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Why Goals Don’t Always Have to be Productive

Goals serve a variety of purposes, and one of those is purpose. Most of us think of traditional goal setting as creating a set of aspirations and figuring out the steps to get there. When we reach our goals, we feel successful and productive. And we should. But often we mix up goal setting and goal striving. In other words, naming what they are and then tapping into our motivation and pathways to get there (i.e. the process).

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we have many dimensions to our lives and therefore, may have a multitude of goals that reach into these dimensions. We may have thought of new hobbies to embrace, of new books to read, of new ways to cook. If in fact we think these are mundane, I would argue they actually make us whole. They also show us that we can build up small successes in various ways, which improves our self-efficacy. Identifying smaller goals that may not seem aspirational, should and could still connect to our purpose.

If your goal is to say, read in bed instead of watching tv, why? Are you trying to change a habit or embrace better sleep hygiene? There are many benefits of setting smaller size goals that may not directly relate to aspirational goals. As we think of ourselves as whole, maybe they are connected. The starting point of any goal setting exercise is to look inward and ask ‘why this and why now? And what purpose does it serve?’

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