Being attached to your goals can easily be mistaken for being focused on your goals. There is a difference.
When we’re focused on our goals, it means we’re clear on the outcomes we want. It also means we’re taking the right actions based on our plan to achieve them.
Signs You May Be Too Attached to Your Goals
When we’re attached to our goals, these things may happen:
- We want to do things our way without considering input from others.
- We get frustrated and overwhelmed by all the things we have to do to achieve our goals.
- We want or expect things to happen when we want them to.
- We’re only interested in what achieving the goal will give us.
- We make not achieving the goal mean something about us.
When we’re attached to our goals, it usually means there are certain fears playing out. These fears may include:
- Fear of not being enough.
- Fear of missing out.
- Fear of the consequences of not achieving our goals.
- Fear of being judged or ridiculed.
- Fear of the unknown.
By not being attached to our goals, we’ll make things easier for ourselves, which can help us achieve them faster.
In the year 2000, the Olympic Games was held in Sydney. When tickets were offered for sale, I applied to attend several athletics events.
One event I wanted to attend was the 400 metres Finals, which would involve Michael Johnson from the USA in the men’s event, and Cathy Freeman from Australia in the women’s event.
After the first round of ticket sales, I missed out on those tickets. As I was determined to attend the event, I applied again in the second round of tickets sales, knowing my chances were slim.
Once again, I was unsuccessful. I remember thinking there was no way I would be able to attend, so I let it go.
The company I was working for went through a restructure and I was given a new role. The person in the role previously had left the company, therefore all mail addressed to him would come to me.
A few weeks later, I received a letter from a supplier, who were also a sponsor at the Olympic Games. Inside the letter were several tickets to different events.
And two of those tickets were to the 400 metres Finals. I’ve always wondered how I attracted those tickets. I think it’s because I had no attachment to attending the event.
It highlighted the importance of having an intention to achieve a goal, with no attachment to it.
The Dangers of Being Attached to Your Goals
Here are five reasons why not being attached to your goals is valuable. These can help you let go of the fears that may play out in achieving certain goals.
- It can slow you down. Our way isn’t always the best way or the right way. If we’re always doing things our way, we aren’t open to new possibilities or options. We can speed up the achievement of our goals through collaboration and feedback from others.
- It can generate additional pressure or stress. Achieving goals isn’t enjoyable if we’re stressed or tense all the time. When we feel additional pressure, it can affect our ability to focus and be effective. It can also put additional pressure on those we associate with regularly.
- It can affect your mindset and mood. If we’re under pressure or stress, it will affect our attitude. If we compromise certain things in our lives to force ourselves to achieve our goals, it will have serious consequences.
- It will affect your health. This may include not sleeping well at night or not eating right. Taking shortcuts just to find additional time to keep working towards our goals will eventually catch up with us.
- It will affect your performance and quality of work. Sometimes when we’re hustling and working on one thing for a long time, it will affect our motivation levels. Having variety in our work and what we’re focusing on can help us have less attachment to our goals.
Things You Can Do to Not Be Attached to Your Goals
There are simple things you can do to stop being attached to your goals. These include:
- Trust that things will work out even if you don’t know how.
- Hold the vision of what you want by visualising your goals as achieved.
- Be clear on how achieving a certain goal will improve the lives of other people, not just you.
- Ask for help.
- Find a mentor who can offer guidance and also hold you accountable.
Those without goals are often directionless. Goals give purpose and meaning to the things we do, which is why it’s important to have them. When we have a clear intention behind what we do, it’s easier to focus on what we want. Having high intention, but low attachment will make the achievement of our goals a lot easier.
Action Step: Review your goals for the year. Develop a clear intention for each of your goals and visualise them as achieved. Let go of any attachment you may have to them. Be prepared to experience unexpected things that will make achieving your goals easier.
Question: What is another reason why not being attached to your goals is valuable?