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Do We Need to Establish Goals?
Goals,  Happiness,  Life

Do We Need to Establish Goals?

Around the turn of each year the conversation tends to revolve around the establishment of goals. “What is your New Year’s Resolution?” seems to be the title of scores of new articles that proliferate this time of year.

One major issue I have with this annual deluge is the fact that so very few posts ever discuss the why.

Why should we bother establishing goals? What is their purpose? What makes one goal better than another goal? Is it okay not to set any goals at all? Does it really matter in the end?

Perhaps this is in the forefront of my brain because I have yet to set any personal goals for myself this year. Try as I may none of the ideas I’ve came up with seem appropriate.

I mean, what’s the point in setting goals if we will be dead in just a few short years? What is the point in trying to accomplish anything aside from survival when we are just a miniscule fish in the giant pond of the world?

I’ve thought about that a lot lately. I am just an old woman who started blogging as a form of self-therapy; a woman who skyrocketed to success in the minimalist arena and whose star faded just as rapidly. I am no one in this grand scheme of things, and now that the only purpose I had for my life has been achieved (being the best mother I could be), I am beginning to wonder if I even have the right to search for another path.

The Connection Between Goals and Purpose

It seems to make logical sense to create goals that align with our purpose, so let’s backtrack and start from there. After all, if we create a goal that doesn’t align with our overall purpose, we may not be motivated to follow through or may even sabotage certain aspects of our life.

The Funk & Wagnall’s Desk Standard Dictionary (1939) defines purpose as “to have or place before oneself, as an aim or intent; determine, resolve, or intend; have a fixed design or determination.” (p. 632). In other words, our purpose is something so important to us that it guides our actions throughout life.

Is there anything so important to you that it has (consciously or unconsciously) guided you so far in your life’s journey?

After giving much thought to this, I believe my personal purpose in life is to leave the world a bit better place than it was before I entered it. I may not have had a choice to be born but if I can somehow improve things a tiny little bit, the struggles I have faced will be worth it.

With that in mind, it is safe to say that my purpose has not changed; I still have a desire to make this world a bit better place. Whatever goal I decide upon should reflect that.

Have you ever contemplated your purpose in life? Do you believe that it is important to have a purpose? Is there any point in establishing a purpose or even to set goals?

And is there anything in your life that you would pursue if money were not an object? If you had enough money in your possession to grant you the freedom to never work at a public job again, what would you do with your time?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

6 Comments

  • Linda Sand

    At age 72 I am at that stage where I no longer have to worry about income. My purpose is to help people however I can. For this reason I give to charities but I also give of myself–mostly in helping people who want to live in RVs figure out how to do that by my participation in an excellent online forum.

  • sam

    Linda Sand,
    I am with you on age and the desire to help others. My passion is stock trading and getting people started that think they can not do it.

  • Essie

    Annie, I never considered goals and purpose in this way! It sure makes sense, though- if our goals don’t align with our purpose, we probably won’t meet them. As far as my ‘life’ purpose, I am going to take from the wisdom of the late Ram Dass- I believe we are all here to ‘walk each other home’. With that purpose in mind, my goal is to help others when they are hurting, when they need help, when they are lost or in need in anyway. Might be something as simple as a smile and a kind work to a cashier or something as committed as helping a friend or family member through a terminal illness. We are all here to walk each other home.

  • Melanie

    Annie, even if you’re not making as much money as you did initially in promoting minimalism, never discount the good you may be doing in the world without realizing it. I have immense respect for you, and you inspire me to do better in many areas of my life, not just in minimalism. No one can know the impact they may have on others.

  • John Grebe

    When it comes to setting goals, I like to focus on personal passion project side goals which are independent of my job. This year my main goal of the year is to finish writing and publish my second book. When it comes to my meaning and purpose for the year, regardless of what else happens I will consider 2020 to be a successful year upon completing this. It also helps that I pretty much stacked the deck when it comes to having a successful year as this book is tied to the module of the Adult Sunday School Class that I am teaching at church this year. Like before I will be further revising and expanding the book based upon the feedback from teaching it and then publishing it.