington Post Blog. I felt enlightened by her quote urging us to Fall in love with the process and the results will come. Come to think of it, who wouldn’t want to magically turn into a coveted version of themselves overnight: alluring, popular, fit, bright, envied by others? However misleading and scientifically unfounded, quick-fix messianic claims have been deceiving us through their brilliance for years: buy this drink and it will effortlessly turn you into a supermodel, a superman, Steve Jobs or Kim Kardashian.

Besides the evident business interest in satiating these marketing-born needs, believing in miracles steadily drives us away from getting to where we wish to be. No matter why we would prefer to choose the easy road to success, sometimes the only way to the other side is through. The day we tell ourselves that no one can fly us to our goals and if we truly want them we have to try our souls and bodies, is the day that brings us closer to our dreamland.

Goals can either challenge or petrify your potential: so be goal-less. Forget about where you want to get and focus on putting one step in front of the other. Walk and walk and let your feet lead the way. After a few miles you will open your eyes and see that you are where you wanted. Successful and pleasantly surprised.

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