Goals are beneficial because they give people purpose. Achieving goals brings feelings of satisfaction and validation of time well spent. Goals conversations, however, can be confusing and raise a lot of self-doubt. It often feels unappealing to discuss what we want and confront the reasons we do not have it.

Why do we set goals in our lives? What benefits, freedoms, or choices do we gain by achieving them? How do we plan to achieve our goals?

Every animal’s primary goal is to obtain the food it needs to survive. In the animal kingdom, we can observe species migrating hundreds of miles to hunt and kill food to survive. They often trudge through extreme environments to ensure their survival. The anticipation of food is what drives them to persevere through challenges to obtain it.

Humans routinely set goals to lose weight. People commonly want to shed pounds to improve their health or boost their self-esteem, but they often fail to follow through on what it takes to get slimmer. It requires a great deal of self-discipline and commitment to adopt new diet and exercise habits to lose weight. As with all goals, to achieve weight loss, one has to work for it.

Discomfort in areas like career or life, in general, is not necessarily a bad feeling to have. Stepping outside of one’s comfort zone is required for change and self-actualization. It is important to focus on self-regulation and motivation when going after goals. People can become too comfortable in their current situations, and they may resist change, simply floating through day-to-day affairs. Living in cruise control impedes personal growth. This holding pattern often does not end until a crisis or a life-altering experience happens.

To grow, individuals need to become intimately familiar with themselves. They need to know their capabilities and shortcomings. Getting in touch with strengths and weaknesses often requires changing one’s belief system to become open to new ways of thinking. It involves scrutinizing attitudes and behaviors, then altering them to align with the objectives one seeks to accomplish.

When I analyze my own circumstances at this point in my life, I realize I need to make changes. I feel as though I have not yet accomplished enough in my 28 years. I have lazily and complacently drifted through life without taking action to achieve some important goals. I want to make more money and own a nice house in a nice neighborhood. I want to achieve a promotion and feel proud of attaining new prestige. Accomplishing these goals is central to becoming who I want to be.

What do you want? Why don’t you have it?