Anxiety and Goals: Why I Hate Them Both

Anxiety is real and it is aggressive. It can be never ending and it is hard to control. The other shitty thing about anxiety is that the fears are COMPLETELY PERSONAL, for me at least. Other people rarely have expectations of me that I cannot meet. But my biggest triggers for anxiety are goals and expectations.

I used to get very seriously nervous when I was not going to make my goals. Like I said, this was personal. At work, my supervisor is so chill! She does not harass me. She’s not a bitch towards me. She sends gentle reminders if I’m behind or if my work doesn’t meet her standards, but nothing too intense. I have lots of flexibility and freedom, because I kick ass and do a damn good job.

Even with that, I am intensely anxious about performing well.

Part of my issue is that I want to be the best, meet all my goals with precision and get everything I want in life and it is a BIG DEAL for me…

This is why I have denounced goals. 

Goals have been known to help people change their lives for the better, but goals also apply pressure, sometimes unnecessary, to peoples performance. Goals can drive people crazy. Chris Kayes termed the syndrome where people try to meet their goals amidst innumerable evidence that they will fail which he identified as “goalodicy”, a play on the word theodicy.

Instead, of staying all goal crazy, I have dumbed down my personal goals, turning them into Tasks.

I know what you are thinking, “Tiffany, tasks are the same as goals!”

I disagree, which it is okay for me to do. lol. Tasks are light duties where as goals directly align with you life, dreams and aspirations. I can skip a task, but missing a goal can be life shattering for some. I have decided that tasks are less serious and thus cause me less stress.

This technique has worked for me. My drive for accomplishment hasn’t gone down but I also am not super stressed over getting things accomplished…. this doesn’t stop anxiety, however. That monster can take even the simplest of “tasks” and make them chaotic and unnerving.

My anxiety bible is The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman. I found it while looking for books about self-development. I stumbled onto a lot of books about letting things go during that time but this one stuck with me. I have listened to it on Audible at least 10 times – front to back, and I own the paperback.

In his book he quotes the following: 

FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.

Ambrose Bierce – The Devil’s Dictionary.

I recommend everyone read the Devil’s Dictionary. lol.

The Devil’s Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer Ambrose Bierce consisting of common words followed by humorous and satirical definitions. 

I know this definition of the future is a gag, but I honestly believe this definition to be partially true. We are all planning our lives and the goals, tasks and duties are all meant to get us to this place. Part of human life is the part where we continue on to the future. All human intention is to be better than before.

So unfortunately, and fortunately, we must push through anxiety and botched goals. This is how we reach that future, which I do believe could be brighter! As long as we actually push through. 😉😁

Love, Tiffany

Thank you for reading.

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