3 Dangers Of Setting Goals

What’s your dream car? Where’s your dream vacation destination? What’s your dream girl? What’s your dream job?

Do you have answers for any of these questions? Or for all of them? Is that a good thing?

Ok, I’ll stop asking questions now. Clearly setting goals is beneficial for making progress in your life. But in this article I’ll argue against this self-improvement staple. Let me make one thing clear: you should set goals for various areas of your life. I only want to point out the dangers of becoming obsessed and attached to these goals.

Note: This article doesn’t apply to the lazy sloths who haven’t set a single goal for themselves. In their case, setting any goal can only be a good thing.

1. You get attached to the outcome

The purpose of setting goals is to give yourself a direction to work towards. You set a goal when there’s a need for a purpose in a certain area of your life. The act of setting the goal formalizes your intention and seemingly increases the chance of success.

But it can have one terrible side effect: you get attached. And when you get attached, you start to put the goal on a pedestal. Yes, you’re still likely to achieve it, but oftentimes the costs outweigh the benefits. You start to sacrifice your health, relationships, and leisure time to get what you want. And if you don’t get it you can lose all of your sense of self-worth.

The solution to this is to set goals in opposing areas of your life. Say you set a goal that relates to your career—to get a certain promotion, for example. You should balance this by also setting a goal for something in your personal life—dating a new girl or learning a new martial art, for example.

2. You become addicted to setting goals

While setting measured and calculated goals is a good way to grow and learn, there is a danger of becoming obsessed. It’s happened to me, and I’ve seen it happen to other men as well. You achieve one thing, and before you even pat yourself on the back you’ve replaced it with something else.

Always having an aim in life is important because it fills you with a sense of purpose. But you must be careful not to turn goal setting and achieving into the only thing in your existence. Spending time with friends, watching a good movie, and eating a savory meal are all things that should be enjoyed and looked forward to.

The solution to avoiding this trap is to remind yourself that a lifestyle without enjoying things is unsustainable. You’re missing out on essential parts of living. Your goals are important, yes, but they’re not everything.

3. You set the wrong goals

Yes, I’m judging your goals. Some goals suck. Simple as that. They are dead ends that will only lead to suffering and anxiety. Others are good. They will lead to growth and happiness.

What’s the difference? Bad goals focus entirely on the outcome. Owning a Ferarri or sleeping with 100 women are examples of bad goals. Saving some money every month and having the confidence to approach any woman in any circumstance are far better alternatives.

Sure, the image of a Ferarri or of a bunch of hunnies in your bed is vivid and attractive, but it focuses your attention on all the wrong things. How can you buy a Ferrari if you can’t save $1000 per month? How can you sleep with 100 girls if you don’t even have the balls to approach one?

The solution is to set goals that meet the following parameters: you have a large degree of control over them (ie. success is likely if you put in the time and effort), they focus on the process, and you can describe why you want to achieve it (ie. your motivation).

For a roadmap to setting better goals and conquering your fears check out my book Dominate.

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60 thoughts on “3 Dangers Of Setting Goals”

  1. Setting abstract goals is kind of childish. It’s a quick fix to justify a mediocre life of hedonism (what the proles do), which only knows the orgasm, the beer cup, and other shallow excesses as fulfillment. Real men are distinguished by their deeds, not indulgences.
    Instead men should aim to build a lifestyle (no, I’m not talking about merely getting paid and laid). I mean by that a way of being which finds expression in one’s activity personal, artistic, and social. In this way, the Greeks conceived a mechanism for higher men to realize themselves translated as “heroic pleasure”.
    Repeating what Goethe said: “to live as one pleases is plebeian”.

    1. “lifestyle”
      I have always found the word “lifestyle” to be particularly void of meaning. If you are concerned about the style of your life, stop. You have it wrong.
      If you ever use the word “lifestyle” in reference to yourself you are trapped inside of a consumer catalog holding Opra’s purse.
      Make yourself a LIFE through hard honorable work forging relationships with people you respect. From there, the leave of a 16th century poet born into wealth is pointless. I will live as a please and Goethe can go pound sand.

      1. Instead of espousing ignorance, read some Greek philosophy.
        If you struggle with the word “lifestyle” and assume the modern definition, that’s probably because you are unfamiliar with Greek and Latin and the Greco-Roman origin of the word. Leisure or “lifestyle” had absolutely nothing to do with decadent bourgeois connotations.
        The “Last Man” of Nietzsche’s parable doesn’t have a lifestyle, he is mentally paralyzed by conventional attitudes and completely risk averse. He conceives freedom as decadence (materialism, escapism, and hedonism), whereas freedom in the ancient world was identical to responsibility and realized potential.

