Use Active Goal-Setting to Improve Your Odds of Success

On the difference between active and passive goals, the “goal” of goal-setting, and meeting reality on its own terms.

Mike Sturm

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Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

Here’s a question that might sound dumb: why do we set goals?

The short answer is that setting goals is the best way to make sure you keep on growing. The longer answer (and the more important one) is that goals provide us with the building blocks of a fulfilling life. If you set the right goals, stay engaged, and see them through, chances are good that you’ll live a fulfilling life.

But a word of caution here: you need set the right kind of goals. Because setting the wrong kind of goals can actually be detrimental in two significant ways. First, the wrong kind of goals can derail you from seeing goals through. Secondly, even if you do achieve the goals, the wrong kind of goal can leave you feeling disillusioned or burned out. Either way, the wrong kind of goal can make you feel sour about the whole enterprise of goal-setting.

Whether you write your goals down or not, whether you create a vision board, chant affirmations, or do exercises imagining yourself succeeding — ensuring that you think about and embrace goals in the right way can make all the difference.

The Two Types of Goals

The first (and most common) kind of goals are passive. They come out of a way of thinking that centers around what you would like to have, be, or receive. These kinds of goals are more common — especially for those who don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the process of adopting goals.

The second (and less common) kind of goals are active. They come out of a way of thinking that centers around what you would like to be doing, or what activities you’d like to be engaged in. The reason these types of goals are less common is because they tend not to revolved around thoughts of completion or resolution and passive enjoyment (like their passive counterparts). Rather, active goals involve effort, problems, trade-offs, and other things that we tend to try to avoid when thinking about how we would like things to do be in the future.

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Mike Sturm

Creator: https://TheTodaySystem.com — A simpler personal productivity system. Writing about productivity, self-improvement, business, and life.