Goals Are a Waste of Your Time

Goals Are a Waste of Your Time

Have you ever set a huge goal for yourself and failed miserably?

I have and it sucks. You give it everything you’ve got and you still come up short. You tell yourself that you must be missing something because you saw someone else achieve the same goal and you thought you could do it too. You were POSITIVE you could do it. You just had to put in the effort.

You made tons of progress, but it doesn’t feel like any success because you came up well short of the goal you set for yourself. Today, I’m going to make this easier for you.


Our society glorifies successful people. People reaching their goals. We have it drummed into our heads over and over again. Set goals. Long-term goals, short-term goals, daily goals. Their heart is in the right place. Goals make us FEEL motivated to do something. It gives us the appearance that if we just meet them we might be happy and successful. But goals have a major fault. A massive weak point that makes goal setting worthless in the grand scheme.


Most people would probably define a goal as:

A level of achievement we set for ourselves to reach.

Read that sentence again. What does that even mean?! It’s so arbitrary! So undefined! The only option is for you to define that goal for yourself. And therein lies the problem. You are the worst person to set your goals. You’ve never achieved them before. You don’t have that experience. Which means you have no idea how long they will actually take or how much effort it will take you.

You look at OTHER people for the answers, but that can’t possibly work! Because they aren’t YOU. They don’t have your skills or life experience. They don’t have your genetic talent be it physical or mental. What takes one person days to learn could take you weeks or months and THAT’S OKAY. That’s part of life. But comparing yourself to other people when you set your goals will mean that you will often fail. And that SUCKS. But there’s no way around it. That’s how goal-setting works. And that’s why it’s a waste of time.


Dave Mustaine was kicked out of his first band and very distraught. He vowed to build his own band better than the first and become an all-time great musician. His new band was called Megadeth and went on to sell 50 million albums worldwide and become one of the most well-known metal bands on the planet. So why did Dave Mustaine still feel like a loser? Because the band that kicked him out was Metallica, which went on to become the most famous metal band of all-time. Despite MASSIVE success, his goal of being better than his first band made him feel like a failure.

When we set huge goals or even medium sized ones, we can’t appreciate progress. If we come up just shy of our goal, we STILL feel like a failure. Even if we try to talk ourselves into feeling good.

The good news is we don’t have to set goals at all. They aren’t a requirement for success. They’re just arbitrary metrics some self-help guru invented 1000 years ago.


To replace goals, we must set actions. What does that mean? Goals are things that we are forced to build up to. Actions are things we can do RIGHT NOW. They are tasks which can be achieved by the average adult human TODAY.

Goal: Lose 40 pounds
Action: Eat broccoli every day

Your goal is to lose weight so you just pick a number? How much time do you give yourself? What if you only lose 10 or 15 pounds? How do you even accomplish it? These questions are difficult, if not impossible, to answer. But eating broccoli every day? It kinda sucks if you hate the taste of broccoli, but we know it’s doable. We just need to figure out HOW to make ourselves do it.

But isn’t eating broccoli every day still a goal? Nope. It’s an action. We’ve been calling many things goals when they are merely actions that require habits and a little willpower. Eating broccoli every day won’t make us lose 40 pounds, but it’s a STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. Steps are how we climb the mountain, not trying to jump to the top. Implementing healthier eating and exercising habits are things we are all aware of, but our FOCUS must be redirected towards the ACTION and not the GOAL.

For all you writers out there, write a page a day instead of sitting down trying to write a novel. Add to your website instead of make X number of sales. Send out 100 emails instead of get 10 great reader responses. You get the idea. Focus only on the things you can control and the actions you can take and accomplish TODAY that will add to your success tomorrow.

Let me be clear, I’m not telling you to give up goals completely. It’s human nature. It’s how we keep our eye on the prize. But you should hide them away and eliminate them from your focus. You must dedicate yourself entirely to the actions at hand.

Comment below and tell me what ACTION you are going to take today.

Josh Reif

Josh Is a productivity hacker. A business person. CEO of TheHustleHacker

2 Responses

  1. Stanley says:

    Wow, this piece is great. Initially, i was upset when i was reading this but i was patient enough to read to the end and then i understood the message you were trying to convey.

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