Are Your Passions Preventing You From Reaching Your Big Goals?

big goals

Do you have a thing you love to do – something you are passionate about? Time seems to fly when you spend time on these activities (for example a hobby) and you feel happy and content with yourself.

However, sometimes a certain passion (or a goal related to the passion) can prevent you from achieving even bigger goals; the ones that could change your life forever.

You may be thinking, “Well … shouldn’t I be doing what I’m passionate about?” and my answer is “yes”. But, at the same time you have to stop for a minute and take a good look at your passion – is it helping you to get closer or farther from your bigger goals?

Sometimes you just have to give up – or at least slow down

Although I hate giving up, and I don’t want you to give up either, sometimes you just have to know when to stop doing something. This is especially true in these situations:

1. Something bigger is on the radar

Let me tell you an example from my own life. I’m very passionate about sports (I’m a marathoner/triathlete), I have a baby in the house, and I’m building my online business on the side.

As you can imagine, when there is a lot going on and I had to put on the brakes – on the sports.

Although I’m passionate about competing in marathons and triathlons, I had to set my athletic goals lower for the time being.

For instance, my original plan was to compete in my first IronMan distance triathlon this year, but I have postponed that goal for an additional year.

This is because of two reasons: I want to spend more time with my family and get my business up and running. For me this wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the only way to make more time for my family and my business.

2. You are overwhelmed and can’t have it all at once

Sometimes there is just so much that you want to achieve. Yet, you can’t have it all – at least all at once.

The biggest issue is time – you may have great difficulties doing everything you want. Even if you try, you quickly realize that you are not able to focus on anything properly.

Rather than hustling with 10 different hobbies/projects/activities at once, you have to give up on certain ones so that you are not totally overwhelmed.

This also solves time problems and sets priorities straight; you have more time to focus on those projects that have the biggest impact in your life.

3. Your own well-being may be at risk

This point is closely related to previous point. When you have too much going on at the same time, not only are you struggling with your time, but your own well-being also.

No matter how fun and interesting things may be right now, doing too much at once is more likely to stress you out than make you happy and alive.

It’s time to prioritize your goals

If you are not making good progress on reaching that big goal of yours, ask yourself, “Am I focusing 100% on my goal?” or, “Am I doing everything I can to reach my goal?” or, “How am I spending my day, so that I have more time to focus on my goal?”

Take your time and answer these questions. The answers may open up your eyes to understand that maybe you have to do something radical to reach that goal. For example, this could be decreasing the time you spend doing your favorite hobby.

Also, it is important to understand that reaching your big goal might have long-term, life-changing effects while your other activities may not.

For instance, if you love knitting but you would like to turn it into a successful business, you have to focus on the business side of things in place of your knitting time.

Although knitting may bring you joy and excitement when you do it, creating your own thriving knitting business has a much bigger, long-term effect on your life and it could bring you even more enjoyment and fun.

Develop proper mindsets before giving up

Here is the deal: when you give up one of your passions (or decide to spend less time with it), you are opening new doors to greater possibilities. In our previous example, you are creating something big in your life (in the form of a business) by giving up on something else (your knitting time).

Also, giving up something doesn’t have to be permanent. You just slow down certain activities temporarily until you have reached that bigger goal of yours.

Finally, times change and your interests change too.

For instance, just couple of years ago I was very excited about software development and I had big plans for it. However, at some point my interest just dried out and I realized that being a programmer wasn’t my thing after all.

Was I sad of giving up on this situation? No I wasn’t. I just realized that it was time to move on to something else and my time as a software developer gave me many valuable experiences that I now appreciate.

It’s your turn now: Did you have a situation when you had to give up one of your passions or goals for something bigger? Please share your experiences on the comments area.

Photo by Eirik Newth

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33 thoughts on “Are Your Passions Preventing You From Reaching Your Big Goals?”

  1. A few years back I was complaining to my Mom that I never get time to paint. She reminded me that there was a time for everything… and I realised she was right. Even if I only get to paint when I am in my sixties (or even my seventies – like my Dad who now spends time painting), I will get to it when the time is right……

    Thanks for your mail – it reminded me that there is a time for everything.

    1. That is so true, Kirsten.
      “Ripeness is all,” is the way Shakespeare put it in King Lear. And of course we’re all familiar with Ecclesiastes (if only via The Byrds), “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” When you find the same wisdom being repeated throughout the ages, you’ve got to figure there must be something to it. Patience is a virtue we would all do well to cultivate.

  2. So true Timo. We have to be really careful when it comes to or well-being. Nothing is so important to us than our physical health and vitality. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I’ve been fortunate enough to take a break recently from office life. Initially, I had a list of four areas to focus on: family, writing/blogging, garden renovation and photography. I pretty quickly scaled back the photography as to do it justice would mean squeezing the others. The decision was based on what I felt I could sensibly put back and what felt the least important at the time.

    1. Peter,

      True. We have to make those decisions based on what feels the best at the time.

      Sometimes making those decisions requires a lot of effort, but almost always we tend to make the right ones anyway.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  4. This article is so cool… it reminded me this.. Prioritizing it makes my life easier … sometimes i get confused…. thanks for sharing, Olga

  5. Great article Timo! Reminds me of my life right now, mandarin classes, personal training at the gym, heavy workload, spending time with family & volunteering at an association for the benefit of stray cats. Somewhere in the back of my mind I love music & want to learn the guitar as well. It’s too much isn’t it? *sigh* But I have realised that I had to let a few things go even though I love all of the above. There will be time to catch up on it later hopefully. I actually want to operate a cat-boarding & pet accessories business..the closest thing to that goal would be the volunteering & getting to know more cat people I suppose :) Anyway, thanks for the article..it’s a great read & I will take things a day at a time :)

    1. Thank you Soraya!

      Sure, you have to make big changes at times. And when you know that you are passionate about many things, giving up on any of those things is very hard.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  6. Playing playstation is a big passion of mine as is reading blogs (such as this one).

