Have you ever wondered why on some days you are too ecstatic and energetic about achieving your goals, but on other days, you simply fizzle out and don’t feel any motivation to even get out of bed?
Did you ask yourself, “Why does this happen?”
- Why don’t you have a consistent level of motivation towards you goals?
- Why don’t you consistently move forward in one chosen direction?
- Why you have to slog through some days and force upon yourself to exert willpower to get going?
The answer lies in the quality of your goals.
If you often don’t feel enough drive towards your goals, it means your goals don’t pull you towards them.
It simply means your goals are not truly meaningful to you.
And the formula is simple, if something is not important and meaningful, your mind and soul wouldn’t buckle up and make your strive for the goals.
Therefore the most important question to ask is:
How to Find and Set Meaningful Goals?
Check If your Goals Satisfy All Your Human Needs
The goals become meaningful when they satisfy your all needs. There are two aspects of all human needs, as Tony Robbins rightly stated. They are:
- The need of your personality
- The need of your Soul
Tony further explains that all of us have four types of personality needs, as below. These needs shape your personality and are solely concerned with your own individual needs.
- Certainty — knowing you’ll be able to avoid pain and feel pleasure.
- Uncertainty/ Variety — the need for change and new experiences.
- Significance — feeling special and needed.
- Connection/ Love — feeling a close bond with others.
Then there are two types of needs of our soul, as below. These needs require you to expand beyond your own self and
- Growth — the ability to change and improve.
- Contribution — the feeling that you are helping others and making a difference.
And both your personality and your soul needs require to be met in order to truly feel happy and fulfilled.
Remember, if you focus only on your own individual needs, you will become successful in the material world; but it is only the last two spiritual needs i.e. the need for growth and contribution to the world; that will give you a sense of fulfillment.
Therefore, when you are setting your goals, you can’t ignore the needs either of your personality or of your soul.
Your goals should satisfy both the needs, in order for you to become unstoppable.
Now check your existing goals.
If you often get derailed from the process to follow and feel demoralized, it simply means they are just focused towards your individual needs, and not serving the needs of contributing beyond yourself.
Running only behind your individual needs and thinking that you can ignore the needs of your spirit is ultimately a loser game.
Your logical mind might try to convince you that you can go sequentially, e.g., you can first satisfy your individual needs, and then go for meeting the needs of your spirit.
But the life of math doesn’t work that way.
You can’t do disproportionate treatment to your mind and soul. They go hand in hand.
If you focus on personality needs, you might still get what you wanted, but this will leave you empty from inside. To fulfill your soul, you need to take care of its needs simultaneously and not as a last thing to do. You will achieve success but not the fulfillment.
As Tony Robbins rightly said:
“Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.”
Therefore, to get pulled by your goals (rather than grinding yourself , despite not feeling motivated) , you need to ensure that your goals have the capacity to fulfill your both personality and spirit.
Do you want to become unstoppable?
Give yourself such goals, that fulfill all your human needs and soon you will find yourself enjoying the work like a play and won’t want to stop.
Inside-Out Vs Outside-In Goals
The objective of life should be to live each day in fulfillment and joy and that depends on the direction of your goals.
Whether they are Inside-Out Goals (Intrinsic Goals) or Outside-In goals (Extrinsic Goals)?
Let’s understand each of them.
A. Extrinsic Goals
Extrinsic goals are the goals which are primarily focused on the outside aspiration related to money, fame, or beauty.
Each of these aspirations requires validation from the outside world. These goals help you achieve something outside of yourself.
They have the metrics to define success dependent on the outside world.
They are about polishing your public image, becoming famous, getting rich, or seeking power over others. These goals are all about the prize at the end of the journey.
They are more about attaining certain outcomes without focussing much or even neglecting the process involved.
B. Intrinsic Goals
Intrinsic goals are all about doing or following something personally meaningful to you.
These goals address your core needs and wants — who you are as a person. They pertain to your passions, interests, and core values as well as your relationships and your personal growth.
Intrinsic goals satisfy your core human needs for relatedness, competence, and autonomy. They include goals for relationships, personal growth, physical health, self-acceptance, and contribution.
Your goal is an intrinsic goal if it helps:
- To create a stronger relationship with like-minded people or giving back to the society.
- To give you a sense of autonomy, i.e., it is something that is your passion or truly excites you. If no one forces you to do it and you can continue to do it for longer hours on your own, then it is an intrinsic goal.
- To grow you personally, i.e., if it is some skill you want to master and grow. It is something that makes you feel that you are good at something.
To put it simply, being intrinsically motivated means doing the thing for the thing itself. It’s about enjoying the doing, not just looking for the outcome.
The following could be some examples of extrinsic vs. intrinsic goals:
- Exercise to build muscles to show off to people is EXTRINSIC.
- Exercising to enjoy the feeling of fitness and vibrant health is INTRINSIC
- Studying solely for the purposes of getting grades and securing a job is EXTRINSIC
- Studying something you love exploring the subject and get deeper because you are passionate about the subject is INTRINSIC
In his book Why We Do What We Do, Edward L. Deci explains how intrinsic goals help to attain more happiness and enhance the quality of life and overall well-being. In his words:
“….if any of the three extrinsic aspirations — for money, fame, or beauty— was very high for an individual relative to the three intrinsic aspirations, the individual was also more likely to display poorer mental health. For example, having an unusually strong aspiration for material success was associated with narcissism, anxiety, depression, and poorer social functioning as rated by a trained clinical psychologist…
In contrast, strong aspirations for any of the intrinsic goals — meaningful relationships, personal growth, and community contributions — were positively associated with well-being. People who strongly desired to contribute to their community, for example, had more vitality and higher self-esteem. When people organize their behaviour in terms of intrinsic strivings (relative to extrinsic strivings) they seem more content — they feel better about who they are and display more evidence of psychological health.”
On the other hand, extrinsic goals are associated with anxiety, depression, and a lower level of happiness.
The above observations are in fact confirmed by other people, and most successful people have pursued their success journey with the conscious choice of intrinsic goals.
Mark Twain wisely made the below statement about the power of intrinsic goals.
“The law of work seems unfair, but nothing can change it; the more enjoyment you get out of your work, the more money you will make.”
See what the titan of the investment world, Warren Buffett, has to offer. He says,
“There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?”
But the irony is that despite being nudged by our consciousness to move towards the real goals in our lives, we keep on moving towards the extrinsic goals.
Therefore, in order to have a lasting happiness and to lead a life of joy and fulfillment, one needs to be introspective and choose the goals for intrinsic reasons and not run solely on the extrinsic factors to avoid repenting at later stages.