Why Focusing Purely On Your Goals Can Be Unhealthy

The best way to achieve success is to focus on your goals and set all else aside until they’re achieved. Or at least, that’s what we’re told by countless blogs, advice columns and books. Is that really what you want to do, though? Set everything aside and be completely ruthless in your pursuit of success?

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An Old Story

It is a theme of countless books and films: The protagonist sets a goal, then gives up everything to achieve it only to realize after having done so that his life is empty. The struggle to achieve is all he had and now he’s at loose ends. He has no personal life, no family and he hasn’t grown much as a human being either.

That doesn’t sound all that good, when you think about it. Sure, you’re the best, or at least one of the best, at what you do, but what’s the point if the rest of your life is hollow? Surely it’s best to have some sort of balance in your life!

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be ambitious. Without the drive to succeed we’d still be living in caves. However if you’re ruthless about it, sacrificing everything else in order to achieve a goal, you won’t end up happy. This is bred into us to a certain extent; after all, if we felt completely happy after achieving a set goal, we’d never do anything else afterward. That feeling of “What now?” that follows success is an evolutionary imperative that keeps us moving. The trick is to answer that question by pointing at something else in your life that makes you happy.


Creating balance in your life is hard and is made stressful by people wanting to do everything. But balance isn’t about having it all; it’s about having everything in moderation.

Sure you can have a career as a high-powered executive while having a family with a loving spouse and kids, but how long until you keel over from a massive coronary? Human beings can handle a lot, but there are limits.

Balance is about setting reasonable goals within reasonable time frames and having the ability to avoid fixing what isn’t broken. The wisdom and calm necessary to make these decisions is best achieved through making time for yourself and the best way to do this is up to you. Some people meditate; others go for long walks in the countryside. No matter if it is yoga or a few games of basketball, some quiet within your own mind will give you some ideas on which goals you want to pursue and how to balance them out against each other.

The Real You

The calmer you become, the easier it will be to listen to that inner voice or “the real you.” You know what’s best for you and through the hustle and bustle of daily life you don’t always get the chance to hear yourself speak. Couple in the stress that modern life adds and you might not even want to hear what that voice has to say.

Pin ItNow thing for a minute; do you really want that one job with all the responsibility if it means that you won’t be able to spend time with your significant other? What’s the point of making six figures and buying a huge fancy house when it’s just you living in it? Do you really want to be one of those people that sits at their child’s graduation ceremony and realizes she barely know the life of the person she brought into this world?

Balance in all things seems to be the mutual advice that sages throughout the ages have given us. Perhaps by taking some time for ourselves, we can heed that advice and live more balanced and happier lives.

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