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Why did I set these goals in the first place?

One of the consequences of setting goals is that we fall behind on them. The theory goes, if we aren't falling behind on some of our goals, we have set very easy goals for ourselves.

And when we fall behind on some goals, it can quickly erode our motivation to follow through on trying to achieve those goals. And this is leads to a downward spiral of ensuring we fall further behind on those goals and get further demotivated, until we give up on it altogether.

Whenever I catch myself going into such a spiral, I ask myself, 'Why did I set these goals in the first place?'

Sometimes, I would have failed to anticipate the work that needs to be done in order to achieve a goal while setting it. Since I set outcome driven goals, like publish a book, hit a certain weight, etc, how I get there doesn't feature at the time of setting the goals. Once I set myself a process for getting to the desired outcome and start acting on it, I realize that the effort needed is a lot higher than what I had been willing to put in. In such cases, I will reassess the outcome and aim for a more practical milestone so that I continue to be motivated and put in the amount of effort I can rather than give up altogether.

Other times, I would have set up goals simply due to peer pressure or other extrinsic motivations. And I end up hating the process of getting there, which leaves me in a place of doing something because I want to achieve something that I don't particularly care about but have decided to do as others expect me to be doing something like this. This is actually a very hard realization to arrive at as our minds tend to believe that we really want something that was originally driven by extrinsic motivations. Only when we go several levels deeper asking why we care about achieving this do we realize that our motivations are extrinsic and aren't really aligned with our values. Such times, I give up and put the goal aside.

But more often, I end up being reminded of the long term value of pursuing this goal and why I originally decided to go after this, which rekindles my motivation and I kill the downward spiral at the bud.

So, while setting goals, be clear on why you want to go after them. As that will play a big role in deciding whether you see it through or not.

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