Yesterday I saw this post by Seth Godin and thought I'd put my own 2c to it. A fairly random pool of thoughts so Ill apologize in advance. You will need to read the article first. It is short, I promise. Seth Godin's blog is one of a handful of blogs that I regularly read. I am a big fan of his thoughts. This is one of the rare cases where my opinion is different.
Goals do not matter. While setting goals and working towards them might be a way to reach them, it is also a very good way to be unhappy when arriving. Maybe they aren't what you expected. I know so many people who finished university, just to be unhappy in their jobs. Maybe the goals are just illusions. That is the reason why people stop working out after a while. They don't care for pilates, running, whatever. They only care for their goal of -10kg and think it will work even if they dislike the path. I am convinced that had they picked the proper path they would have made it, setting a goal or not.
Personally, I loved plans. Living life like a game of chess. Unfortunatly I suck at chess and it always came differently. Like Mr Godin writes, I often ended up being disappointed, to the point of wanting to quit. Then one night I sat at home thinking about how stupid this was. Having achieved way more than a sane person could hope for considering the short amount of time, here I was being sad because it did not feel enough. My goals had been higher. A little bit like capitalism where too small of an increase is considered a terrible loss. Stupid.
The conclusion is simple. Ignore the goals and focus on the path. It is much easier to constantly reevaluate the path and if it is the right one it ends up far beyond the original goal, and might even bring some happiness. The right path is fueled by passion, every day, even at parts where it sucks. A goal is set once and then turns into struggle. "How do I become photographer, dancer, job xyz?" is a fairly stupid question (unless it refers to legal, technical stuff). You don't by asking this question. You end up there because it is part of your path, one you follow because you enjoy training, studying, practicing for long enough, hard enough. If you really wanted to do it, why aren't you doing it already? Depending on interests it might not be a cookie cutter job but if you are good enough you can make a job out of anything nowadays.
In archery I learned that I have to prepare each single shot individually, and not care about hitting the target or the overall result. Hitting the target is a result of doing things right, to the best of my ability, before I let the arrow go. No "big" goal, just the moment. Beyond that I have no control. As soon as the focus moves towards "winning" it triggers a spiral where everything falls apart.
My opinion. Having no goal is no excuse for being lazy though, that is an entirely different story...