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Achieving Goals - can we get to specific?

Joseph Clough

I received a great question about setting goals and outcomes and I think it’s a question that many can struggle with, in this context it was about attracting a partner/soul mate but it also applies to setting any goals... Can we get too specific?

Too controlled even obsessed over achieving something?

So here is the question and I posted my answer below it:

“With getting specific, don't we run the risk of ruling out and missing out? Especially with getting so specific that we choose to try to attract a specific person? EG. I used to want someone more intelligent than me, or at least that is what I thought I wanted, actually it was someone open. So I missed out by having a specific criteria which I ruled people out with using my own perception and judgement of intelligence. Where it’s more about the dynamic rather than the person it seems to keep the options more open.

My response...listen up it could really help you in achieving any goal:

I love being specific, I want to consciously get clear on my desires in health/relationships/career etc. I've gone crazy enough to even do a 25yr plan....but then I hear some businesses have 200 ...year plans!

I have achieved many of my goals within my plan way ahead of time thanks to being clear, but I'm not obsessed with those desires as I know everything is perfect with or without those desires, I even let go of the attachment to them, even forget them knowing I'm in alignment to them consciously and unconsciously and I trust all will be well.

My desires have also changed as I grow too, so letting go of the attachment helps with that as does being open to change. I have my ideals in relationships, they are specific as I know what I want, but they are not all conditions that must be met, some are like trust and honesty but not all, the more clear I am ironically I believe we can be more open to them.

I suggest be clear, be specific, take action, let go, be open to all the potentials, be in this moment and thrive in it....


Question: What do you mean by consciously get clear on desires? The word desire is standing out like a flashing beacon, it’s an area which I don't think any self help thing addresses, how to become conscious of desire. It seems to be assumed that people just have it. If it is answered anywhere, I filter it out and can't see it.

By desire, I personally mean the things that we want.

The trusty (or not so trusty) Wikipedia says: Desire is a sense of longing for a person or object or hoping for an outcome. Desire is the fire that sets action aflame. The same sense is expressed by emotions such as "craving" or "hankering". When a person desires something or someone, their sense of longing is excited by the enjoyment or the thought of the item or person, and they want to take actions to obtain their goal.

I think ultimately we know what we desire from the people we want in our life, the career we want, the material things we wish and the emotional harmony we desire.

Although external things do not always equal the outcome of the desiring something, but if you think about something you wish to have in your life you will most probably have an image in your mind of how you see it, maybe it is a physical thing and you within the image or maybe its a symbol.

When you think of that, step inside that image/feeling/sound and ask the question “for what purpose/intention do I want this?” keep repeating and you will get a higher emotional feeling, usually happiness, security, peace etc.

By doing this we get clear on what we want and we go beyond the realms of the physical. It’s like seeing the big picture of the how’s, the whys, what’s and the what ifs?

This way we can see if our desire is going to fulfil us or even what will happen should we get it...the positive and even maybe the negative.

What is the lack of desire? An empty feeling? An sense of no movement, need or want? Or even satisfaction that all is well. So to me desire is something that we want, something that motivates us and gives us an emotion to get it. If you have ever had something you wished to achieve or pursue what was the end feeling? More often than or not if it helped us we feel a sense of satisfaction or maybe our attention goes to something else as the void has been filled and we seek out more states of fulfilment emotionally and physically/internally and externally.

Ultimately desire is a subjective thought, feeling that if strong enough empowers us to do something to attain whatever it is we desire.

For some however maybe desire just isn’t there, they have what they need and other things just compliment the feeling of peace, happiness and love.

Some sectors even believe desire to be something bad or not helpful.

Socrates argues that individual desires must be postponed in the name of the higher ideal.

Within the teachings of Buddhism, craving is thought to be the cause of all suffering. By eliminating craving, a person can attain ultimate happiness, or Nirvana. While on the path to liberation, a practitioner is advised to "generate desire" for skillful ends.

This maybe true, as if you are not desiring you must be in harmony, but I would never want people to feel guilty of desiring as its part of human nature, it can be signal that something is not right in our life so we desire something of great value or harmony.

The more we know what we want, what we do not want, even become conscious of thing what will happen should we get those ‘thing’s we desire, especially if the thing we wish can lead to something’s being negative. For example, many children want to be a celebrity, they see all the money, the freedom, the global love for them, but that’s not the whole picture, as the negative can be really lack of freedom and privacy, people wanting you to fall and fail and even losing friends, partners or gaining so called friends and partners just wanting to claim your fame, money and power.

When we are consciously clear on our desires, wants and needs, and also the potential negatives we can become truly aligned with that desire.

I believe deep down we know what we want, whether it’s physical or emotional, internally or externally, we just have to shine a light on it, put your awareness to the now and ask what do I desire? Put yourself in the future and ask what do I desire from the future?

With love,


With love,