overemphasizing goals, and reasons that “goal setting should be prescribed selectively and presented with a warning label.”
Another problem with goals, especially those that New York Times best-selling author Jim Collins calls “big hairy audacious goals” (or “BHAGs”), is that they can seem overwhelming and amorphous. For example, a goal of finishing an Ironman triathlon is motivating until you realize how hard it is to do and that you have no idea where to start. And even if you do figure out where to start, you quickly grasp how far you have to go — both figuratively and literally. Any acute progress seems trivial. Ironically, focusing on such a goal can demoralize, demotivate, and, ultimately, detach you from the steps you need to take today to accomplish it.
Still, let’s say you persist and accomplish your big, hairy, and audacious goal. If that’s all that you were focusing on, what happens next? Some people feel a void in their life, becoming saddened and even depressed — what marathon runners often experience as the “post-race blues.” Others, meanwhile, fall victim to what author Gretchen Rubin calls the “danger of the finish line”: Once you accomplish your goal, you drop the good habits that got you there. (A common example of this is yo-yo dieting.) Both of these outcomes are related to a goalcentric approach — and neither is desirable.