Are Your Goals Worth Working Toward?

Setting goals for the sake of setting goals is pretty much a waste of time. That’s because some goals aren’t really goals. Instead, they’re often wishes, or sometimes things we think we “should” do.

So how do you tell if you have a goal that’s worth working toward?

Well, first you have to really want to reach it, deep down inside. Things like “Oh I really should spend less money” or “Oh I really should lose 5 lbs” are not goals, especially not if what you really want is to buy certain things or eat chocolate cake.

But supposed you’ve experienced panic and stress in your past due to, say, job loss. And you never want to go there again.

In that case, something like “Create a financial cushion by sending at least $100 per week to my emergency fund until it reaches a balance of $6000.” is a goal that’s worth working toward, because your priority is to feel safer by building up a cushion. You never want to be caught out again, so the goal is important to you.

In other words, you have to want the goal — or something that achieving the goal will directly enable you to do — more than you want to continue doing what you have been doing.

Without that, you’re wasting your breath. Once you have a goal that really resonates with you, you can set it up in a way that practically ensures success. I’ll talk more about that in a future post.


  • Excellent post. I’ve always been a very goal-oriented person, but in late 2008 I laid out a bunch of goals that honestly had no purpose whatsoever except for accomplishing the task of setting goals. It took me to about June to realize how dumb I’d been. Once I reevaluated, thought about what I wanted, and set the plan in motion from there, everything has been great since. Amazing what a little thing like a goal can do for you.

  • sometimes it’s cool to take goals off your list if you decide that one is not as important to you as you first thought it was.