The Pros and Cons of Being Goal-Oriented

I'm extremely Type A -- if you didn't already know that. I thrive on lists and schedules and calendars and planning ahead. I can't function like a normal human being any other way. Matt jokes that sometimes I get so crazy about that I'll ask him what he's planning to wear on Christmas in June. Obviously he doesn't know what he's going to be wearing in 6 months! Probably nobody needs to plan that far. 

I try to make myself take a chill pill and be a little spontaneous sometimes, but knowing myself, I recognize that I am a better version of myself when I have a plan. 

And for me, step 1 of having a plan is having a direction or end goal. 

Generally, I'd say that America considers being "goal-oriented" a positive thing. It's one of those words that career counselors want you to work into your cover letter or resume because companies want that. And it's true. Companies do want people to be goal-oriented. Driven people usually perform better and faster than people who are just there to collect a paycheck. I think my drive makes me who I am. And my drive, not my natural intelligence, is what has gotten me this far in my life/career. But sometimes, I think it has some negative side effects. 

For instance-- My current running goal is to qualify for Boston at the NYC Marathon. That's a very specific and timely goal. On November 6th, 2016, I need to run sub-8min miles during the NYC Marathon. Great, cool, good goal. 

Here's the deal: I'm already stressing out that I don't know what my next goal is! The race is still 4+ months away and I'm already anxious about the fact that I don't know what I want to do next. Do I try to push my pace even faster on roads? Do I move to steep trails? Do I try to do the whole ultra thing? I DON'T KNOW!!

You see what I mean? In my mind, I know that it's kind of illogical for me to already be anxious about something so minute and far away. But I feel like I can't control it. 

Let me know if any of this rings true for you too.


  • Companies will like you
  • You get stuff done
  • People can count on you
  • You hit your goals
  • You continuously make improvements in your life
  • You inspire others to be better
  • You practice what you preach


  • You stress out about things that don't matter
  • You beat yourself up if you don't succeed in the timeframe that you gave yourself
  • You struggle to just live in the moment
  • You are probably overly competitive 
  • If you don't have a specific goal/direction, you struggle to make any forward progress and you feel like you're wasting time or failing
  • You obsess over metrics

As with anything, I suppose, too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing. Letting your drive control your life isn't super healthy, but lacking drive will get you nowhere. 

That being said, what do you think my next goal should be?? I'm leaning towards transitioning to trails.