Why I’m Giving Up Goal Setting

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“Just landed another client! Only a few more to go til I hit my goal!!”

I have sent countless texts like this to my husband over the years. I love the adrenaline rush of pitching, landing new clients, and seeing that income go up. It felt good to be able to report all of my successes at the end of each day. It was like positive feedback from the Universe. See, I’m doing a great job, because other people recognize it!

I also used to be obsessed with New Year’s resolutions. I would get completely swept up in the magical energy of everyone around me improving their lives. Every year I wanted to join a new gym, start meditating every morning, and launch new ventures.

This year has felt different. The highs of signing a new contract aren’t quite as high, and I have had to be brutally honest with myself and my motivations. I was working harder, longer hours, but not seeing the results I expected. This required me to slow down enough to actually hear my own inner wisdom. Perhaps that sounds a little cliche, but have you ever actually tried it? Stepped off the merry-go-round for just a minute and taken a good, hard, look at your business and your life?

What I found was unsettling at best. To be honest, I’ve attached my inner happiness to external benchmarks. Making more money and signing new clients feels amazing, but when it’s driving my own joy, there’s a problem.

I’d forgotten to find joy in my journey, to appreciate the work itself. I was completely focused on numbers and outcomes, and that can’t last forever. It actually took losing a big client in order for me to admit that this wasn’t working. Fortunately for me, I started to feel discontented with this constant cycle pretty early in my career, so I can start making changes now.

The truth is that if I’m not happy at my current income, no amount will ever feel like enough. Who am I to decide that getting to the next level is going to bring me true happiness? Maybe I’m meant to stay at this level a little longer, and by doing that, I’m going to learn priceless lessons and find more joy in my journey.

The moments of my life that bring me the most joy are not the ones hunched over a laptop, feeling stressed and behind. My most joyful moments look like long walks with my family, slow meals with lots of laughter, and feeling proud of my work.

So no longer will I hustle for the sake of hustling, or greet my husband after a long day with my financial report. I want to savor my slow, delicious life. No more fast food, growth hacks, or pushing through another night of very little sleep. No more setting resolutions without asking myself what I truly want out of life — and more importantly, what I want to give to those around me.

My 2018 goals look pretty strange compared to my usual ones. Instead of dollar signs, you’ll find the number of people I am going to serve. Before you think I’ve had a total revelation and no longer care about profits, remember this: the more people you reach and truly serve, the more money you will make. If you want to increase your income, simply increase the value you’re giving.

This could mean serving more people (growing your client load) or serving your people in a bigger way (increasing your services and charging more). Either way, you have the choice between focusing on numbers or people. Does this struggle feel familiar? If so, it’s never too late to pivot, and that does not mean starting over. It simply means shifting your focus to the present, rather than attaching your happiness to future outcomes. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

If my business or income never grew after today, would I still feel happy with my life?

What is this phase of life trying to teach me?

How can I find joy in the work and service of my business?

Let us know if you are changing up your usual goals! We can’t wait to support you on this journey.

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