“My goal is to lose that last 10 pounds, and then I’ll be at my ideal weight and look my best.”
That sounds like a common and reasonable goal, right?
There’s nothing wrong with having a goal like this, especially if it’s in alignment with your desires, you have a plan, and you’re putting in the work to make it a reality.
What can be an issue is when we use goals like this as gatekeepers to our happiness and satisfaction.
It’s not uncommon for the internal dialogue of someone with a goal like this to sound something like this, “I’ll be happy when I lose 10 pounds and look significantly leaner.”
Will you really?
Which doors in life are currently closed to you because of that 10 pounds?
Are those doors really closed, or have you closed them to yourself because you assume you need to be 10 pounds leaner to be worthy of walking through them?
What about your life will need to change in order to keep those 10 pounds off indefinitely?
It depends on where you’re at in your weight loss journey. If you’re significantly overweight, it might be something as simple as trading your mid-day vending machine runs for a water bottle and a baggie filled with fruits and veggies.
If you’re on the “last 10 pounds” before you obtain your peak physique, you’ll be required to make significant sacrifices of time, bandwidth, and possibly social interactions with loved ones to sustain your diet.
Is it worth it?
That’s up to you to decide.
We’re not here to tell you whether or not you should pursue a certain goal. We’re here to invite you to examine the relationship you have with your goals and assess whether or not the goals you’re chasing will give you what you want.
Here’s our 3-step process for how to set better goals
Define your desires
Defining your desires is an important step in the goal-setting process that usually gets skipped by most people.
This makes sense, considering that we wouldn’t set goals to do things that we don’t want to achieve.
Unfortunately, that’s false.
Our desires aren’t our own; they’re externally motivated. We can go back to the weight loss goal we started with. Why would anyone want to lose “that last 10 pounds” to achieve a peak physique? It requires more work and discipline than any weight that was lost before, and it will have the least positive impact on their health. It might even have negative health implications.
This person doesn’t really care about the weight. What they really want is to feel the way they think someone who looks and weighs 10 pounds lighter feels.
Society, social media, and celebrities have made it abundantly clear that people who look like “this” have better lives.
Their more confident, have more opportunities, and don’t have to deal with the same problems as the rest of us mere mortals.
If you don’t make the distinction between the external desires, what the world tells you to want, and your internal desires, what you really want, you’ll end up endlessly chasing goals that, once achieved, will leave you feeling unfulfilled.
Layer your goals
Parsing your internal and external desires is much easier said than done. Oftentimes they’re so intertwined that it’s nearly impossible to tell where one ends, and the other begins, which is why we use multiple layers of goals as a litmus test to see whether or not we’re on the right track.
Layering goals is simple; all you have to do is ask yourself, “what’s the goal AFTER the goal,” meaning, what do I want to achieve next?
If you’ve defined your desires properly and set an appropriate initial goal, the next goal or milestone will naturally evolve.
Map your goals to your desires
Once you’ve established the second layer of your goals, the trajectory of your pursuit becomes obvious, and you can map that against your desires.
If your goals and your internally motivated desires are in alignment with one another, there’s no conflict.
On the other hand, if they’re pointing in different directions, it's like clicking on the wrong restaurant in Google maps and driving clear across town only to arrive and realize that you’ve missed your reservation at the place you wanted to eat but is now 10 miles in a different direction.
When you take the time to map your goals against your desires, you eliminate that possibility.
Setting goals is a powerful tool anyone can use to change their life. If you want to get the most out of your goals and the effort you put into them, you have to look beyond the surface.
Define and refine your desires until you uncover your internal motivations.
Layer your goals to establish your trajectory.
Map your desires and your goals upon one another to ensure you’re in alignment with your values and expectations.