3 Reasons Why Goals Are Depressing You [and how to solve it]

in life •  last year

It is popular knowledge that successful people and companies have goals and know well where they want to go. What they have not told you yet is that these same goals may be related to depressive thoughts and behaviors.

In my case, reading only half the books I had planned to read in a year, made me frustrated and feeling defeated. But I believe this is not my specific case. Have you ever set goals and failed or had difficulty maintaining them?

Maybe be healthier; Practice some physical activity; Learning a new language; Feed properly; Do that course; Get out of debt; Read certain books; Learn a new skill; To devote more time to work; Leave some addiction; Have a good value on savings. etc.

Here are 3 reasons why these goals may be depressing you:

1. You will not reach the goal now

You'll find people trying to sell you the idea that you can learn a new language in a few hours, a new product that will make you lose 10kg in a month, a medicine that will make you learn faster and pass that contest. Balela! Usually the goals we set for ourselves require dedication, effort and especially a lot of time.

There are no shortcuts. But with all these ads, without realizing it, we can buy the idea that our goals can be reached easily. Because the reality is quite different, what happens when you do not reach them? Frustration or even depression.

2. You stop enjoying the moment

If your goal is to have no more debt, at the end of the day, you will continue to be in debt. If your goal is to lose weight at the end of a single day, you will not be thin. Basically, our goals are like this. The problem of seeing things this way is that you stop enjoying the moment. We just become unhappy where we are. My case as an example, I failed to enjoy the good feeling of having read 10 great books in a year because I had not reached my goal of 20. So we need to be realistic with our goals.

3. You are different from the CEO of that super company

The internet is full of methods to achieve goals. But every human being is different. One method that works for me may not work for you. You may be using a way to achieve goals that work very well for a certain type of personality, but in practice for you it does not work. And again, this leads to frustration as it works for that super-famous CEO / entrepreneur / manager because it does not work for you? You may get the feeling that you are the problem or that you are doing wrong, whereas in fact it is just that they are different people and that they need different approaches.

How to solve this problem?

Be specific

A study by the University of Liverpool found that people with depressive tendencies had no fewer goals than people without depressive problems. The biggest difference noted among them is the lack of specificity in the goals. Depressive people described their goals more generally, while non-depressives were more specific. Not being specific with your goals may be related to depression.

Be specific. Getting in shape is generic. Running 10 minutes today is specific. Learning a new language is generic. Learning 5 words in another language is specific. One of the great advantages of facing our goals in this way is that you will enjoy the small daily accomplishments. Ending the day with a sense of accomplishment is essential for the formation of habits. What alias, is the philosophy of Leo Babauta, not having goals and habits.

Be optimist

If you have already read other of my texts, you may have noticed that I like to cite studies and research, well, here's another one. Published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, research has found that people with depression are no less motivated when it comes to achieving goals, but they are more pessimistic.

If you have goals, but do not have a positive view of them, they fail to have a positive effect and only see pressure and anxiety. In setting your goals, see them positively. Goals should help you on the journey and not hinder it. To help in this point, I leave here a lecture by Ted made by Amy Cuddy. It deals with body language, but it fits perfectly into how to face the challenges we have in a positive way.

The fact that some goals have gone wrong in your life can make you see the future in a pessimistic way. Often this may be related to the method we use or the way we work to achieve those goals. Therefore, it is important to try different methods, to risk new habits and to see the experience of other people in the journey of achieving goals.


If your goals are pushing you further and causing you anxiety than actually helping you through this walk, perhaps it's time to review them, rethink the way you look at them and what you're doing specifically to achieve them. Being specific can provide you with the happiness of reaching small daily achievements and being optimistic can make the journey lighter and more promising.

Tim Balabuch
Designer & Cryptocurrency enthusiast


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Nice article. I think that having goals is very important because otherwise you will wonder around without an aim. However most people want to get to there goal immediately instead of taking small steps to get there.