Wednesday, 6 April 2016

How to Avoid Goal Traps

You may wonder why I am talking about "goal traps".  What exactly is a "goal trap" and why is it so important to avoid it?

Giving Up

I know of many people who have given up on goals for a number of different reasons.

Some have found they set goals in the past which they were never able to achieve.  This has happened to them so often that they have decided there is no point in having any goals.

Some have decided that having goals saps their energy and is tiring.  Far better, they argue, to have no goals and just lazily coast through life.

Some believe there is nothing they particularly want in life, so there is therefore no need for them to have any goals.

Hopefully you do not fall into any of these categories.  But even if you don't now it is possible you will fall into the trap of adopting one of these views at some point in the future, so I want to give you the ammunition now to stop this from ever happening.

Unrealistic Goals

Have you ever had any unrealistic goals?

This is really quite a difficult issue.  I strongly believe in the infinite power of the universe.  This power can achieve literally anything we want.  So how can any goal be unrealistic?

I would suggest the term "unrealistic" is relative rather than absolute.  Yes, it is true you can achieve anything you want if you really want it enough.  But there are two golden rules you must follow if you are going to achieve that goal.

First you must REALLY want to achieve it.  Not simply think it would be quite nice - if your desire is that wishy-washy you are unlikely to achieve anything at all unless it is very easy to achieve in the first place.  You must have a strong desire to achieve it.

Second you cannot have any negative thoughts about it.  This is perhaps the most difficult to achieve.  Say, for example, you are in a wheelchair and your goal is to become the first seriously disabled person to climb Everest.  Certainly that would be classified in most people's minds as an unrealistic goal.  It is not impossible, but the difficulties involved would probably make it seem so to even the most optimistic among us.  If you have chosen that as your goal, then very likely a little voice inside you will keep telling you it is unrealistic and that you have no hope of achieving it.  What makes it unrealistic is not so much the goal itself, but that voice which tells it IS unrealistic.  Unless you are able to avoid any such negative thoughts it is unlikely you will achieve the goal.

Goals Sap Your Energy

Do you find working towards goals is tiring?  Do you sometimes wish you didn't have to work so hard trying to reach goals?  If so, you could be in danger of slipping into the trap of feeling it is better simply not to have any goals in the first place.

This is a trap you simply MUST avoid.  Do anything and everything you can to avoid it.  Once you start on the slippery slope of feeling that goals sap your energy it is very difficult to escape from the trap.

The reality is living a life without goals saps far more energy from you than will the toughest goal.  Read this sentence again, as it is extremely important.  If you take nothing else away from this article, please at least remember this.  Living a life without goals saps far more energy from you than will the toughest goal.

Now you can see why I have called it a slippery slope.  In a goal-less life your energy is dissipated.  The more energy you lose the more difficult it becomes to change direction and start working towards goals again.

The truth is that the right goals do not sap your energy.  The wrong ones can though.  The ones that don't really inspire you and fill you with hopeful energy.  If you find yourself slipping into the "goals are so tiring" mode, you have to look again at the goals you are setting yourself, replacing them with ones that excite you.  As long as you do this you will find your goals energize you rather than sapping your energy.

Nothing You Want

This can be one of the most difficult traps to climb out of if you ever fall into it.  Saying "there is nothing I want in life".  It really is not true, but sometimes it can deceptively seem so.

There are a number of different reasons you might fall into this "goal trap".

Often people fall into it because of one of the earlier traps I have discussed.  They have given up on goals, found their goals were too unrealistic, found their goals sapped too much energy from them, and so they find it easier simply to say they simply don't have any goals.

Feeling there is nothing you want out of life can also be a symptom of depression.  This is a very dangerous condition, and if you believe it possible you are falling into it you really must do something about it.  Go and see a medical professional.  Also, you may find one of my earlier articles helpful.  Try reading my article on how to avoid sadness (, or the one on using music to ease depression (

If you do believe there is nothing you want in life, then you should take some time to think about all the things that have made you happy in the past.  Think about the things that gave you a sense of achievement.  Dig beneath them and you will find other things that can inspire you and which could be realistic goals for you to target.

Avoiding Goal Traps

Try not to allow yourself to fall into any of these goal traps.  If you do fall into one, make sure you work on getting out.  Now you know what goal traps are it should be easier for you to recognize them when they arise, and easier for you to find a way out if you inadvertently do fall into one.