There are so many different worthwhile things in life. There are wonderful relationships, paths to self-actualization, fulfilling pursuits and hobbies. On the other hand, there are also plenty of things that seem useful and positive but actually make for bad goals.
Here is a list of a few things you should not make your main goal because they are certain to leave you dissatisfied.
People from the past
You might feel nostalgic about past friendships and romantic relationships, but it doesn’t mean you have to rekindle them or keep thinking about them. We will not always get the closure we want.
You need to let go of people in the past, and not just the hope of restoring old relationships. Let go of old grudges or wishes to show them how well you’re doing or how much they hurt you.
Allow the past to stay in the past. This frees you to embrace and enjoy the future rather than remain caught up in what was. Don’t pursue the past, instead center on the present and what is yet to come.
Material pursuits for comparisons and looking good
Minimalism – a philosophy that emphasizes having little – does not work for everybody. We can enjoy and appreciate things. But sometimes, the pursuit of the material becomes its own goal, as a way to show off to others and to look good or to have things just because other people do.
However, things that you buy not because you like them but because you think of them as symbols of status are unlikely to make you feel happy and fulfilled on the long-term. Rather, these are things that might make you feel, briefly, satisfied but then pursue newer, better models all over again.
Instead, focus on things that matter and that you care about, like those that allow you to practice your hobbies or those that will empower you to have a variety of experiences. Focus on experiences and things that are truly enjoyable for you, rather than the things that seem or look good to others.
Perfection feels like a worthy goal. But it is an unachievable one. There will always be something that cannot be perfect. Your relationships won’t be perfect because people are not perfect. Your work or your home will always have some flaws or improvements to be made. This is a fact of life, and pursuing perfection can make you constantly dissatisfied and upset.
Instead of chasing perfection, try to make things as good as you can or make them better when it’s worth it. But you don’t have to stop trying to be better, just set a realistic standard for your work and achievements. Accept the flaws as part of the charm and learn to live with a world that is not as great as we can imagine.
Other people’s expectations
Maybe your parents always wanted you to be a doctor. Maybe your partner would like you to be a dedicated home-maker with a love of cleaning. Maybe other people expect different things from you. But this doesn’t mean you have to give all other people everything that they want from you.
Some people feel pressured to pursue the goals others set for them, consciously or unconsciously. But these goals are not necessarily authentic for us. They can feel difficult, emotionally taxing, or demotivating.
We don’t have to follow goals that are not genuinely ours. Instead, we can question all the goals that we face in order to distinguish those that belong to our families or to society. Instead, we should focus our efforts on goals that feel true to us, that will make us feel satisfied.
Things that seem too good to be true
When something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Companies that promise to make you rich in a week or a month will often take your money and leave none. If you think that marriage will resolve all your issues, perhaps it might be good to stop for a moment and consider whether this goal will actually fulfill all these expectations.
If we put too much in a goal, such as feeling that our happiness depends on it entirely or that it will turn our lives around, we are sure to be disappointed, just because it might not be realistic. Instead, it is good to adjust expectations and wait a bit before plunging in.