“The first day of your new life…”

Sickness rages in my stomach.

Today I start a new job, something done many times before – but this time it’s different.

There was no night before ritual of laying out my suit, checking train times or packing my bag.

Instead, I’m looking out the window waiting for a laptop delivery.

In COVID world, I’ve left a job working from home, to continue working from home.

Typically by now I’d be making my way in, preparing to familiarise myself with the surrounding of a bland corporate environment, swarmed by unfamiliar faces.

Not today, I’m returning to that familiar desk in the corner of my bedroom – yes it’s less than ideal, but it’s my own space, not like the usual open plan office, with hot desking allegedly for the sake of “flexible working”.

When the laptop arrives, I fire it up and input a username and password provided through my personal email.

Windows does it’s thing where it processes away the details before moving to the loading screen, I’m grateful the first challenge is passed.

Just over five years ago, I set myself the long-term goal – become a Project Manager, and here I am, massive goal achieved.

This is the first day of my new life.

So what now?

The holy grail…

Goals are great, but the longer the goal, the bigger the hype becomes towards it’s greatness, and if it doesn’t quite deliver, it can feel quite underwhelming when it’s achieved.

Research has shown that people’s satisfaction when they achieve something significant is actually short lived, we get used to the end goal and so it becomes routine and mundane.

So what is the solution?

It’s ensuring the journey you have towards that goal has a lasting impact on you.

A benefit of a goal is the sense of purpose it gives – you work away to achieve a vision, and through the work put in day-in, day-out, you begin to notice how much you’ve improved.

And that is more worthwhile than the end itself.

When I achieved my massive goal, to become a Project Manager, I felt disappointed, you could say I lost focus, I was no longer chasing something.

“Massive goal achieved…. DISAPPOINTED!”

The resolution seems to be when you know you’re reaching that finish line, you start planning what you want to do next so that the momentum doesn’t die.

We set goals because we want a better life, but it’s clear from my own experiences, the big goal isn’t necessarily the answer to all your problems.

The problem with the goal-oriented mindset…

I saw something on Twitter asking if you’ve ever dated someone without goals.  The attitude from the responders was appalling, with the general conscious being that people who don’t have goals are losers.

From my own experiences with the goalless, they are often some of the happiest people I’ve met, content with working in the parameters of the life they have,  and not constantly trapped by ambition of big career, big money, big success.

People with goals on the other hand, go through life with a constant unhappiness, with the belief that the goal is the answer.

But it can be profoundly disappointing when the goal doesn’t reach expectations, so I understand why a range of successful people prefer the system approach.

If someone has a more systematic approach to life – they do the job, keep fit, have interests and spend time with family, but don’t have any particular desires for more, then good for them.

Focus on means, rather than ends…

The whole experience of achieving a massive goal, has changed my attitude – focus more on the means rather than the end.

The end is the result, such as “Become a Project Manager”, the means is everything in between.

That doesn’t necessarily mean I have to now set another massive career goal – I’ve seen too many people get stuck in the promotion trap because they feel they are supposed to constantly aim for the next level.

Then they end up in a job they don’t like and/or struggle to do, and because of this they are never happy people.

The means can be focused on the growth, without necessarily having a big amibition behind it.  For me I ask myself the questions:

  • How can I be a better Project Manager?
  • What gaps in skills do I have?
  • How can I grow by doing this role?
  • What can I do in this job to make the life of others better?

For me, I’m in a position in my career where the desire to progress isn’t my main raison d’etre, I feel like I have enough, besides I have other interests and priorities I’m looking to pursue.

Most of my goals, I’ve pretty much achieved and I’m quite content to keep doing what I’m doing in the system format.  I guess for some that makes me a loser…

Either way, the focus is always to keep getting better every day.

How has your experience been when you’ve achieved a massive, long-term goal?

Was it everything you thought it would be?

<< NEXT POST: How Busy Dads Can Balance Goals>>

Thanks for reading, wishing you the best in your success.

James @Perfect Manifesto.


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11 thoughts on “Massive Goal Achieved – Why Am I Disappointed?

    1. It’s a really odd feeling isn’t it! I know when I changed some goals I felt like a failure because it wasn’t what U originally planned, but had to be done otherwise I wouldn’t ever have achieved it!

      Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. James well done on becoming a PM. Starting a new job in a new company? Starting a new job during covid must be so weird. But well done that you have achieved in difficult times. You are right to sat that when we achieve our goal it is like flat coke a cola! And the goalless people are the happy. Those with goals can be happy at times. A goal is a point to aim at and that brings happiness. We are unique some are happy goalless and others need to learn and grow and swim, not just treading water. Neither way of life is wrong, just different. I can be a bit of both. But, I feel alive with some sort of goal no matter how small or big.

    Great Post. Enjoy being a PM . And well done doing it in 5 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – yes I moved on as opportunities were drying up at my old employer, decided to look after myself!

      It is pretty unusual the team I’ve joined is actually mostly made up of people who joined after first lockdown so they’ve never been in the office either.

      I think the trick with goals is always to remember how far you’ve come and enjoy the moments when you get there, while working towards the next goal.

      Its interesting with the goalless as I do think how they can live with no ambition, but they seem happy so zi leave them too it.

      I’m looking forward to the next chapter and figuring out what to strive for next.

      Thank you very much and thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow all newbies who haven’t seen the office. Wish you all the best. The journey of a goal is the fun bit, the learning and growing.

        I have no issue with goalless, in certain aspects of my life I am goalless.😊😊 and in certain areas I need to move.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all congrats on the promotion! And yes, this is a very well known phenomenon. I’ve experienced it plenty of times myself. It’s the anticipation of achieving the goal rather than the actual achievement of it that makes us happy.

    But I don’t think that means we should stop setting goals. One of the dimensions of well-being is growth. People feel frustrated and unhappy when they stagnate. I do agree that focusing on the process is very important. But I still like goals as they give us direction and purpose. It feels good to be working towards something, and there’s always something to work towards (even if it’s outside of the career realm and in another part of your life).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you!

      I think the deflation from the end goal got to me. For the area of my career I definitely feel like I’m done setting any major goals for now because of the amount of time and energy spent to get there.

      On the positive side since writing this I have thought more about my situation and realise I do still want to set goals, just in pursuing other interests which I’ve neglected due to putting job progress first.

      I think one of my initial struggles was I put so much of my purpose into my career, that when it felt underwhelming I started feeling lost.

      I’m now looking forward to pursuing other opportunities.

      Thank you for commenting.


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