Stop Aiming For Goals

If you want to hit your goal, better to aim for a different target

Jim Farina
3 min readApr 8, 2022


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I just heard an old zen story about an archery teacher working with her student. Over and over again, the student draws back the bow and releases an arrow, but he fails to hit the target's bullseye. Discouraged, he throws down his bow in frustration.

The teacher asks what's wrong, and the student replies, "I've done everything as you've instructed me. I'm holding the bow and the arrow properly, I'm aiming, and it's not working."

The teacher said, "Tell me, what's your goal?"

The student wrinkles his brow, "What's my goal? It's to hit the bullseye, of course."

"Really?" The teacher responds, "It's your deep, burning desire to take this little shaft of wood with a pointy tip, launch it through the air, and hit a tiny circle on a piece of paper?"

"Well, when you put it that way," the student responds.

The teacher explains, "The bullseye is not the goal — It's just a target, an outcome. Your goal is to achieve complete stillness in your body and mind. And that's how you will hit the bullseye."

We all have our set goals. These goals might be daily, weekly, and monthly. Goals are necessary to get where we want to go, but often, we can confuse our actual goals with our targets amid all this goal-setting.

I can get so caught up in writing my next article, making sure I complete my 15-minute meditation session, complete my daily journal entry, or close all the activity rings on my Apple watch that I completely lose sight of why I'm doing all these things in the first place.

Instead of "goal-setting," perhaps we should start using the term "growth setting" We should pause to ask ourselves, what are the qualities and attributes we want to develop? How do I want to evolve? We should then set our targets and the steps we take to meet them accordingly.

If I want to serve and inspire others, I will write an article about growth. My goal is to be a healthy person, so I will meet the fitness challenges I set for myself on my Apple watch. I want to be more balanced and focused, so I'm going to meditate daily. Do you see the shift here?



Jim Farina

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