Why I hate goals (and love missions)

Okay, sit down. Tell me which is your goal, she asked staring me. I stayed silent. She was a young personal trainer meeting her potential new customer, and I did not know what to tell her.

-Many of my clients are preparing for a marathon; she tried to help me. – Not me. -Do you want to lose weight? -No. The muscles weight more than fat.  -Do you want to run ten kilometers in 45 minutes? -Maybe, I don’t know. I just want fun and effective training, because I am busy, I mumbled.  She was getting confused.

The truth was that I  joined the fitness club last fall, because summertime it is easy for me to run in the woods and walk everywhere, but in winters it is the opposite. When it rains cats and dogs, it is easy for me to sit a whole day inside.  I need a fitness club membership to give my body exercise. Exercising gives me power and energy to grow my three kids. It keeps my life organized and my body vital and happy. This appointment with the personal trainer was just a free bonus, which I did not want, but it came with my membership.

Explain this to 22-year old ex-athlete, whose life has been full of sporty goals and whose next question was even more irritating. -What is taking your time now, so you are so busy you cannot exercise more?

Taking my time? Okay. There are things, which just need my time, even if I want it or not. Paying the bills, buying groceries, doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and so on. But most of the things, which make me busy are things I love. Kids, husband, family, friends, creative and analytical work, writing, reading, gardening, house decorating, traveling, sleep, eating great food and exercising. They are not taking my time, but I am GIVING my time to them. The more, the better.

Some self-help-guides emphasize strict goals as a way to happy life. Make a goal and reach it, and then make another. But if your life is a continuing list of unreached goals, are you programming yourself always wanting something new? When are you going to enjoy this moment? When can you just relax and be happy? The happy and vital life can’t be a temporary goal, it should be an attitude.

I think that the missions and purposes are guiding better in life than strict goals. They work long term, and they come from your heart. They are not forcing or pushing you to do something; they persuade you to do it – every day. And when you reach some meaningful step in your life’s journey, you feel not that the project is done and what next. Instead, you feel that you are going on a right track.

a happy dog