For the past year, you’ve set yourself a habit working towards that goal to achieve that thing you really want.
And after all that time working through the challenges and setbacks, you’ve finally done it!
So why do you feel so down and disappointed with the end result?
Why do I feel so down now I’ve achieved my goal?
A goal is a fantastic tool for giving you direction and order – it gives us a higher purpose working towards a vision and provides motivation to get out of bed and do something.
Therefore, it actually makes sense why you feel so down when you achieve your goal, because that routine has now been taken away.
A goal is more than an aspiration written down on paper, it can be a personal connection to who we are…
If you have a goal to write a book, you become a writer.
If you are training for a marathon, you become an athlete.
And so on…
When you achieve the goal, the link to your identity becomes the past.
From my own personal experiences, when I became a Project Manager, I achieved a goal I’d been working on for over five years.
Part of my satisfaction was the role I applied to myself, I viewed myself like an underdog protagonist from a movie, fighting to reach my end goal.
When I actually got there, that underdog identity died, it was hard to see that in myself anymore when I was no longer having to face those challenges.
What is the answer?
An obvious response is to simply set another goal – write the next book, run the next marathon, aspire for the next promotion.
But you can find yourself stuck in a goal setting trap, where you are just setting these goals for the sake of trying to recreate that original feeling.
As an ex-obstacle racer, my goal was always to get myself in the best shape for the next race – but these goals were never as satisfying as the first obstacle race I ran when it was a totally new challenge to me and I had no idea how I’d perform.
The later goals were also about getting faster, cutting down run time, but they were nowhere as exciting as the sensation knowing I might not be good enough to finish a race.
And so I always felt disappointed that achieving these goals never had that same rush.
Feel free to set another goal, but you might need to mix it up to find it rewarding.
Is it worth the hype?
You can break goals up into different size so that they vary in amount of effort and duration.
Unfortunately, the longer it takes to achieve a goal, the more hype it gets – it becomes the holy grail, something amazing and godlike.
And because you’re pursuing what you think is a unicorn, it’s disappointing when it turns out to just be a donkey.
For long-term goals, you can reduce the impact of disappointment, by taking a reality check every so often of what life will be like when you get there.
That involves recognising it won’t be the solution to all your problems and it’s not the guaranteed thing you need to give you satisfaction for life.
You must also be flexible with a big goal.
Because they are large and time consuming in nature, the world around you can change, that means you must be preparing and willing to evolve how you intend to get to the goal, rather than stubbornly pursuing a set route.
By ignoring this you are ignoring the signs that may lead to disappointment.
And finally, another way of being flexible, is ensuring you have a few goals going at once, so you at least have other things to focus on.
The Means and the End
A good way of approaching goals is thinking about it from the perspective of the means, and the end.
The end is that tangible result you get when you complete your goal such as the promotion.
The means is the series of tasks and experiences you perform day-in, day-out that make you better, allowing you to grow as that person capable of achieving the intended goal.
This bit is where the satisfaction comes from – anyone can get a promotion, but that journey you take along the way is where you get personal growth from.
How do you get over that feeling of disappointment after achieving a massive goal?
Thanks for reading, wishing you the best in your success.
James @Perfect Manifesto.