Is it Possible to Become Too Focused on Your Goals?
Goals are meant to help us realize dreams and create our best life; but without balance we risk losing sight of what matters most today.
However, I also believe that it’s possible to become so focused on the process of reaching our goals that we lose sight of all the good things we have going for us today, and at times maybe even why we wanted to achieve our goals in the first place.
Of course making some sacrifices on the journey to achievement is to be expected, but life is short and the danger of always keeping an eye toward the future is that we risk developing tunnel vision and taking for granted all the good things we have going for us now.
As with anything in life, there needs to be balance, even when pursuing our most cherished goals.
The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
You may be too focused on your goals if …
- You’ve become obsessed worrying about your time: Is your time preoccupied with, well, worrying about your time? Endlessly cycling through your to-do list in your head, spending a lot of time arranging and rearranging your schedule, or wishing throughout the day that you had more time are all pretty good signs you may need to take a break and rethink priorities.
- You can’t remember the last time you were spontaneous: You used to say yes to impromptu evenings out or weekend getaways. Now when someone asks you to a last-minute potluck dinner party, all you can think of is you don’t have time to grocery shop or cook anything to take. Try to think quality rather than quantity and give yourself permission to enjoy the occasional break in routine, you’ll enjoy life all the more for it!
- You eat most of your meals on the go: If you eat most of your meals in the car, at your desk, while on the phone (or worse, not at all), this is a sign that you have seriously overloaded your schedule.
- You don’t remember the last time you talked to your best friend: It’s ironic that the first relationships to go are usually the ones we take for granted, which are also usually the ones that are actually most important to us. If your chats with your closest friend (or spouse!) are starting to feel like rushed downloads instead of real conversation, slow down and make more time to reconnect—you’ll be happier for it.
- You’re sleep-deprived: If you doze off in meetings or at the wheel then oversleep on weekends to try and play catch up, you’re not getting the kind of sleep you need to function at your best. Although skimping on sleep may seem like one of the easiest ways to gain extra time in our day, your body needs time to repair and restore.
- You don’t take time for personal indulgences: Maybe you have a favorite hobby like painting or golf, or simply enjoy reading a good book or the luxury of lingering over breakfast with the paper. It’s easy to consider these activities frivolous when more pressing issues face us, however making time for these personal indulgences is important because they nourish you, cause you to slow down and enjoy your life.
- You can’t recall when you last exercised: Working out is about more than just losing weight—it has proven psychological benefits, like reducing anxiety and depression. If you haven’t exercised in a few weeks, you might be in a vicious cycle: Too busy and stressed to work out, which in turn prevents you from getting the stress relief you probably need.
- You resent being asked for a favor or commitment: You used to love to help or be involved. But now if a friend asks you for a favor your immediate response is tinged with resentment because you’re already pulled in so many different directions. While mastering the art of saying no is a valuable skill, there’s also a lot to be said for building some wiggle room into your schedule to occasionally be there for others and foster relationships in your community.
- You don’t deal well with unexpected changes to your schedule: Life is unpredictable. No matter how we try to plan or schedule around it, the one thing that is constant is change. Having enough breathing room in your life means that when there are last minute changes such as a meeting gets moved or you have to pick up your sick child from school, you can respond and adjust with some amount of ease. If your response instead is more along the lines of hyperventilating and making a beeline for your calendar, then you’re probably too tightly scheduled.
If you look at the path of life for most people, you’ll find that about 95% of the journey is spent working toward achieving various goals, and only 5% in the actual results, if that much. Which means if you’re not enjoying the journey you’re missing out on some of the most important times of your life.
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