How You Can Tell That a Goal is Not Well Suited to Your Gifts

You procrastinate it.

Procrastination is not a sign that you are a bad person, or lazy. Procrastination is simply one of the easiest ways to tell that a goal is unrealistic or unclear. Try setting a smaller, much easier goal at the same time, and compare the two goals. Did you learn anything from the small goal that can be applied to the big goal? If you are still procrastinating after that, try tweaking the goal a bit every week until you are able to stop procrastinating. Lowering the bar is actually a great way to start accomplishing things.

You have no idea how to even start.

Sometimes these goals are doable, for example by asking people to help. However, be careful if it's a solo job. The research involved in learning what's required is a specific gift that is not necessarily fun or interesting to everyone. Instead, think of something you can easily plan out on your own--in some detail, if not in exacting detail--over a lunch break.

You plan to pursue the goal forever.

For example, "I will start a garden." There is no time limit here and usually the goal-setter plans to instantly jump in for the long run. Hold on!

Instead, try something like, "I will start with a specific plant for one season." Starting something forever instantly changes every little step into something that is a lot more difficult, and incidentally may make you feel like a very grumpy person. If a specific plant works out well and you want to keep going, feel free to expand--and give yourself bonus points.

You keep telling yourself, "I have done this sort of thing before! I know how to do this!"

This one is very commonly seen in New Year's resolutions. We all have certain gifts that only tend to work well under anxiety or in a very limited role and duration. It is very common to feel a pull to develop those gifts, but it has to be done very carefully. Pushing ourselves to work on these gifts can easily trigger a high amount of stress and the unwanted symptoms that follow it.

To know if you are pursuing the use of a more tricky gift like this, ask yourself how many times you've done it in the past in a planned fashion or on demand. This gives you a good idea of whether you can reliably use the gift as part of a planned goal.

Goals that seem to resist planning are often achieved only when inspiration strikes or when circumstances suddenly change. They can be tremendously hard to achieve when we push on them or try to force them. One of the best ways to achieve these goals is to trust they'll happen when the time is right, and focus on different goals in the meantime.


I hope I've made it clear enough that a goal can be dangerous to your health! Trust yourself--you are a skilled, powerful person inside and if you don't feel that way, it's usually the goal's fault, not yours.

Topics: GoalsProcrastination