Do you ever feel like you´re not focused on achieving a particular goal? Chasing the next big dream? Or THE dream? The dream of more success, a better life, more fulfillment and superb health? The ideal partner maybe. Or the perfect job?
But when was the last time you did not have a goal?
Let me guess! You probably can´t remember.
I certainly can´t.
As a naturally driven person, I feel pretty lost if I don´t think of something I want to achieve, create or be. There is always some-thing at the back of my mind pondering on what´s next.
Hanging in that in-between zone is difficult for me. But this year I´ve learned the hard way that running around without a specific goal in mind feels so good. So different and exciting. Yet, the process of embracing this has been a challenge.
I want to share three reasons why not having a goal can lead to more success, inner peace and a happier you.
Are you serious?
Recently, I saw an accomplished ultra runner publicly announce this on social media: „So I´m sitting here in...feeling disappointed that I had to quit...but I´m already making plans for next year.“ I shook my head and re-read the statement.
Then I asked myself: What´s the rush?
And I began to ponder on the question where this desire and need comes from that most of us feel inclined, obliged or needy about having a goal. Like all the time without a break.
Maybe we think we´d miss out if we didn´t follow a plan or an idea, better known as FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out.
Or that we wouldn´t be able to keep up with members of our communities, whether that´s a running community, the racing scene or any other group of people where we feel a strong sense of belonging to.
Then there is a potential danger that if we´re not following a goal, others think of us as being lazy or clueless. Another way of looking at it is that it feels uncomfortable and naked to run around without a goal. Internal pressure builds up and there would be no acknowledgment from those others if you didn´t participate in x numbers of races and had something to show for on social media and other platforms through which you communicate.
And even if you´ve never been a competitive runner, similar thoughts could be: but what´s the point of going for a run then if I don´t attach a goal to it?
Yes, what´s the point? And what if nothing of the above is actually true and it´s all just assumptions?
Instead of assuming we´re less worthy human beings or not enough, let me share 3 reasons with you why not having a goal can serve you.
1. Freeing up more time. Get down to the nitty-gritty of why you run. What initiated the drive in the first place? Which meaning did you ascribe to running? Did you used to follow your nose without going crazy on weekly mileage or hours you thought you need to put in the bank?
Let´s be honest that most goals require a lot of our attention, commitment and focus. Often to the price of our personal life and time for self-care. Working towards a goal can mean to at least freeing up five or more hours per week.
When you don´t follow a goal for a while, you may find that you´re no longer caught in the „must-do“ spiral but you come from a more content, intuitive place from which you act with more kindness. And that´ll leave a positive impact on your health, well-being and the relationships with other people including yourself.
2. Getting clear on what you really want. If you´re going after goals in repeat mode you stand a good chance to burn out eventually. You overhear your body´s signs and feel like you can´t stop.
Just one more training session. Despite feeling tired and longing to take a break. Because you´ve committed yourself to stay on target and there is no room for flexibility or even change. You feel you need to do what you´ve got to do.
Two things can happen. You injure yourself and are forced to rest or you find yourself spinning in the hamster wheel. The solution: STOP. Just stop for today, this moment or the next few minutes.
Ask yourself: Is this which I´m doing what I truly want and desire? Or do I feel I must? Your initial feeling, a silent answer you sense, reveals your truth. And it can be that you still enjoy the track you´re on. More likely, though, you realize it´s time to step back.
And that´s when you give yourself the space and time to just be and get clear on where you´re headed. If you feel you want to change your direction, do it. Clarity brings back the ease and joy.
3. Adding fun to your life. Imagine laughing out loud until your belly aches. When was the last time you laughed so hard and were silly?
Without the quality of fun, our lives tend to feel way too serious. And when we´re caught in a strict routine of doing most of the time, fun is easy to dismiss.
Because I need to just push through this, right?! You hear yourself say or think.
Change your thoughts
What happens when you step back from goal-setting for a bit is that you learn to discern what brings you the most joy or joy in general.
With more time on your hands, it´s easier to create space for fun activities. A run with a group of friends for pure leisure. Or a run by yourself without focusing on time, distance and averages. Or stopping for a cup of coffee half-way.
Think about your fun factor. What makes your heart sing, being silly and forgetting about anything else in those moments?
Have fun exploring this path and be free.
If you took something away from this article, let me know and share your thoughts in the comments right below. Have you ever been goal-less and just pondered? What was your experience? Let me know what you think.