Overdoing Goal Setting

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.

Bruce Lee

People always tell you to be specific about your goals. The more specific you are, the more likely you can achieve your goals. And for the most part, that’s true isn’t it? You have to know what you want, to know needs to be done, to do it, and then finally know that you did it.

However, I feel like we’ve overdone this and goals have become this never-ending pressure to do more, better, and faster. And this translates into unnecessary pressure on our children.

For example, we want our children to be successful.

So we start asking them to achieve at a younger and younger age. We put them in sports, music, language, or coding programs. We show off when they do something that is impressive. We look disappointed when they don’t get a good grade or didn’t win. We push them to practice and be better (‘more perfect’). There is this ‘path’ for success that involves the right program at the right university, which requires the right grades from the right courses from the right high school, which means that learning the right things in middle school and elementary school is essential, which means… you guessed it… the right kindergarten activities!!!

Is the goal for them to be rich? Employable? Competent? Happy? Or is the goal for them to be capable of making good decisions, to be the best version of themselves? Do those activities even help them reach the right goals? The goals that will help them achieve what they want to achieve?

The most successful people do not follow others’ formula. They develop their own mantras, their truths, their visions. They do learn from others. They often learn from other people’s mistakes. They don’t just do exactly what other successful people do. They learn. They are always learning. They experience. They are always experiencing. They do. They are always doing.

Being specific about a goal isn’t what gets you there, because it just isn’t ever really possible to do exactly as we plan or want. It’s more important to be able to respond if things DON’T go as we planned.

It isn’t realistic for every Olympic athlete to win a medal, but they aim for it. It doesn’t make sense for quarterly sales to be consistent, given how much the world changes. But having a general target and some flexibility to figure it out can be very exciting and stimulating for some. It isn’t reasonable to expect every child to be able to accomplish the same level of learnings for every topic at a certain age. But being around others who are also striving to learn and grow can inspire a group of kids to excel together.

We need things to aim at.

We need to aspire.

But depending on who we are and our circumstances, we will reach what we can reach. That’s fine. Then, on an as needed basis, we adjust our aspirations, our approach, our expectations, our routines.

And we go again.

Published by Sherry Yuan Hunter

Sherry Yuan Hunter is a certified trauma recovery coach and certified parenting coach. Taiwan-born American-Canadian Chinese, married, working mother of two, Sherry identifies as a Sandwich Parent, Third Culture Kid, an untigering Mom, and Recovering Shouldaholic. Based in Toronto, Canada, Sherry has been working in student success programs at University of Toronto for 20 years, supporting students, young professionals, new managers, working moms, and new immigrants to success.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: