Jeremy Côté


Goals Are Milestones

So many people like to set goals, thinking that a concrete objective can help them become people that they want to be.

However, the way this gets phrased creates huge problems for society. People set goals, end up achieving them, and then ask, “Now what?”.

This happens because we see goals as destinations instead of milestones.

When we see goals as destinations, the goal becomes the end of a journey. Once the goal has been met, the job is complete. Whatever difficult task you were doing becomes unnecessary, because you have accomplished what you set out to do. Because of this, we then abandon whatever activity we were doing, since there isn’t any distinct “point” to it.

Contrast this with viewing goals as simply milestones. Here, the goal is not the end of the road. Instead, the goal is a marker of progress. Progress towards what? Towards improvement. While viewing a goal as a destination, the activity is stopped once the goal is reached. But if the goal is viewed as a milestone, it is merely another step on the journey. It’s worth celebrating, certainly, but it doesn’t mean you’re done.

The difference between these views are subtle, but the consequences are profound. If you are serious about improving yourself (something everyone should want), you need to be equally serious about how you look at goals. They aren’t endpoints, they’re markers of progress. Goals are there to have something to shoot for while practicing and refining your craft, but the truth is that there is always more that can be done. That’s the beauty of learning and development: you’re never done.

Remember, goals are the signposts on the trail to infinity.