Five Ways to Let Go (Yes, Let Go) of Long-Term Goals

We’re so goal-oriented over here at MediaJobsDaily, you’d think we’re over-achievers or something!

Well, according to a piece in The New York Times, maybe we should all exhale for a moment and stop focusing so much on the long-term.

Carl Richards, certified financial planner in Utah and author of The Behavior Gap, indicates we may not have enough money to reach all of our goals. (So, in this case goal isn’t exactly related to becoming a managing editor but rather, traveling to the Acropolis, saving money for a rainy day or a retirement fund.)

His solution? He writes in the piece, “I believe it’s time we let go of outcome-based goal setting and instead focus on the process of living the lives we want right now. Letting go of outcome-based goals can bring us freedom.”

1. Letting go of expectations. First, he says that goals are great and they help us focus, but life doesn’t owe us anything. Focus on goals remaining goals instead of turning them into lofty, unfulfilled expectations.

2. Letting go of outcomes. This is huge. Instead of relying on the light on the end of the tunnel, he recommends enjoying the journey. For instance, when he wrote his book, the goal wasn’t to become a hot seller on the New York Times best-sellers list but instead, to help people. Focus on your intent instead of the outcome which could possibly lead to anxiety and disappointment bundled together.

3. Letting go of worry. Let’s say you’re out of work or even if you are working, your retirement funds aren’t exactly stellar. Reminding us that worrying is certainly not productive, he asks, “Can you think of one single thing that got better because you worried about it? Obviously it’s different from sitting down and crafting an action plan to solve a problem. All worrying does is create an uncomfortable rut.”

4. Letting go of measuring. Goal setting should be measurable, right? Well, Richards indicates we’re all competitive and simultaneously we’re all striving for happiness. The thing is this — we can’t measure happiness. Indicating that we may sometimes substitute money for happiness along the way, things could get tricky when we continue to measure.

5. Letting go of mindless tracking. Letting go of comparing yourself to others or measuring is one thing, letting go of tracking is quite another. While he points out how some people track their funds and what they spend every dime on, when it comes to job seeking, it can become mind numbing at all. (Nod your head in agreement if you’ve ever been organized and detailed to keep a spreadsheet with your contacts, interview dates, follow ups, etc.)

He advises you “don’t want to confuse the process with the goal….Goals can be a great things. We just need to do a better job making sure they don’t turn into expectations that leave us disappointed and unhappy.”