The Reason You Set Goals is Not What You Think

Here’s the backstory about why I’m writing The Mental Health Update.

I set a goal to write a daily mental health newsletter, and I’ve kept it up for 40+ days.

It’s not easy. But there’s a reason I set this goal.

And it wasn’t to write a daily newsletter.


Keep reading. I’ll explain.

The Real Reason You Set Goals

The real reason you set a goal is not to accomplish a goal.

It’s really not.

It seems that way at the start.

Boy, I think it would be great if I could write a newsletter every day without fail.

This is the thought that begins it all. It’s something audacious, setting a goal that seems just out of reach. But it’s not the accomplishment that is the pursuit; it’s something else.

The real reason you set big goals is to become the kind of person that can accomplish big goals.

In order to do something you’ve never done, you need to become someone you’ve never been.

Writing a daily mental health newsletter is not easy. This is not an issue full of complaints but, hopefully, an instructive dose of reality. I could have all the ideas in the world, but it takes more than ideas to pull off a consistent practice. It takes planning and an almost obsessive focus.

One nice thing that comes out of an obsessive focus is a reshaping of the day. When you have something that you absolutely want to do, when you commit to something that is important to you, your days reshape themselves to accommodate your new desire.

It has to be this way. To do something different than what you’ve ever done, your days will need to meld into new shapes.

The Goal is Not the Goal

To reiterate, the goal you set is not the goal.

It’s the person you must become in order to accomplish your goal.

Think about that. There are going to be all kinds of obstacles that pop up as you try to accomplish a new, audacious goal. This is something to seriously contemplate as this decade comes to an end.

What do you want to accomplish in the next ten years?

Maybe it’s not so much about what you’ll do — but about who you’ll become.

Could a recrystallization of your identity and personal habits be the real reason that you set out to do something that you’ve never done?

I think it might be. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.