A Deeper Context for 2019 Goals

I've been thinking a lot about achieving goals, mostly around how to achieve them both individually and within a large group of people (e.g. a company). 

But then I stopped and asked what before seemed obvious, and that's "Why achieve goals?" I say it seemed obvious, but that's just because it's kind of assumed that we all know why. But seriously, WHY achieve goals?

If you're in a business context you may want to do so for the purpose of making more money, helping more of your customers, getting ahead in your career, or just having fun.

When considering personal goal setting, you may want to achieve them because you think that's what you're supposed to do this time of year. Or you have visions of how great your life will be when you finally hit that next milestone of losing those pounds, making that money, spending time on that hobby, etc.

Those are all fine reasons to work towards a goal. But I think there's something more fundamental at play.

We set out to achieve things because we want to become more whole.

Look through the eyes of a very young child; there's so much that you cannot yet do: drive a car, cook a meal, earn money, climb a tree. And that's not even getting into the grander achievements of life such as curing disease, building a successful business, making sublime music, or listening fully to someone.

Now consider what it feels like when you've clearly and demonstrably grown at something important to you. Is there any greater feeling in life? Perhaps a few, such as holding your newborn baby, or the experience of deep contentment found in meditation.

But growth, especially growth earned from dedication and struggle, is one of the biggest thrills there is.

And what is actually happening when you go from one level of ability to another? You're taking something that was formerly "out there," in the realm of possibility only for other people, and making it something "in here." You make it part of who you are--your own story, your capacity, your firsthand understanding, your realm of influence. 

So the small child, for whom the world is a place for "grownups" gradually becomes a master of said world as he or she gains more of those skills.

And for the adult who grows deliberately (or even by accidental circumstance), the experience is one of integrating something that was formerly unknown territory--be it a physical achievement, or mental, emotional, or spiritual--into something more known. One is merging with more of existence.

And if you step far enough back, you could even say that this is a reason for being itself: to understand more and more of this mysterious and miraculous process that gave rise to, and continues to give rise to our own consciousness in every moment.

So why are we compelled to grow and achieve the next big milestone in life? In order to know more of life itself, or to become more of the WHOLE of life.