Why I stopped (bullet)journalling and goal setting

Deep ✨, Lifestyle πŸƒπŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

I know, I know. I’ve been the biggest advocate of journalling and goal setting since the start of my blog. And it truly worked for me and the phase of life I was in. I reached 90% of all my goals without too much effort and completely changed my life and mindset around. But other seasons have come, and journalling became harder and harder. It actually completely died on me. And that’s fine.

I need to do better

Because a large part of the reason why I wanted to reflect and set goals in the past few months came from a negative place. It hasn’t always been this way – my bullet journal used to be a tool living in that sweet spot between being completely happy with who you are, while acknowledging that there are things to do better. But it became more and more negative the longer I reflected and set goals. It became negative. It started coming from a mindset of ‘I’m not good enough so I have to be better’ and ‘I’m not developing unless I set goals’.

So the goals became routine, reaching them became boring, and not reaching them started to feel like utter failure. I can’t really tell why it lost its magic, and I hate to say it but the only thing I can come up with is this: I learned the trick, the trick became old, it lost its sparkle – so I started seeing right through it.

See, I once was addicted to the feeling I got when I worked on goals and reached them. I was high on the monthly reflections, seeing what I did better than before, checking off the boxes I set. But like any addiction you get used to the feeling, and you start to need more in order to be satisfied. For me that looked like more goals, higher goals, in less time.

But that doesn’t really work: life also happens, and there is only so much effort you can put in. Not any goal is reachable if you set the bar too high. And I started getting either unfulfilled, or really, really bored. And on top of that I lost the ability to dream: if it was not a goal I was actually going to work towards, it didn’t deserve to be in my mind. Where’s the fun in that?

The magic lost

Because you see, that sweet spot of loving who you are, but continuously setting goals to be better only really works long term for people who aren’t smart enough to really self-reflect. No offense there, but the smart guy honestly just watches himself from a distance: writing in his bullet journal day by day, trying to stay in the sweet spot and thinking – what the hell am I doing there? And what am I going to do there the rest of my life? Setting bigger and bigger goals until I break OR become a god?

The point is, you can’t because the dopamine wears off. You remember the good feeling you had when you reached your first 10 to 50 goals, but then it just becomes repetitional. You trick yourself into thinking that it feels good but it doesn’t anymore. Because again, the smart guy knows that feelings are just feelings. The smart guy knows that the feeling you learned to enforce was just chemicals in the brain, and now the chemicals ran out.

So they know that goal-reaching is never exponential. Honestly, it can’t be. The line of life is pretty flat or maybe a little bit linear, with some ups and downs sure, but there is no ‘superhuman’ state we can accomplish. And we don’t have to. Because the normal functioning human being already learns and teaches themself, already develops and continuously grows as a person. That’s part of being human.

The human condition

And I’m not saying I don’t want to dream, reach for things or accomplish goals. We need to have goals as humans, that’s part of our biology (more on that here). I’m just saying I don’t need a journal or morning routine for that anymore. I’m tired of treating myself and my life as a program or machine that needs to perform constantly, and therefore needs monthly check-ups or upgrades. So I think I’m going to get rid of the ‘super’ and just be -human for a while.

The magic is not in the feeling of reaching goals. The magic is not the dopamine I got from trying to better than anyone else, or outperforming myself. The magic was in life itself and being human all along. Or as RuPaul says:

Smart or sensitive people can get bitter when they find out that nothing is what it seems, when things lose their magic. Yes, life is an illusion, but don’t stay there – don’t play along. There’s a step beyond it. Life is an illusion – so let’s party.

Don’t take yourself so seriously. I’m learning to just be – and dream. Gosh, I missed just dreaming.

xx Coco