Have you ever noticed how often you set a goal, get close to achieving it, and then immediately set a new goal without taking a moment to appreciate what you’ve already done? We call this moving the goal post. I do this in my personal life all the time. It sounds something like this, “As soon as I finish planning the bar mitzvah, I’ll be happy…As soon as I get those middle school applications done, I’ll be happy…As soon as I get through cooking for the holidays, I’ll be happy.” It never ends.
I hear this from Her Corner members all the time in business too. “If I just land three new clients, I’ll be happy.” Or: “If I close another $50,000 of business, I’ll be happy.” Or: “If I get all of my contacts organized in Insightly, I’ll be happy.”
Why do we operate under the belief that meeting a specific goal will make us happy? What is the cost of constantly moving the post?
I think the cost is our happiness.
We never give ourselves a break to appreciate what we’ve accomplished because we are too busy moving that stupid goal post! No wonder we are all stressed out all the time!
Shawn Achor, another speaker we saw at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women, offered a paradigm shift relating to goals and happiness. I propose we all adopt it immediately. He suggested that:
“happiness is the joy you feel as you are moving towards your potential.”
Let that sink in for a second.
Happiness isn’t achieving the goal, it’s the process of working towards the goal.
I’m not suggesting we stop setting goals. I’m suggesting we derive more pleasure, self-confidence, and pride from the work we put in to get there.