        1. Rage on Orange, call me names, I really don’t care.
          But do stop taking shelter in the quotation’s of people from a history you never lived or really know. In Goethe’s time you would have lived a miserable, painful, ignorant existence. Kissing his ass in the 21st century doesn’t make you intelligent.
          I may take you more seriously if you stop creating a login every time you post. Perhaps that is a lifestyle change you can make without holding Opra’s purse.

        2. Shouldering a man’s social burden is good, but what about when culture crumbles? It’s very tempting to say “fuck it” and live for oneself in a decadent fashion. Responsibility in front of whom? Before, we had our gods (whom we served and served us) and the village elders who showed us our place in a sacred order. Now God is dead and we have killed him and we’ll never find enough water to wash away our crime.

        3. Our God has provided the necessary liquor, by which to wash the crime away; such was His condescension, knowing the full depth of our criminality, as you have observed. The Church has the feast of All Saints, and one of the reasons for this is to honor all those Saints who led lives, whose holiness was entirely hidden from the public knowledge of men. It is a great thing to live cleanly before God, even if nobody else ever knows. How much greater, to maintain one’s integrity while the culture collapses wholesale into degradation? “I have reserved to Myself 1000, who have not bowed the knee before Baal.” Devoutly to be wished, is being amongst that number.

        4. Thanks for the correction; going from memory, but probably should have looked it up!

      2. I live much as I please, yet I note that living as I please requires me to undertake some tasks and endure some conditions which do not please me. I can be too hot for comfort, then too cold. I may find myself overworked and over stressed, then rankling under an undesired indolence.
        Should I relieve my displeasure of the moment, my life of living as I please would vanish, to be absorbed by mere pleasure seeking.
        The idea that Goethe was talking about is self discipline. Or, to put it in the words of another wise man who isn’t long dead:
        Your life should be made “through hard honorable work forging” it.

        1. “The idea that Goethe was talking about is self discipline.”
          Trust me I got that part. I have read Goethe and others. In certain moments I do hold them in contempt because their words came too easily from a time that to our eyes would seem as crushing poverty and deprivation.
          To see Goethe from the heights of his wealth and intellect exclaim that plebeian is to do as one pleases, is hard to stomach as if he alone was inconvenienced.
          He may also have lamented: “Oh I’m just too damn rich and smart to do as I want, unlike all the other poor retched, stinking, toothless, lice ridden, floor sleeping people. The world will be less if I don’t selflessly strive on unlike all the other poor retched, stinking, toothless, lice ridden, floor sleeping people. But I repeat myself.”

        2. I can certainly understand that. Marx was another of the type and even Thoreau suffered from it, although he at least attempted the practice of what he taught and had the advantage of not being German.

        3. That was how society was built back in the days. ( at least before the Enlightment).
          The poor worked their asses and satisfied their primal needs, while the higher classes were supposed to use their free time – when not to war – to get highly educated and live the ascetic life.
          Today, it is mostly the same thing, but the modern aristocracy doesn’t even pretend to live the ascetic life, won’t ever go to war, and is probably much less educated.

        4. Not really.
          French Revolution was a coup from the mercantile decadent bourgeoisie against the post-enlightment decadent aristocracy.
          In short, that was just a decadent aristocracy replacing an other one.
          It has gotten really worse for the people after that, supressing the artisanal corporations with the “Chapelier law”, and of course the nice litle genocide in Vendée.

        5. Bring back the aristocracy! At least they had a code of honor and sense of “noblesse oblige” before they interbred with the newly wealthy industrialists and bankers in the 19th century.

        6. Actually yes that is true. But I was referring to the various doomed peasant revolts. When I studied French history it seemed that the peasants were always revolting much like they are today! 🙂
          Also, in English “revolting” has a duel meaning, also meaning “disgusting” so I was making a little pun too.

        7. Oh ok I didn’t get it, thanks.
          Yes, that is true. The French paysans, at least what’s left of them have always been a threat the power.
          By the way, I’m pretty sure that no revolution ever come when the common’s people primal needs are satisfied, no matter what system is rulling them, and I also think that the feodal system in its golden age was way more balanced than today’s system.

