As the scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop in Minnesota, I got to guide many young men on their path to becoming Eagle Scouts. Along the way, I encountered one scout who was working on his requirements but having a hard time getting anything done. At one point, I sat down and told him, “I’ll commit to doing anything I can to help you reach your goal of becoming an Eagle, but I need to know that you really want it. Do you?” His response told me everything I needed to know… 

“Well, my mom does.”

I knew his answer before he spoke it. His body language was screaming it. This wasn’t about him – it was about pleasing his mom. Our conversation ended shortly after, and it ended up removing much of the stress and anxiety this young man had been experiencing. Trying to do this for his mom had been exhausting. Realistically, trying to achieve any big goal for someone else always is.

Setting your goals for YOU is one of the keys to successful goal setting. You need to have a driving force behind your goal that you are passionate about. YOU… not someone else.

Here’s why this is so important. If you’re not passionate about your goals, you will quit – every single time. Adversity will come at you, and you will let off the gas. Barriers will pop up, and you will turn around. The work will get hard, and you will get tired. The outside voices will tell you that you can’t, and you will believe them. Without passion, you won’t overcome.

Passion is the fuel you need to keep going when things get tough – and believe me, they will. If you’re working on anything worth working on, you can count on it. Without passion, you will tap out before you achieve what you want… because, at the end of the day, you don’t want it bad enough. Unfortunately, when our goals belong to other people, this is often the case. Because we’re not passionate about the goal ourselves, there’s simply not enough desire inside to keep us moving when things get hard.

My parents had goals for me in college. They had a path they envisioned me walking that would lead to a certain kind of life. I had other ideas, and instead of chasing a grad cap and gown, I jumped into a small startup and created my own path. My path, not theirs. This path came with some unique and unexpected challenges, but because I was passionate and all-in, I pushed, crawled, and scraped my way through each one. This path, the one I chose for me, has opened up every door I’ve walked through since.

Why share this now? As you’re starting to think about your goals for the new year, keep passion in mind and set goals that YOU are passionate about. Set goals that you want so bad that you won’t quit when adversity comes your way. Set goals that light you up, get you out of bed in the morning, and will keep you in the game when the challenges come.

Set your goals for you… Not for your mom.

The Takeaway

As a reformed people-pleaser, I’ve caught myself getting caught up in other people’s goals throughout my life. Those experiences have taught me that I never actually accomplish those goals. They’re not mine, and I don’t care enough about them. It’s not that I don’t care about those other people – I just don’t have it in me to work on their goals. And, when I try to, I end up setting my own goals aside. 

This year, set your own goals.

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