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Achievable Goals vs. Perpetual Growth

The difference and the benefits of both

In the journey of self-development, we often find ourselves setting goals and targets to become better versions of ourselves. 

These goals can range from personal health and fitness objectives to career aspirations to mindset and emotional well-being. 

While some goals are objectively achievable and come with a tangible sense of satisfaction upon completion, there are others that remain a perpetual work in progress. 

Let’s explore the difference.

The Achievable Goals

Achievable goals are the milestones that, once met, offer a distinct sense of accomplishment. 

These can be short-term or long-term objectives that we set to improve ourselves in specific areas of our lives. 

Whether it's losing weight, landing a dream job, or completing a marathon, these goals have clear endpoints. 

The satisfaction that comes with achieving such goals is often undeniable and gratifying. 

In September, I walked 62 miles in two days. It felt great to cover such a big distance under my own steam. 

Tangible Results: Achievable goals provide concrete results that can be measured, evaluated, and celebrated. 

Crossing these milestones is a way of acknowledging progress in your journey.

Boost in Confidence: Successfully achieving goals can significantly boost one's self-confidence and motivation. 

It proves that you can set your mind to something and accomplish it.

Sense of Closure: There is a unique satisfaction in setting a target, working diligently toward it, and finally crossing the finish line. 

It's like crossing items off your to-do list; it offers a sense of closure.

The Perpetual Goals

On the other hand, there are goals that should never be viewed as finite. 

They are more about cultivating habits, virtues, and personal growth, which are ongoing processes. 

Take the example of kindness. If your goal is to become a kinder person, it's not something you can one day declare as 'achieved' and then stop working on. 

Kindness should be a perpetual target because personal growth is a lifelong journey. 

Atomic Habits by James Clear is the best book I’ve read on the subject. 

Conceptually, it’s very different from the concept of setting a goal and achieving it. 

Continuous Improvement: Personal growth goals are not about reaching a fixed endpoint but about the continuous improvement of yourself. 

They reflect a commitment to becoming the best version of yourself. 

It doesn’t need to be something groundbreaking, it can be as simple pairing 30 situps per day with the action of boiling the kettle to improve your core strength over time.  

This is the concept of ‘habit stacking’ presented by James Clear in Atomic Habits, where you pair a new habit (linked to a goal you’d like to work on) with something you already do every day. 

Adaptability: Life is dynamic, and as circumstances change, so too should your personal growth goals. 

By keeping these goals open-ended, you remain adaptable to new challenges and opportunities for self-improvement.

Joy in the Journey: The pursuit of personal growth can be a rewarding experience in and of itself. 

You learn, adapt, and grow, finding joy in the journey rather than just the destination. 

I’m certainly finding that in the build up to my row across the Atlantic in December 2025. 

Self-discipline, organisation, and communication skills are all areas I’ve made improvements in, despite still being two years away from the event. 

Balancing Act: A Mixture of Both. The key to a successful journey of self-development lies in striking a balance between achievable and perpetual goals. 

It's crucial to have a combination of both in your self-improvement plan.

Achievable goals provide structure and motivation. 

They serve as checkpoints along the way, allowing you to celebrate your progress and maintain a sense of direction.

Perpetual goals keep you humble and aware that there's always room for improvement. 

They encourage ongoing self-reflection and adaptation as you strive for personal growth.

In the pursuit of happiness and self-improvement, it's essential to recognise that some goals are best approached as achievable, while others should remain perpetual. 

Achievable goals offer satisfaction and tangible outcomes, while perpetual goals remind us that personal growth is an ongoing journey, not a destination. 

Finding the right balance between the two can lead to a more fulfilling and well-rounded self-development experience. 

Embrace both the joy of accomplishments and the humility of perpetual growth in your quest for personal betterment.

Thanks for reading.



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