        8. Taxes were much lower during Feudal times. While back then people “paid through the nose” now we pay through the arse.

      3. Exactly. “Lifestyle” to me always reads as: “affectation of existence.” So many people are affected in this way: “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual,” by which they usually mean that their “interior life” is comprised of esoteric practices and devotions arranged as one would arrange décor in a living room; or, as so many women I know, they have absolutely no sense of themselves, and they think that by creating an “interesting” exterior via fashion statements and superficial activities, they are somehow defining themselves as people. I suppose they are, but not at all in the way they imagine themselves to be! What has happened to the authentic life, authentically lived?
        I would disagree with “living as one pleases,” though, which I do think is plebeian. Far better to learn to take pleasure in living well, than to simply live as one happens to please.

    2. Hedonism with young women is different than drinking or other ‘shallow excesses’ like maybe sugar, rich food, internet, TV, silly movies. Having regular access to young women has significant hormonal benefits. I’ve seen friends in marriages with obese women run into very serious hormonal/depression issues. A sunny afternoon with a twenty year old in bikini followed by an evening of ‘indulgence’ is very good for you especially as you get older. It shouldn’t be in the same ‘hedonistic’ category as being drunk or high. Does it answer life’s deep philosophical questions? No. But neither does getting appropriate amounts of sunlight on your skin. Still, your body needs it.

      1. I agree with this. A gentleman should have ready access to sex with attractive women. Having a spent a considerable period without having sex and then recently being reintroduced to it I am much happier, confident and stronger as a result. Hormonally I can only imagine that important sex hormones are being released (such as testosterone) improving my mood and virility. You can always tell a man who is not getting regular sex because he will become defensive and will deny that he needs it.
        You can witness this on in these comments where many unfortunate men rage against women saying “I am done with them” etc. when in actuality they are frustrated.

  2. There is no achievement in any real goal without taking a risk.
    It is as simple as that. True, there is a high degree of failure (depending on what your goal is) but remember, it is only failure that allows us to analyse where we went wrong and to ensure that we do not repeat those mistakes and thus, in turn, allows us to become stronger as individuals. If one goal fails, you set up another goal. You must have perseverance and persistence in what you do as an individual. No matter what the goal is, you must remain focused, and to never lose spirit or hope.
    Believe me, the number of times I have failed in life, although it is has hardened me, I still choose to believe that there is a goal that I must pursue in life. Without a goal, direction or purpose in life, a man will go insane. That is what feminists, politicians, the mainstream media and the other villains in society will try to take away from you- your goal and purpose in life. Do not succumb to it.
    The idea of setting up real goals is what truly differentiates us as men, from women. Women will never be as ambitious as men, nor will they understand what makes our minds tick. But regardless, we must ensure that our paths towards our goals are never deviated from.
    Remember, our time on Earth is limited. Make the most of your life.

    1. Indeed a man with no purpose in life will go insane. We see that in the western society. We have all the accommodations we could want in life, all the entertainment to keep us jerking ourselves, gorging ourselves or button mashing ourselves into oblivion day after day. Are people happier? I don’t think so.
      “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” this quote sums up most of the lives of the millennial generation. Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Tumblr, all these social media sites to keep us busy yet people are still bored, when people are bored they usually do stupid things. A person without a purpose will always resort to his/her vices to keep the mind occupied.

      1. Millenials are even further addled by the fact that their own brains have never had the pressure of providing entertainment for themselves. I was in college pre-internet. Thousands of hours with friends while not studying, just making each other laugh, calling each other out, bitching, criticizing, joking, telling stories, learning, giving opinions. The point is that WE had to do it all, not just click on youtube ‘vines’ for a laugh. I worked with some millenials for a year recently and two things jumped out at me and held on as true;
        1. arrogant (why this crew was arrogant is more mysterious than crop-circles, btw)
        2. NO ability to crack a joke. There was a near total absence of wit and cleverness. Not an absence of talking, though. That actually would have been nice. The internet-raised brain is a shockingly unimpressive.

        1. Totally agree with everything you have said.
          While the internet has in some way, helped to expose the reality of how life really works (such as the manosphere) the internet however, has also helped dumb down the masses by turning them into smartphone, social media hipster degenerate zombies.
          Call me an old dinosaur or fossil, but sometimes I think that maybe life would have been better without the internet.

        2. Jokes now equal social media memes and videos of cute animals and/or dudes hurting themselves doing something stupid. The Idiocracy television show “Ow My Balls” is almost a real show at this point.

