Your Goal is not The Goal

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Henry David Thoreau

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Life isn’t worth living without a dream. Our days don’t really matter if we don’t have a goal. When we have lost our dream and given up ever reaching our goals, that is the definition of hopeless. And hopelessness is just one step this side of death. Even if one’s body lives, his spirit is lifeless, his future is bleak.

Defining your goals is a worthwhile endeavor. Getting clear on where we want to go is essential if we want to be successful on our journey. It’s the first step in getting from where you are to where you want to be. But it is just that: the first step.

From that first step, we will be required to change. To paraphrase a quote, “To get what you’ve never gotten requires that we do what we’ve never done.” Achieving our dreams means becoming the person who deserves to live that dream. And among the changes we’ll need to make, three rise to the top of the list.


The main reason you haven’t reached your goals is that, on some level, you don’t believe you deserve to reach them. You feel like an imposter. You feel greedy or selfish. You believe you are not smart enough, strong enough, rich enough or capable enough. The first thing that much change is our belief. We must develop a belief that our goal is honorable, that we deserve to achieve it, and that we can achieve it.


You have not achieved your goals because you have not developed a plan to get you there. Your goal has been some nebulous dream, undefined and unrefined. When you put together a plan, the dream becomes real. There it is on paper. It’s in the world, ready to be conquered. Step by step, the plan will get you there.


The best plan in the world doesn’t work if you don’t work the plan. The failure to act and execute your plan will keep you from reaching your goal as sure as the failure to play the notes will not produce music, no matter how brilliant the sheet music.

There are many other changes you will find along the way. Creativity, flexibility, resilience, and integrity are but a few of the traits we must conquer along the path. And as we reach the goal, the joy of achievement will be joined by pride in the person we’ve become during the journey. The goal is just the end. The means to get there is the real victory.


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