Why You Can’t Set Goals



Occasionally, I’ll run into an individual and we’ll discuss various aspects of our lives. Typically, the usual topic comes up: work, family, etc. But for me, I like to sometimes dive a little deeper and discover what a person wants.

If nothing else, it helps me determine if someone is a good fit to be in my tribe. Inevitably, I get to the question of What are your goals? More often than not, I’ll hear a response such as, “well, I don’t really have any right now” or “just making it through the week”. Occasionally, my question is met with a sudden pause accompanied by a look of disarray. Moments later I get the response, “…y’know, I never really thought about it”.

But why?!, my internal dialogue always screams. Why don’t you have at least 5 definitive goals? I usually find myself asking that question in some variation to the person and sometimes I’ll get a response along the lines of, “Well…I never really thought about it”.


And therein was the problem. In my opinion, if you have no goals or can’t really come up with one, it’s because you lack a vision.

What do I mean by a vision?


Well, I mean you haven’t taken time to consider the future for yourself and those you interact with, You don’t have a concrete idea of who you want to be 10, 20, 30, 50 years from now. If that sounds like you, fix this.

I think goals are extremely important as a tool for self-motivation and progress. Vision is the catalyst, the spark that makes things happen.

But how do you form a vision? Well, ask yourself, what do you want out of life? In 20 years, what would you wish you would’ve done? What are some regrets you’d have? Start with those?

Me, personally, I have a very specific vision of myself and my friends. I see myself by the age of 40 speaking at least 3 other languages, having an office in my house with a library, being married by that time, owning a company (or at least being a CEO), and having a very close circle of friends that I deeply trust—and that’s only about 1% of my overall vision. From there, I try to work backward and essentially reverse-engineer my future vision. That’s where the goals come from.


As I mentioned, I want to learn at least 3 other languages by 40. How would I approach this? Well, I think starting now is best. This leads to the goal: Start taking Spanish classes or at the very least, hang around others that speak Spanish who can help me learn faster.

Want to get married in the future to the ideal woman? The goal: Start dating now in order to determine what I enjoy in a partner and discover more about myself.

I desire close friends? The goal: I should learn how to increase my socialization skills so I can find high-quality friends through classes and practice. That’s how all of my goals are formed. In a nutshell, have goals. But if you can’t form goals, form a vision and from there, work in reverse.