Why your goals aren’t making you happy.

I pretty lucky that I tend to attract incredible women, and you are one of them if you are reading this.

You are probably the type of woman who knows that your happiness and well-being are up to you. You want more positivity and love in the world, and you know it starts from within.

You might be a woman who is also goal driven and ambitious like so many of us.

You might want to know your purpose and live with meaning. You want to feel like you know your way and have more clarity about your path. You want to feel that spark in your life, and the confidence that you can handle what’s coming.

You might also be one hell of a goal crusher.

Many of the women I work with are high achieving, successful, smart, and driven women. They can accomplish a lot, and have accomplished a lot.

Yet so many of them are still not happy.

We are taught that if we do certain things our lives will matter and we will be happier.

We are taught that our happiness is OUT THERE so we set extrinsic goals that are motivated by reward or avoiding negative consequences.

My first extrinsic goals had to do with education.

I went back to school five times hoping to find the right fit that would have the status I craved and the happiness I wanted. Apparently commerce was not that fit, shocking I know.

I loved learning when I leaned into what I was interested in, instead of chasing a title.  

I also thought my happiness relied on a partner.

As a woman, we are taught that our relationships and their milestones will make us happy. Once we find that special someone we can finally let go and just be happy right? Yeah…not so much.

I learned I could be just as unhappy in a relationship, and until I learned to be happy alone no one could make me happy in a relationship either.

As an aside, do you know many people about to get married that are happy? It becomes such a shit show that most couples find this to be one of the most stressful times of their relationship. If you are engaged, here’s my advice: forget about making the day perfect. The perfect part is not in the details, it’s the fact that at the end of the day you will be married to the love of your life, and that’s fucking awesome. Let that shit go.

Then there’s kids.

I honestly had people tell me that I HAD to have kids!

I’m thrilled to be a mom now and wouldn’t change a thing, and I also would have been happy being child free.

Creating a family to BE happy isn’t a great reason to start one because it puts the responsibility of your happiness onto your family’s shoulders instead of your own.

And that shit is scary.

Those are the parents that live through their children’s achievements. Pageant moms anyone?

We’re taught that if we get more status or more stuff we’ll be happy, and sure there is a grain of truth to that.

Last fall I got a new car, and it was awesome.

I’ve never had a car newer than 8 years old ever, and when I got into my new Rav 4 and it smelled all chemically and new, I was happy.

Really happy.

And now four months later it’s dirty and full of shit because it’s now just my car.

Happiness from external stuff fades.

We have an immediate sense of happiness and then it’s done, until we get the next shiny thing.

Why do you think so many people shop to “treat” themselves, or to relieve stress? They do it to get that brief happiness high.

Maybe stuff isn’t the thing for you though, maybe it’s status, promotions, more education.

These are goals that often relate to validation, whether it’s for yourself or how you are seen by others.

None of these will make you happier either.

Your happiness can totally be goal driven by choosing goals that are intrinsic.

Intrinsic goals are motivated by self interest and personal growth. They are goals we choose because they make us happy to do them.

How many of us make time for intrinsic goals?

We make time for the second degree, online shopping, and dating, so why don’t we make more time for sitting in nature? Maintaining our current relationships? Meditating? Reading? Hell, any hobbies? Learning something just for the hell of it? Or being present with our lives?

I believe we all know on a deep level that our happiness cannot be found out there, yet maybe it’s easier for us to rationalize putting our time into those types of activities.

Most women don’t spend time on intrinsic goals for these reasons:

  • Lack of time. Who isn’t time starved these days? Many of us are so time starved that we want to feel like we’ve accomplished something even if we know it won’t contribute to our happiness.
  • We believe that we’ll have more time later. You know, when the kids are grown, after this promotion, after we’ve lost 10 more pounds. We imagine our happiness is somewhere in the future.
  • It seems too extravagant. For real, I’ve heard this, and I’ve done this. We are so busy looking after everyone else’s needs first that we feel it’s too luxurious to spend any of that time on own happiness.
  • It feels selfish. Looking after our own needs and happiness can feel selfish because that means also saying no to somethings to say yes to ourselves.
  • We may not know where to even start. You might feel like things are unsettled, and that you know something needs to change but you don’t know where to start.

I’ve been all of the above.

When I started on this path I was either in school full time and working full time or working two full time jobs. I put off my happiness to push through one more year, until I made more money, or until I figured out what I was “supposed” to be doing. It felt way too extravagant to spend any time on me because I was in survival mode ALL THE TIME, and if I had any time shouldn’t I be taking care of other things that are more important? I was stuck and I had forgotten who I was and what made me happy. I was looking out there, instead of putting the time to look inside and ask the questions that make our lives meaningful.

Everything shifted for me when I stopped looking outside for approval and started getting real about what was going to make me happy.

I spent time asking myself the big questions and started living aligned to my values.

I put me ON the list and took care of me first. I still do this with a newborn baby. (Magnus gets a way better mommy when she has a little bit of exercise.)

I surrounded myself with like-minded supportive women who cheered for each other.

But the most important thing I did was START.

Imagine how shifting a small amount of your time and energy to your own happiness and well-being would change your day? Transform your relationships? Your energy? How you impact the world around you?

Most importantly, when are you going to start?

I’d love to hear from you now in the comments below: What types of goals do you normally set? How are you going to make more time for what makes you truly happy?

Did you like this post? Then please share it with all of your friends on Facebook, Tweet it out loud, and forward it to anyone who might need to read this today.

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