The real reason why our goals keep changing

Hint — it’s not because we’re lazy but we’re ever evolving. And I even believe if you’re not changing your goals every now and then, (a) you’re probably not hitting them, and (b) not growing at all!

Does that mean you change your goals only when you’ve accomplished them? I don’t think so. Our goals can also change when we have new information or have experienced a paradigm shift, compelling us to think of a new goals as the older one doesn’t make sense anymore. And trust me, this isn’t a ‘millennial thing’ everyone goes through this. The older folks just fail to admit it.

Think about it — irrespective of your age, if you get fired today (okay, tomorrow since nobody gets fired on Christmas eve), your goals for the first two weeks of January 2020, no matter how grand, will change. Unless, of course, that trip to the Alps is something you’ve been planning to do for the past 6 years. But once you do come back from that trip, your plans will be based on the new information (that you’re unemployed) you have.

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Well, that’s precisely why goals keep changing. We’re constantly battling our own priorities with new information and paradigm shifts. That said, what we refer to as goals are basically plans. And plans change all the time.

I can see you scratching your head saying, “Sunil, I’m really confused now. Are you saying our goals are basically plans? If that’s the case, what exactly is a goal? And why the hell can’t this not be simple?” I wish things were simpler but they aren’t. Allow me to explain:

A goal is the destination.
A plan is the journey.

How you get to the destination depends on the journey. It can be as simple as booking a flight online, boarding the plane, taking off, landing at the airport closest to the destination, taking a cab/bus/train to the hotel/airbnb that you’ve booked. Now you’ve arrived. And even if you haven’t travelled enough, you do know that not everything has to go according to the plan above.

That is precisely what happens to our plans. They change when we’re exposed to new information, new challenges, or changes in general. We have to adapt to the change, tweak our plans to ensure that we keep moving towards the destination, our overarching goal.

This also means what seem like a goal is really a plan that would lead you to something even bigger. If you think you’ve achieved one of your major goals in life at 25, well, my friend, you’re thinking too small. Your goals not only have to be big but also audacious so much so that they scare the hell out of your loved ones, peers, and even competitors. And of course, you!

So, the real reason why people keep changing their goals is because they can’t tell the difference between a goal and a plan. Period. End of story. And if that’s you, start with setting a goal that’s way beyond your comfort zone and is so scary that everyone around you thinks you’ve lost it!

By Sunil Nair

Nurturing leaders of tomorrow.

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