Liberate your Happiness from your Goals

The other day, I realized that I have been living my life according to the following pattern:  

  • I set a goal for myself.
  • I convince myself that I will not be happy until I achieve this goal – essentially, to motivate myself, to help me push through when things get hard, and to convince myself that the sacrifices are all worth it.
  • Then, when I meet the goal, I feel happy temporarily and then set a new goal for which to aim.
  • I then repeat the pattern.

I sense that I am no longer following this pattern as much – making my happiness conditional on achieving specific goals – and it feels so new / odd to me. I am starting to feel content and happy regardless of my circumstances, and while I still feel like I have on training wheels with this outlook, I am learning to make it my new norm.

Stepping a bit more deeply into this realization, I remember moments in my life when I had worried so much about whether or not I would achieve a certain goal that when I finally had reached my goal, my main reaction was letting out a sigh of relief. I was so worked up that I did not even enjoy the moment.
Also, we don’t need to wait until we have “reached our goal” to celebrate ourselves and our progress. Often times, in fact, acknowledgement of our achievements and progress comes way after we have actually reached that level. For some reason, it sometimes takes a while for people to realize how amazingly awesome we are… don’t blame them nor wait to start the party until they get the picture. =)
One of those people who is not attuned into how cool you are is … you! I’m guilty of this too, for myself. I realize that I don’t need to wait until I become the next Deepak Chopra or have rock hard abs to feel happy + content with my life. I can choose happiness today – acknowledging my progress and motivating myself forward by focusing on the positive intentions of why I have chosen my specific goals, and lastly, in just loving and accepting myself as I am right now.
While it’s good to have goals for which to direct our intention and resources, I encourage all of us to be conscious of when we hold our happiness hostage to our goals. I promise you that you will have motivation without punishing yourself in the process. Choose the carrot rather than the stick. It hurts less, and you’ll go further as you won’t have to nurture your bruises during the journey. =) Namaste.