    I think I could definitely allocate more time to writing and building my online businesses than I spend reading and playing games.

    1. Ryan,

      I have figured out this situation like this: If I now keep building my blog on consistent basis, I have more time for the fun stuff in the future :)

      Remembering that certain phases in your life are only temporary, will help you to let go of something.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  7. Hi Timo,
    Priorities & timing are key factors. Taking time out to assess/re assess one’s priorities is important…often we can get caught up in the chase & lose sight of what’s realistic at that time. Thankyou.
    be good to yourself
    David

  8. Hi Timo,

    A pertinent and timely post. I have just started a blog, and as you and other bloggers probably know, it is very time consuming. I also have a full time job, I write music and play in a band, I like to take care of and spend time with my kids, I love movies and to read, there is the stuff that needs doing to the house, exercise, yoga, meditation, etc, etc

    The list will always be endless. Right now I do need to get on to paper all of the things that I have to / want to / would love to do and prioritise. And yes, some things are going to have to be postponed. I have already cut back on a big chunk of my movie time.

    One thing I will say from the experience of trying to do too much is that health and making quality time for your loved ones is imperative. If any of these two are suffering then whatever progress you think you are making can be empty and short lived so the fun goes out of it. And if life doesn’t have some fun, that is a signal that something is out of balance.

    1. Keith,

      Thank you!

      You are right. Health and spending time with your family or friends are the most important things you can do. They give you both physical and mental fitness too :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  9. Really enjoyed this article. This is where I am right now. Prioritizing is key. I’ve learned that some things need to get put aside for the greater good…even if I love doing those things. Again, great read.

  10. I’m sorry, I just don’t agree. If you really have a passion, you should be able to make time for it. If your job and your family don’t allow you to paint (hello Kirsten ;-) I think there is something definetely wrong. Or it’s not a passion. I wouldn’t want to wait to paint until I’m seventy or so. Who knows if I’ll ever get there? The time will never be right, right is NOW.

    1. Hi Christine!

      I think it all depends of your situation.

      If you have multiple passions, there is just a limit on how much time you can dedicate for each one on daily basis.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  11. Timo, this is great and horrible all at the same time.

    The mirror is on me and usually, I would agree with Christine’s point – the time is NOW!

    But…life is crazy and MONEY is a priority…

    So my dilemma I am facing – As each day passes and more amazing business opportunities present themselves, I am wondering if I really have time to train for my Triathlons this summer. Would it be worth it to compete knowing I haven’t put in the time needed to place?

    I could just focus on running, since that is the easiest to squeeze in.

    Oh, so many things to think about….
    Thanks

    1. Selena,

      I understand you. In fact, I made a similar decision myself. So, instead of doing a lot of triathlons, I decided to focus on running this year.

      However, I’m doing one triathlon myself. Unless you are training for full-distance races, you can definitely race on triathlons this summer (sprints, Olympic distance). It is definitely doable!

      Cheers,
      Timo

  12. I do my best to align my passions and my goals. For instance, my two biggest passions are writing and music. One major goal I have is to create a residual income through book sales. Passion and goals meet. Another overriding passion is to help others. My books are stories about love, forgiveness, justice mercy, non judgement. The first book “A Train Called Forgiveness” is based on reality and follows a young man who had been the child victim in a cult on his journey through healing. My goal is to help others learn to forgive their greatest enemies. Learn more at http://www.danerickson.net

  13. I totally enjoyed this post. Great work Timo!

    This reminds me of the Seth Godin saying, I’m pretty sure it was him – Winners quit fast

    I think we try to push so many things on ourselves that we never really know when to balance. We continue to deteriorate simply for the sake of moving forward. You’re absolutely right though, most of the time it’s simply balancing what you want to do and allocating the proper amount of time.

    In the morning I run a couple times a week and switch off between doing the creative work for my website. Work during the day, and in the evening I have my video chats and other work for the site. Balancing what works and what doesn’t.

    Thanks so much for this great reminder.

    1. Hi James, thank you!

      It is sometimes difficult to find a balance for sure. There are so many great things in our lives that we like to be part of – yet we can’t push forward 100% with each one of them (at least not at the same time).

      I think that there is a time for everything and the way you focus on your passions will change – dependent of the moment in your life.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  14. Man, I think I have the opposite problem from the one discussed in this article. I think I need to set aside my big goals for my passions. I don’t even know what my passions are, I spend so much of my time trying to make money online, working on my blog, working on my job, meditating, doing EFT(Emotional Freedom Technique). All of this to reach my big goals of becoming financially independent.
    I’m starting to think I need to get in touch with my passions to reach my big goals.

  15. This is an excellent post. I am fortunate enough to have married my passion and my professional goals together, which has allowed me to do what I love in most of my waking hours. However, I can’t say there haven’t been challenges. There have been times when I’ve had to scale back my workload in order to spend time with my family. Sometimes it’s just a constant juggling act. However, I agree – once it affects your health and well being, then it’s time to cut back.

    1. Steve,

      Thank you!

      I think that what you mentioned is a downside: when you are passionate about something, you tend to work a lot, thus that time is taken out of your family time.

      I have tried to solve this by setting boundaries and having an open communication with my family – when I work and when I’m available.

      Cheers,
      Timo

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