I am a big believer in setting goals and creating practical steps to help achieve them. But while setting goals and intentions is a positive course of action, focusing too much on the external outcome can work against you by causing your body stress. When the pursuit of goals turns in to pressure, it actually puts you into stress – which can create sickness, fatigue, and discouragement, and KEEP you from reaching your goals.
That’s right. We may not realize that we are actually setting ourselves up for failure each and every time we make new goals.
The traditional goal process is actually extraordinarily unsuccessful. In fact, the self-help industry has an abysmal 97 percent failure rate. The typical three-step goal process that most of us use when making goals is actually a “blueprint for failure.” That model is:
- Focus on what you want.
- Figure out a plan to et there.
- Put the plan into action.
Steps one and two both hinge success on achieving the end result. Dr. Dan GIlbert, Harvard psychology professor and best selling author of Stumbling on Happiness, aptly describes his theory that setting goals can actually be harmful to one’s health and happiness: “Expectations are a happiness killer.”
Why? Expecting a future end result instantly puts you into a chronic state of stress until you either get that result or don’t. And it’s been proven by an overwhelming number of medical professionals that up to 95 percent of all illness and disease comes from stress.
Even more alarming is the fact that virtually every problem in your life can be traced back to stress. How?
- Stress makes you sick. Stress leads to a compromised immunity system.
- Stress dumbs you down. It shunts blood flow away from your higher intellectual centers and kills creativity, problem-solving skills and all the things you need for happiness and success.
- Stress drains your energy. Pursuing a goal initially gives you an energy spike from cortisol, but then get ready for a crash. After this spike you’ll experience an adrenaline overdose and your energy will crash. You’re not supposed to go into stress mode unless your life is in danger and you need to fight or flee. But when your body is in a constant state of stress it causes chronic fatigue. In fact the number one complaint I hear from people is “I’m tired all the time” and it all points back to stress.
- Stress makes you approach everything from a negative standpoint. Stress can make even the most positive person on the block an unhappy, anxious wreck.
- Stress makes you fail at almost any task. It affects your health and your critical thinking. It makes you not perform at optimum levels.
It’s time to start setting better goals. It’s time to stop getting trapped by resolutions that actually hinder, rather than help, us.
Stay happy, healthy and stress free my friends!