You want to know why some people never achieve their goals? Or why, once they’ve reached their goal, they aren’t really happy there? It’s sometimes because they’ve chosen the wrong goal.

Sometimes people put a lot of time and effort into reaching someone else’s goal. They break their neck to get into medical school because of family pressure.

Or, they choose a corporate career because their spouse wants financial security, when what they want is to be a social worker.

If you are going to take on the work of achieving an important goal, you should choose a goal that expresses your deepest passion. You should choose a goal that makes you joyous.

There are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, achieving a challenging goal takes a lot of commitment. Change is scary and actively seeking change is complicated. People often put obstacles in their own way to sabotage their efforts to achieve a goal.

It’s not unusual to set up a plan to meet a goal, and then to find yourself procrastinating while you are working on it. You may get distracted doing tasks that don’t lead to your goal. You may simply put off doing tasks that do lead to your goals. But at any rate, your actions don’t match your supposed intentions.

Those kinds of things happen even when you are fully committed. Imagine the gap between your actions and your stated intentions when your heart isn’t really in it. Working towards a challenging goal when you are divided about it will be an ordeal. And probably not a success.

In order to achieve a goal and embrace it once you’re there, you need to be fully committed. You can’t have hidden doubts or be only lukewarm in your enthusiasm. You need to be able to focus all your energy on achieving your goal.

The second reason that you should choose a goal that makes you joyous is that you are cheating yourself if you don’t. Spending time and energy going after something that doesn’t bring you joy is a waste of your life. If you are going to work hard and dedicate yourself to a challenging goal, the outcome should be a gift to you, not to someone else.

If it takes you a little time and exploration to find the goal that will bring you joy, don’t worry. The first step of your goal-setting plan may be to determine what brings you joy. Your goal can come later.

But your goal isn’t worth fighting for if it isn’t a goal that makes you joyous.