Hello! Seiiti Arata. Do you always need to set goals and objectives to live a full, productive life and achieve what you want? No, you don’t always have to set goals. You can consciously choose to live without goals and yet be able to have a good life.
This may seem unusual to enthusiasts for productivity, time management and personal development. But living without goals can be a light and interesting alternative for people who don’t like systems that are too rigid to achieve high performance.
Having goals should not be an obligation
Setting life goals and objectives is almost mandatory when you see any teachings on productivity and personal development.
Almost all teachings in the area of personal development have goals as one of their pillars. And that makes a lot of sense to most people.
However, not all people are equal.
Some people are extremely motivated to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound goals. At the same time, other people feel pressured by these goals.
The main complaint is that methods with goals and tasks are very strict methods. And the person feels trapped in the system. It seems difficult to have a free and spontaneous life. Is this your case?
If you’re part of the group of people who bother with goal setting, it’s no use insisting on going against your personal preferences. This may have the opposite effect. In addition to feeling unmotivated, you run the risk of feeling unhappy about having to organize life around specific goals.
Living without goals means focusing only on the present moment
Do not mistake living without goals with living without dreams. Living without goals is also different from living without values. On the contrary: For a good life without setting goals, you will need tremendous clarity and consistency with your personal values.
What we are talking about here is the intentional and planned decision to give up the goal system to realize your dreams. You will not set specific, timely goals to try to realize your dreams. Instead, you will intentionally adopt another strategy: the strategy of focusing only on the present moment based on your values.
Just living without goals and without clarity of values can ruin you. Without having clear goals or clear values, there will be a great temptation to make instant gratification choices.
For example, what can happen if I do not have the clarity that healthy eating is an important value? I run a great risk of falling into the temptation to overeat candy. The sweets are tasty and therefore bring me an immediate pleasure.
However, when I am clear about my values and know that I value healthy eating, I can resist the temptation to eat sweets … even without having a specific weight loss goal. Understood?
Basically, to live a life with good choices there are two main strategies:
One strategy is based on goal setting. I imagine an ideal future. And from this vision of the ideal future, I define the goals I want to achieve in the future.
A second strategy, which we are seeing today, is to focus only on the present moment. I do not need to visualize the ideal future. I don’t need to set goals. I can simply focus on the present moment. But to avoid falling into the temptations of instant gratification, I need to make my choices based on my values.
Without goals, your happiness no longer depends on results
The great advantage of living without goals is that your happiness no longer depends on whether you achieve certain results.
I’ll take a well-known example: weight loss. Think of someone who sets the goal of losing ten kilos. This person ends up conditioning his own happiness to this future goal. That is, he is only satisfied if he loses ten kilos. Today will be an unfortunate day because today he will not be able to lose all ten kilos.
Now let’s see how this same goal could be achieved without goals. Don’t set the future goal of losing ten kilos. Do not list the actions you need to take to accomplish this goal. Instead, you just decide to focus on the end result and focus on the journey.
You just start paying attention to what you are going to eat at the next meal. You just start doing your next exercise.
If this results in weight loss, great. If not, that’s also fine. You have learned to enjoy the journey. You have learned to enjoy eating well, to enjoy exercising. You have learned to enjoy even your obstacles, your drawbacks, your body’s stubbornness not to burn fat at the speed you wanted.
Do not condition your own satisfaction to a future outcome that you have invented in your head. Instead, you are satisfied just by being on the journey respecting your own personal values.
Trading goals for personal values
To live without goals and yet realize your big dreams, you need to change your mindset. Do not ask yourself what is the next step to take to accomplish a goal. Instead, you need to ask yourself whether what you are doing is aligned with your personal values.
For this to work, you must have an objective, clear and hierarchical list of your core personal values. The list should be dynamic, which adapts according to time and context. With this list you will be able to immediately identify whether or not every task that comes up in your life matches your personal values.
Why do people say they are anxious, dissatisfied, that they feel that life is out of control? Almost always the error lies in the lack of harmony between what a person values and what he is really doing.
Going back to the weight loss example, think of a person who values health and wellbeing but is sedentary, eating sweets, smoking and drinking too much. Do you realize how this inconsistency will result in dissatisfaction?
We all have a number of personal values that are important to our happiness. When the life we are leading does not fulfill these values, we have a feeling of emptiness, of sadness, that something is wrong.
By deciding to live without goals, you stop worrying about what tasks to perform to accomplish your goals. Instead, you wonder what you should do that makes you happy NOW, not in an uncertain and distant future.
Remember, the idea of living without goals is not that you fail to realize your dreams. It is just adopting a different strategy for your accomplishments.
What would happen if you tried to live without goals?
With all that we have said so far, I hope it has become clear that living without goals can be an interesting alternative for you to realize some of your biggest dreams.
So give it a try. Before you judge whether this is a viable strategy for you or not, experiment with living without goals for at least some time in some area of your life.
Choose one goal that you have been trying to accomplish for some time without success. And test this new approach with this difficult goal.
Make a list of your personal values, what is most important to you. Then ask yourself what next task you can do that gives you immediate satisfaction by being fully aligned with these values.
Living without goals is not the solution to all people’s dreams. But just as having clear goals helps a lot of people, so the idea of living without goals can help many others.
The important thing here is to keep yourself curious and open to new possibilities to find out what works for you. In the end, this is what really matters.
For the strategy of living without goals to work, you must focus on the present moment and learn to enjoy the journey. And in order not to fall into the temptation of instant gratification, you must have a clear list of what your most important personal values are.
If you want to know in detail how to find out about your personal values, I have prepared a special class explaining a method for you to identify what you value most in life and thus work out a complete plan for your life.
To find out how to identify your personal values, visit https://arata.se/planningyourlife to attend the special class.