Wanting things often hurts because if we want something it means we don’t have it yet. This can create long-term frustration and discontent. But we can change how we experience our interests so that our desires feel good rather than bad. Goals are markers in time that structure our passions and engage the world with joy. How to set goals is a valuable skill to study.
Wanting things also puts us in a vulnerable position and for the ego who wants to protect us there is an effective strategy- indifference. Being indifferent is an ultimate power position. But how enjoyable is this experience? If we tell people what we want we often feel exposed and compromised. Avoiding these unpleasant feelings is why we often hide our desires both from ourselves and others. If no one knows what I want, no one can hurt me. But if no one knows what you want or like in life, it is also impossible to know you at all and feelings of detachment can start to consume your day to day experience.
Passion is scary. Passion is brave. Wanting and enjoying the act of wanting gives life deep pleasure. We can improve how we experience the state of longing by taking time to realize that we are never going to arrive at complete satisfaction. That would be like trying to eat once and for all. Impossible. We experience moments of satisfaction and then begin the journey of hunger and longing again. We will always experience not having something we want- either a material object or a relationship or an opportunity- and that wanting will be ever-changing.
Expressing what we want in life makes it more likely that life will be able to bring us what we want. If we don’t communicate the specifics of our desires no one can know how to collaborate with us to our hidden end.
Setting goals enables markers for progress through time. Goals orient us in time and space. If we do not set markers through time our life becomes an indistinguishable sea of events one after another with no purpose. Without set goals, years can go by before we wake up and wonder why we are where we are in life. With a goal in place, you always know where you are in relation to that goal, as well as to your life. Your life has structure and purpose. Goals enable you to contemplate your daily actions as either helpful or harmful to that set desired end. Are you moving closer to or farther away from a desire?
Many people do not want to set goals because they experienced not meeting their set goals in the past. This makes them feel like a failure and so instead of learning how to set manageable, achievable goals they avoid the activity altogether. Setting a goal is not so much about achieving the end product as it is about always having a clear understanding of how you feel regarding a life passion. How are you engaging that interest as it moves and changes in time. Changing a goal is inevitable as we move towards it because life and experiences better inform us of what makes us happy and what doesn’t. But without the initial definition, our orientation remains vague and detached. If you start heading towards a goal and find yourself taking a detour, let that detour be your new goal.
If you have been struggling to achieve a life goal, I’d love to help! Be in touch and we can learn the infinite art of goal setting together.