    2. Good comment man, I can’t say I agree with this article. It favors a more mediocre mindset to achieving goals.

  3. Good article. I’ve always been really into goal setting to improve my life. This is the first year which I will not achieve my New Year’s resolution. I’ve never made a big deal about yearly resolutions but I aligned them with what my goals were anyway and proudly achieved them multiple years in a row.
    My goal was to save $10k this year, which I did not achieve, though I made a lot of progress, and got a new job that will make saving much easier next year.
    I think it was Wallstreet Playboys who said success comes rarely and all at once. Its difficult to predict the next six months, and nearly impossible to predict where you will be in a year.
    The advantage of goals is a chance to set a solid objective which if you do not reach you can dissect and analyze later. Why did you not achieve your goal, what could you do better; and most importantly is it just taking a little longer than you first expected.
    If you’re ever feeling down fly back home (if you live abroad) and see where your high school friends are at now. Its a depressing refresher that mediocrity is socially acceptable in America more than probably any other country.

  4. Self improvement, focusing on making yourself a leader of not just others but yourself most importantly, is probably one of the most fulfilling things you can get out of life. Getting rid of distractions and trying to maintain virtue while going through the horrible blows and burns you will undoubtedly receive on this personal journey.
    There is something that truly sets apart those with goals and those without, you can just tell by the way they carry themselves.

  5. I was thinking about this the other day. The secret to being happy is having a purpose. And part of having a purpose is having goals. But many people set unrealistic goals for themselves, things that are not achievable or will not make them happy, so that when they fail to become happy they have a reason to give up.
    The first step of achieving your goals is to set realistic goals. Take all the thing you want and write them down, then go through the list and strike out all the silly things like becoming a millionaire or a celebrity and anything that probably won’t improve your life. Then create a plan towards achieving those goals that is measurable. And as you complete each step of the plan reward yourself because each step is a goal in and of itself.
    And once you achieve your goal reevaluate your goal. Did it make you happier or better? If it did then celebrate. If not then consider it a learning experience. Why didn’t it make you happier? Maybe what you think is they key to happiness really isn’t. Maybe you already had what you needed to begin with. Maybe you need to appreciate what you have. Having too many choices often leads to choice addiction where you’re never happy with what you have no matter how hard you work towards it. Consider that before making choices that are costly or very time consuming. Is this really going to make me happier?

  6. I have no goal independent of my needs. The needs are the physical needs of the body. There are no other needs.

    1. And yet here you are, engaging in a purely social activity, employing a means which your body has no need of.

      1. I try really hard to score women, but I do not try hard at work or put too much effort. I barely even work 7 hours per day. At work I get promoted all of the time , get bonuses for performance and all goals accomplished for the year. when it comes to women, I struggle. I should not give a shit about them as well.

        1. Exactly. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on your game, but you should be approaching and approaching and approaching until you are a master at it. It’s a number game, don’t get caught up in letting a rejection from a particular girl matter in the slightest. Soon it will be second nature.
          À bientôt,

        2. I think if you know that you’re trying
          really hard to score women, then you’re trying too hard.
          I’d suggest switching it up and investing some more time into passive game, as opposed to overkill with active game. Stepping up passive game could be spending more time in the gym, updating your wardrobe or working on mastering some creative projects that interest you. Being able to approach
          is important, but it sounds like you’ve hit a plateau and need a change.

        3. it helps to be in an area with an abundance of attractive women though. A rejection in America “hurts” badly for me because I know that it’ll probably be years until I see another woman that turns me on; in China or Japan, it’s alright because I’ll probably run into at least a dozen other attractive women in a day.

        4. I realize you put “hurts” in quotes, but really it shouldn’t “hurt” at all. And if you find yourself in a “target poor” environment, then change venue. NYC, for example, has an abundance of single women. In San Diego, b/c of the Navy base, the ratio favors women.
          Or, as the Chinese might say, “When there is no wind, row.”
          À bientôt,

