Emotional Intelligence, Goal Setting, Productivity, Team Building, Well-being

Are your goals damaging your well-being?

“When your sense of self and happiness comes from within and isn’t a roller coaster ride dependent on others or circumstances, you approach life differently.” – Kamal Ravikant

‘What are your goals for this year?’ That was the question that was asked in a team meeting I was asked to be a part of. As I listened to each member explain their goal I wondered if the goals were Intrinsic or Extrinsic.

Intrinsic comes from your inner self and is something that is deeply fulfilling for you as a person.  Extrinsic is something that comes from the outside, something that you should do in order to be able to achieve something or get something. I’d like to look at the way that Intrinsic and Extrinsic goals can have an effect on your well-being.

  • Intrinsic motivation and intrinsic goals help you with your personal growth.
  • They are also linked to emotional intimacy of some sort. Better relatedness. Better relationships.
  • They also include some sort of community contribution. Be that a community of your personal life or your work life.
  • Extrinsic motivation and goals are more about fame or acceptance (I need people to like me).
  • They come from “look at me”, “look how great I am” or “look at how attractive I am”.
  • Or financial success so you can have a bunch of stuff, so you can own more material things.

Scientific studies show that people who have intrinsic motivation tend to keep their motivation over time, they are more durable because they are driven by dopamine which helps us get up and go, helps us be curious and open to new things.

Extrinsic is more the outer motivation of a ‘should’. It’s something you ‘ought’ to do ‘must’ do, ‘should’ do and it actually fluctuates in a way, that when you achieve your goal, it can drop your motivation completely so your motivation just disappears.  It’s driven by adrenaline.  It’s like a fear of not achieving so the best you’re going to get if you achieve your goal is feeling a sense of relief rather than feeling necessarily a sense of achievement.

In all the studies that have been done, intrinsic is associated with increased well-being where extrinsic is associated with decreased well-being.  My advice to the team was to think very carefully especially over the next few months and maybe even the next twelve months:  ‘What are you driven by?’ ‘Are your goals Intrinsic or Extrinsic?’.

Colin Noyes

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