Expert advice on goal setting and achieving your goals.

How to Make Sure Your Goals Are Really Yours

If you ask a person what their goals in life are, you’ll hear them talk with excitement about a mixture of things, convinced that they are what they want.

However, many times, these things are not really their own goals. They’re just goals they’ve picked up from others. They think they want these things, but if they achieve them it won’t really make them happier.

This is a serious concern because you can spend years chasing certain outcomes, only to find out that you didn’t really desire to achieve them in the first place, other people wanted you to achieve them. It’s not only frustrating, but it also fills you with doubt and chokes your motivation to pursue any other goals you may think you have.

For this reason, it’s important to recognize your own goals, the things you truly want for yourself, and detach them from the goals of others. Here are 4 very effective strategies to do so.

1. Pay Attention to Conventional Goals

If you’re goals are very similar to what society conventionally tells us that we should want in life, that’s the first warning sign. Chances are that many of these goals aren’t genuinely yours.

You see, we all have unique personalities and desires, which to some extent stray from standard social expectations. So it’s nearly impossible that all your goals are aligned with what society typically tells you that you should want.

So when you think you want something that’s highly conventional (for example: marriage, kids, money, fame), ask yourself: “Is this what I really want, or is it just something society wants me to want?” You’d be surprised what the answer can be.

2. Look for the Reasons behind Your Goals

Searching for the motives sustaining your goals is another effective method to find out if they are truly yours. What you do is you simply ask yourself: “Why do I want X? How did I come to want this?”

Thus, you’re trying to get to the very source of your aims in life. Frequently by asking yourself this and pondering the topic, you’ll realize about a certain goal that you came to have it simply because others have told you that you should. Or because others around you had that goal.

But you never actually wanted it intrinsically. You didn’t associate joy with reaching it; others did. So you followed their lead. That’s not really a good thing, and you may wanna stop following.

3. Take Others Out Of the Equation

This is one of my favorite techniques. The purpose here is to detach yourself from the need to please others, and see what goals come up. Those goals will be genuinely yours.

You can do this by asking yourself something like: “If pleasing other people wasn’t a concern, what would I wanna do with my life?” Really think about this, from this unique perspective.

If you manage even for just a few seconds to detach from the desire to please others, you’ll get in touch with the desires that come from deep within you and they are independent of other people. And you can achieve amazing insights.

4. Do Some Practical Testing

Finally, if you wanna make sure a goal is truly yours, you can test it on a small scale. This means investing a bit of time and resources to reach that goal in a miniature form, and seeing how it makes you feel.

If you feel visibly happier, then it’s worth pursuing that goal on a larger scale as well. If you don’t, at least you didn’t waste enormous time and resources pursuing something that you don’t truly want.

For example: suppose you think you want to be famous. Try becoming famous on a small scale first, let’s say in a small community of people. And notice how it feels. Does it only give you a very short and subtle burst of pleasure? Then it may not be a good idea to seek international fame. That won’t make you much happier either.

It is often said that your goals are your own. However, that’s only so if you get in touch with your deep self and reveal your intrinsic desires, while detaching yourself from what other people want for you.

You now have the tools to do so. Use them, and you’ll be able to pursue goals that will perceptibly enhance your fulfillment in life.
Eduard Ezeanu helps people discover how to be more outgoing and social, as well as how to stop being shy, in order to create fulfilling relationships with others and build the social life of their dreams. He also writes regularly on his two blogs, Art of Confidence and People Skills Decoded.