  7. Okay, so if the choice is between ‘Having goals’ and “Not having goals’, then I recommend that first one.
    I’m a big believer in visualization, if only b/c if what you visualize actually happens, you are ready to strike. Remember the 6P Rule: Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. I game plan before, and I run the game film after–I’m talking about life generally here, not just women. With women I pretty much wing it b/c what I’ve learned is that I’m good on my feet, and with women there are a bunch of variables and truth can be stranger than fiction but for whatever reason, the right stuff just seems to come out of my mouth.
    Actually I do know the reasons: I basically piss confidence, and I’ve done a lot of approaching, and developed skills that make approaching easy (public speaking, teaching and acting/performing). I have ZERO fear of the cold approach because, well first b/c I’m a Grown @ss Man, but second (and this may be more helpful to younger guys), I’ve done so much of it that I know I can handle whatever comes up, and that the chick is going to be way more nervous than me (b/c I am not going to be nervous AT ALL). Most girls I approach are cool, but if they’re bitches, I grind them out underneath my heel. Have a few approach lines and a couple of “Cunt-Bitch Destroyer Lines” (also useful in nuking the cockblock).
    Here are a couple:
    DefCon1 (when you know that the situation is no-win): “What do you use for birth control…YOUR PERSONALITY?!”
    Usable on Target or C/B: “You’re TERRIBLE at flirting.”
    In one case where I used that (on a chick who I wasn’t even trying to bang; she was trying to Bogart my spot at the bar and I wasn’t having it), she escalated to, “I wasn’t flirting with you! I wouldn’t date you if you were the last man on Earth!” At this point, I administered the coup de grace, served with a sauce that had notes of ‘light contempt’ and ‘amusement’: “If I was the Last Man on Earth, you wouldn’t even be allowed in line!”
    And Hamster Nukage in 3….2…..1…::BOOM!::
    Why was that so effective? B/C is struck right at the heart of one of the two core biological purposes of women: to be attractive to men (the other is to reproduce). This also secondarily illuminates why women will often go berserk if you turn them down. Anyway, I could tell she was a real bitch by the scarcely concealed Schadenfreude of her friends….”OMG! Did you hear what that guy just said to Ashley?!” (or whatever the fuck her name was).
    Anyway, with respect to goals on such things as fitness or money or whatever, make them (a) realistic and (b) quantifiable. When you reach them, you will have a sense of accomplishment that will build your confidence, and when you don’t, sit down, figure out why, and do better tomorrow. You’re going to learn more from your failures than your successes.
    Anyway, happy slaying.
    À bientôt,

    1. “What do you use for birth control… YOUR PERSONALITY?” Mistral, do you mind if I borrow that one? It was great.

      1. Feel free to use when appropriate, without attribution….just like I do.
        À bientôt,

  8. Setting impossibly high goals compensates for the gravity of your situation. The air force slogan ‘aim high’ refers to target practice where you aim slightly higher than the bullseye to negate the force of gravity on the mortar shell or round. A well calculated bullseye hit has a hint of the same feeling you get when you finally sink your tool into a snatch that you’ve been pursuing. It’s the same feeling basically – endeavor achieved.
    Also mentally you must paint that picture of tomorrows victory, and then DIVE RIGHT INTO IT. Others telling you that you are unrealistic can take the wind out of your trajectory and your lofty journey gets grounded like a rail car navigating a maze – that versus a projectile flying high and free as it challenges gravity.
    When you wake in the morning tell yourself ‘fly boy fly’. Sure you won’t fly but it gets the gears squeaking and finally turning.

  9. I would just throw in there that you should be very careful about setting a certain kind of woman or even a particular woman as your ‘goal.’ It could lead so readily to oneitis, pedestalization, chivalry patterns that have been debunked. A woman is a woman. It’s simple. Don’t let your imagination shroud one particular type of girl with all kinds of values. That’s actually just you being in love with your own imaginary chimeras–applied to someone else. You can waste years with that. An Ethiopian girl who spills out of a bikini like you can’t believe is a better woman than that Pi Phi with her nose in the air, the Mercedes and the father who captained the football team etc. Why is the Ethiopian a better woman? Because she looks better in a bikini. Case closed.

  10. Wow. I bought your book, Dominate, a while ago before i found return of kings. And I’ve enjoyed your articles as much as Danger and Play’s and Bold and Determined’s. I never made the connection.

  11. Jefe, this was a good thought to share with the fellows on ROK. I notice some guys seem to be missing the point, below, and are speaking as though they understood your article to be shying away from risks, and to be discouraging men from setting goals. It seems to me that your article is making a salient point: that often, in setting goals, men impede themselves from attaining their goals by not paying sufficient attention to the mistakes we make in setting them. Men should set goals, but should strive to do so in ways that avoid the common pitfalls involved in the process. It’s actually an extremely helpful point that often gets overlooked. Thanks for reminding us of it.

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