When Goals Become Dangerous

Having goals can be a great motivation. When we want the end result it drives us to take the small steps that can lead us there. Unfortunately though, with energy limiting illnesses like ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia, being too driven by goals can be hazardous to our health. They can tempt us to take steps that perhaps our body is not ready for. And when our body protests we get caught up in the disappointment of not getting any closer to the end result.

This illness has been a great teacher of the principle of detachment. I’ve learned through many hard lessons, that attaching myself to specific outcomes is most likely to bring pain, frustration and disappointment. Yet it’s important not to give up on goals altogether because without them motivation can take a dangerous dip.

So how do you get the balance?

For me it’s all about flexibility and focus. I still have dreams, desires and goals for better functioning and I regularly take time to visualise my better, future life and invite it to become a reality. However I’m also aware that when I get my better life it might not look exactly like what I expect it to. I focus on the essence of what I want, and stay open to experiencing that essence even if it comes wrapped up in a different package.  In fact by staying focused on the essence I can even find some of that satisfaction along the way. For example, I dream of being able to go on long hikes in the mountains, the essence of that dream is the combination of working my body physically and finding unity of body, mind, spirit and nature. Although my body doesn’t yet work the way I want it to, I can still achieve that essence if I accept what my body has to offer on a short walk today. I can enjoy the fact that I am working it in relation to my limits and I can still enjoy connecting my wholeness to nature.

Basically instead of focusing on the fact that I haven’t yet reached my goal, I focus on the fact that I am taking a step towards it and am at least in part enjoying the essence of the reward that I’m hoping the goal will bring. I’m not just focusing on the small steps as a means to get closer to my goal, I’m focusing on the small steps as a means to feel achievement here and now and to get as much as I can out of life as it is now.

My message is it’s OK to have dreams and goals, but to be really happy we need to let go of the outcome and focus on the pleasure we can get out of the achievements involved in taking the small steps!

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3 thoughts on “When Goals Become Dangerous”

  1. Wonderful post, Julie! Very well-said. I loved your example of long hikes in the mountains – that’s my dream, too! I used to love long hikes and even backpacking. Like you, I take joy in even small forays out into nature – it is so rejuvenating!

    Sue

  2. Enjoyed your post! I like how you say the end result may not quite be what was expected in the beginning. It’s all about being flexible and kind to ourselves. It’s such a fine line between goals and living out those dreams with the body we were given. But if we do not try, we will never know if we can accomplish those goals.

  3. Hi Julie, I really enjoyed reading your post today, I found it very insightful and oddly amusing that the advice you give, is something I’ve always done, even before succumbing to ME &Fibromyalgia some years ago. I guess I’ve always tried to be realistic in everything I approach, so that I limit stress as much as possible.

    I’ll be reading more of your blog later thanks for creating it.

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