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I have been reading a lot of articles and books on Zen….basic zen, that is…you know…be in the moment kind of stuff.

I have come across advice many times this New Year on NOT setting goals…and I was all….what the heck….how can you NOT set goals…goals are good….goals keep us on track, give us a purpose.  The entire concept was alluding me and the more I was unable to grasp the concept, the more I became slightly obsessive about the subject.

Finally I read a guest post from a blogger who made me, at the very least, latch onto a thread of why we need to be careful when setting goals.  I am still NOT sold on not making them at all.

Here’s what it said in a nutshell….

Often times when we set a goal for ourselves, we have a tendency to become so immersed on reaching the GOAL that we lose precious moments and time focusing solely on the end prize.  Let’s say we set a goal of losing 20lbs in six months …if we allow ourselves to measure each moment against our end goal….they will all fall short, which in turn causes sadness and a lack of self-esteem.  Let’s say at month 6 you have lost 18lbs…it isn’t 20, but it is still a fantastic achievement, right??  More importantly, how did we spend that 6 months?

Did we enjoy our days or did we fret each day about making our goal?

Did we scold ourselves for indulging over the weekend?

Did we speak harshly to ourselves about the extra 100 calories we ate at our best friend’s surprise party??

I used weight as an example, however we, as a society, do it with everything.

So…what I think is this…

Goals are good, that is if you like them, we just need to be mindful that our end goal does  not distract and suck the joy of each moment leading up to the goal….does that make sense??

Refrain from measuring the present against accomplishing your goal.

Enjoy your life as it unfolds in front of you.  There is no magic pill….our society has the mentality that if we get a better car, bigger home, a promotion, lose weight or get a raise it will result in us being happy.  The truth is this….our joy can be found in each moment, in connecting with people, in surrendering to what is instead of fighting against life’s current.

Be mindful of not allowing your self-worth to be enmeshed in the achievement of your goals.

Goals can be great, if you use them as a guide or a focal point.  They can also steal your contentment, if you allow them to take root as the answer to a meaningful life.

Enjoy each moment, victory and even each setback….in other words….enjoy your life.