Why giving up on your goals might be the fastest way to meet them

Last month while in Portland on business I took an afternoon to myself to explore the Eastside, known for being a bit more offbeat than downtown. After poking my nose into a couple of trendy bars I spotted a colorful clothing boutique across the street. As if a magnet were drawing me in, I jay-walked my way into its well-lit layer.

Once inside, and much to my surprise, I ran into a familiar face I hadn't seen in years— an old colleague from the media company I joined right after college. (We ended up spending the afternoon together drinking sour beers, but that's another story.)

While still in the shop emphatically catching up, hand-waving and all, I spotted a blue baseball cap on the shelf behind my pal and I without missing a beat in the conversation I reached around her, put the cap on my head and slipped the girl behind the cash register my credit card.

Funny as it sounds, I've never felt more sure about anything than I did grabbing that hat.
It had two words embroidered onto the front: "NO GOALS".

At the time, I didn't think twice about its meaning and let the vibration of my body tell me it belonged on my crown. It's only now I'm developing the language to speak on what "no goals" meant for me at that moment and why I wear the hat proudly most days when I leave my house.

My perfectionism over the years has been well documented (by me of course) and as many of my dear friends and readers know, I've been trying to release my need to be in a constant state of self-improvement.

Earlier this week, my friend Ann posted something that hit me in the gut and articulated the importance of this hat for me. She wrote: "...the constant desire to fix myself, to be better, be healed - was yet another form of self-hate."

Yes. I was a self-improvement addict.

Late last year though, I began challenging the need to be in a constant state of “allllmost good enough” and began asking:

What if instead of trying to be better, we lived the life we thought the better version of ourselves deserved?

Since then, some incredible things have happened.

When I gave up goals around getting the body I always wanted, I started finally having fun and feeling comfortable in my body.
When I gave up hustling to get as many clients as I could, I started making more money (the real goal).
When I gave up being the perfect friend with all the answers and the cleanest house, I started truly connecting with friends in ways I'd never experienced.
When I gave up timing my runs, I started running faster (and didn't even realize it because I was having so much fun).
When I stopped carefully planning activities with my kids, we started having the greatest adventures together.
When I realized there is no "being done" healing from trauma, I could finally move on from it.

I challenge you to think about the areas in your life where you're hardest on yourself.

Where do you think you're failing? Where have you created goals that are always just out of reach, keeping you from that better version of yourself.

See what happens after some time if you act as you've already reached the goal. Maybe nothing. But maybe you'll find you have the power to thrive in those areas already.