Goals - Even the Word Stops Me Cold

Today I was on an EFT website and I saw the world GOALS. I suddenly felt weak and sick to my stomach and literally left the website as quickly as I could.

Now if I want to do something like move - as in change residences - I may not like it, but I can do it if need be. There’s something comforting in it. There’s a beginning and an end, and obvious things to be done.

If it’s something more ethereal, like “Decide what I’d like to do after I don’t have to work anymore” I pretty much freeze. I won’t even start. I don’t know how to start, beyond getting the words “I would like to do something else, but I have no idea what” out of my mouth.

I’ve tried tapping on these things. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the message I got growing up: Don’t do that, you’ll FAIL. Don’t do that, you’re FAILING. That thing you did, you FAILED.

So I stay in limbo, wanting to do something else, and too terrified to even explore it, my head making up excuses as to why I “can’t” before I even do anything. It feels like pre-humiliation and shame. It feels safe - if I don’t do it, I can’t be accused of failing and treated as if it’s a given that I’ll mess up.

Anyone else have anything similar to this?


My guess? 1-5 billion humans on the planet suffer from this kind of self-suppression. I believe almost all humans are impacted by it. It is exceedingly rare (like 0.001% I’m guessing) to find someone neurodiverse enough that the concept of failure just never crosses their mind.

So what if there was a word that had become stale, had a kind of pressure and coercion to it now, that while in some cases might bring out a higher level of performance, the Leading Lights of Humanity would find it seriously repulsive. :nauseated_face:

And what if such a word is G-O-A-L-S?

It has become a repulsive word to me (whether I am a Leading Light or not). I am reading more and more other beings who are being repulsed by setting goals as well.

Of course, people who assert that goals are the way to “make it happen” often say that without a goal we are aimless.

People who have been terrified of goals – because as soon as they even think about setting a goal they know they will F-A-I-L :face_vomiting: – don’t set goals because of that.

I believe that Systems are vastly superior to goals.

Systems have an organized framework. There’s a synergy between the parts. There can be resiliency and even enjoyment in the different aspects.

There’s a system for how water moves on the planet. It’s beautiful and complex and eventually water makes its way into us… for a time… until we piss or sweat or breath it out or use it for chemical processes.

I used to have a goal for things like number of members, revenue, new email subscribers. Egads, so much failure! :fearful:

A system says that I offer invitations. That for things I do that are valuable that there are ways (several) for people to pay even though it may not be required for everything. A system says that if there is an offering that might really help someone at a particular point in their journey, point it out with confidence and let the person decide. Be okay with their decision.

Health-wise, a system would say that living creatures move. While my body CAN be still, movement is healthy. A system says there are a myriad of choices for movement – whee! – some being quite subtle and fitting for when energy is soft and precious and others being exuberant and even ecstatic.

Taking your example of moving a home… my system is called Nesting and Stewardship. Our nest wherever it is is called Kind House. Love is an energy that we cultivate – stoke it in fact. We are discerning about who we bring into our nest, and those that do are welcomed generously (and are asked to add to the kindness and generosity as well).

If it comes time to switch to a different structure, we take our energies and tools (furniture, etc) with us to craft the nest and adapt it into a thriving we-space.

As stewards of a nest space, it doesn’t “really” matter whether we own it or rent it. If it is our space, we tend to it. The “system” of nesting includes leaving a place better than how we found it.

I’d love to explore things that people consider goals (that will be met or not met, achieved or failed) and look together at how to recast them into systems for a thriving lifestyle.

How does that feel?


It isn’t just health. Goals lock us in. They set the bar, the finish line, the point where we’ve “won or lost.”

But while that is fine in football, to have a goal line, a system allows us to recognize that we’re dynamic and so is the world we’re a part of.


Thank you for both of your thoughtful and kind posts. I’ve struggled to respond, while being simultaneously really appreciative of how much of “you” you’ve put into them.

I like the idea of exploring baby steps of all kinds in order to move forward, without using the word “goals”.

For me, the cohousing group I’ve joined is scary because I’m being asked to do things and oh, shit, what happens when I “fail”?

So today I was asked to help gather information for solar panels to be ultimately presented to the group, and I said yes even though it’s scary to be asked to do ANYTHING. I’d rather hide in the back and perhaps send an anonymous note now and then or something.

I’m pretty sure the end result will be that I’m pretty damn good at asking good questions and gathering pertinent information and that I’m actually going to have FUN, dammit.

Baby steps.


Goals remind me of New Year’s resolutions. UGH

What fun to do research!! I sense you are going to be really good at this.


What a way to put it, Rick. That wisdom is sooo insightful and comforting! Systems instead of goals, wow…!! I could really see you leading a new movement. The true compassion and self-tendering “revolution” (not to mean it in a manner of overthrowing a rule, but y’know what I mean…!) thanks for that, Rick :)))


Thanks @Jun_Rong - I’m passing along what I learned from others who are making the shift from goals to systems thinking. It fits my engineering mindset, and it also feels…

A lot more free!

Systems for health says that if one is aware of trends in energy, body-mind balance, etc., then one can influence through the systems that are active. It gets one out of the mindset of “reaching a goal” and into healing, balancing, and growing a vibrant thriving ecosystem in your body-mind and in the we-spaces.

I think about financial goals and get this Ugh feeling. Systems for balance and abundance feel so much more alive, continuous, and the kind of “world” that I can make better for my family, friends, the world.