Goals Post Its


Wanting what we want and owning that we do can be a difficult thing to do. There is a hesitancy to wanting what we want because we have beliefs that we are being selfish and self-centered.

Denying ourselves what we want seems to have some special virtue. The guilt of “having” can cause us to be less than honest about what we are wanting. Living with less can seem to be more “spiritual.”

There is the idea that if we live with less, the goods of the world will somehow magically become a more equitable distribution of good. And so we hang back for a while, denying ourselves, before we impulsively and compulsively give ourselves what we’ve been depriving ourselves of having.

The simple truth is that you’re playing less than, you’re having less than, you’re holding back from being and having the fullness of who you are, and what you want helps no one.

Your acting like you don’t want lovely things serves no one. Your being “less than” for the sake of some misbegotten notion of modesty and humility keeps you from entering into the wholeness of the person that you have been created to be. It also keeps you from contributing to a consumer economy which is, by far, the greatest means by which you are likely contribute to the good of the world.

Healthy patterns of attachment mean an ability or capacity to want what we want and to be able to attach to it with appreciation, full of enjoyment and a sense of ownership that is proud and grateful.

Attachment also applies to job and professions, to friends, associates, and to relationships. The attachment is a mark of mental health. Healthy patterns of attachment are developed from childhood, and even when they are weak and not so healthy, they can grow and develop by being honest about our wanting.

Ambivalent patterns of attachment cause low self-esteem because we are never fully able to attach, to own, to be a part of, to have and to hold nearly and dearly those people and things that are significant aspects of our wanting.

Goals are mechanisms of attachment to life. They seek to create a fuller, more satisfying life and their very nature is to believe that the goal is possible to reach.

So goals are healthy indicators of attachment to life, especially when they are pursued with intention. The difficulty with “attachment” shows itself in a lack of hope, in fear, in the dread of being disappointed and let down.

This disappointment-oriented thinking results in flat-lining and in depression. It is a deeply rooted pessimism.

Goals are expressions of positive expectation and of hopefulness. Goals expect to be met. To grasp the goals means to grasp the hopefulness that keeps the believing going that the goal will be met.

© Dr. William K. Larkin




About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Alan Cohen

    I like the reframe of attachment here. I had always thought to attach was a negative, but in this context, attachment opens up an entirely new realm of possibility. I would sometimes find myself holding back from wanting, from setting goals, because of the fear of not getting what I wanted, or that what I was asking for was unreasonable, or that I was in some way not worthy of having. Through this work to develop a more positive mindset, goal setting has become much easier. I am freely creating possibility, setting goals, and backing all up with intention. My I am vibrating at a higher frequency, and allowing myself to take in all the good in life. I feel like I am attracting more posibility, in setting goals. I no longer arm myself with disappointment that I may not get what i want, but instead an open to how things flow to me, and am not “attached” to how and when and in what form they appear.

  • Dr. gloria wright

    Knowing what we want; owning that we want what we want; manifesting what we want – is the essence of responsibility. What we have
    in our life is a reflection of our desires and actions. There is much
    propaganda around beliefs that wanting is selfish. And does being selfish have to be bad? In the extreme, maybe, but not to desire and have goals feeds our lack of definition about who we really are. When we are authentic and transparent, our goals are congruent with who we
    are in our deepest and truest self. Our lives are a reflection of who we are.
    Putting aside the insidious “should not’s,” we are open to explore and acknowledge and put our actions toward creating a life of meaning and purpose. What brings your life meaning and purpose? What would your
    life look like if you were truly true to yourself? If jealousy appears in
    relationships, it only means that the other person is not being true to
    themselves and they want us to limit ourselves so that they feel better about themselves. If we have what we want, then they can too. As Richard Bach reminds us, “You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.”
    And one part of “work for it” is to know what we want and go after it. With focus and passion and determination, our life can be fulfilling. We can savor the moments and times when we are in the Flow in our lives and can see and feel that we indeed do have the life we want. And let us be grateful!

  • Kelsey Abbott

    The sentence “goals are mechanisms of attachment to life” really resonates with me. Making goals shows that we want more. Wanting shows that we want growth. Growing is flourishing. If we’re not growing, we’re languishing. Goals and goal-setting, therefore, are a way to live, to be alive, to thrive, to build new neuropathways and to keep expanding and growing forward.

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