“Perfect self expression will never be labor; but of such absorbing interest that it will seem almost like play.”
– Florence Scovel Shinn
In Succeeding Through Inner Strength, Dr. Nathaniel Branden says that people unconsciously lower their self-esteem through their goals.
They usually start by writing down some nebulous wish and may start working on it with the best of intentions. They may even know exactly what they want and work really hard in order to get it. However and more often than not, they quit and do so sometimes just as fast as they have written it down.
They feel that their goal is unachievable, abandon their efforts out of feeling belittled by such a lofty ambition, or quit due to the accumulation of stress and frustration they’ve acquired in the process. And the worst part is that they usually rationalize their decision by referring to the goal’s seeming unfeasibility or, worse yet, to their inability.
They say things, like, “I knew I couldn’t do it,” “it’s not for me,” “I’m just not cut out for it,” “I’m not worth it,” and so on. Seldom do they know that the problem has nothing to do with the goal in itself — or with themselves, for that matter. It’s in the “why,” not the “how.” It’s what they focused on to start with.
“Setting goals just isn’t enough,” Dr. Branden says. “Ask yourself: ‘What am I going to do next week in order to reach my goal? What about tomorrow? What about now?’ You must become consciously purposeful.”
The point is that you shouldn’t set a future goal and just leave it there. If you do that, I promise you that it will stay there. And the worst part is that it will, more often than not, take you away from your present moments.
Be mindful what’s important during every single moment of your life and not at some point in the future. In other words, make your priorities your goals and then make them a part of your life. Translate your priorities into activities. Make your goals your “conscious purposes,” as Dr. Branden says.