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Goal Shaming- A Concept

Many of us have felt ashamed or sense of guilt after telling or sharing goals with someone. We think a lot before sharing our goals and motives with others to escape being shamed, which you or they bring. This unexplainable kind of mixed feeling is called ‘Goal Shaming’.


We are surrounded by motivation gurus, goal-setters, goal achievers, and successful people in authentic and digital parts of our lives. From childhood times, where relatives used to nag us for not being up to the mark, parents telling us to set goals in life, to adulthood where our bosses, colleagues, and people around us in the digital world continue the same. We feel pressured to be goal-oriented and successful.


Failing to achieve a goal, even if it’s a part of daily routine to something big today feels like you have done something wrong. The aftermath of this is much worse. We feel shameful about this in our minds, and other people make us realize it in some other way intentionally, or unintentionally making us feel disgusted about ourselves.


Only a few successful people show and encourage the other side of being on top i.e., facing failures and normalizing that. Goal shaming is similar to fat-shaming and body shaming. The only difference is that goal shaming is about any goal you prioritize and value in your life. This sense of shaming can be caused by internal or external factors.


Psychology studies say that when we complete a goal, we feel a sense of satisfaction and if not, then we lose the sense of trusting ourselves. Another one says that we get motivated and inspired to set and complete goals when surrounded by successful and strong-willed people. We tend to get influenced positively.


But psychology also says that when you put the effort in achieving something, even if you fail, you feel satisfied for trying your best and we do feel unnecessary pressure and a sense of shame and insecurity when we are around super productive and successful people around us too much. Social media life is very much fake, be it couple goals or fitness goals. We mostly see the brighter and happier side of it, and it makes every content related to goals, dreams, and success on social media very unrealistic.


Internal factors of goal shaming come from insecurities, trauma, unsolved and unhealed internal wounds, personal perspective, mentality, opinions, and personal influences of our ow which come from within. External factors like people and ambience play a crucial role too. Views of people don’t matter in general, but the opinions of people who matter to us do affect us in direct and indirect ways.


For example, a student whose goal was to enter into the medical field was not able to accomplish it due to certain factors like he got hospitalized on the day of exams or maybe he was demotivated and depressed internally. Those factors get under the surface, and the only thing people see that the student failed to achieve that particular goal.


People who matter to that student, like their parents, siblings, relative, partner, or someone they adore and respect, may say or do something intentionally or unintentionally, and it would lead to students feeling ‘goal shamed’.


For instance, their parents say that ‘I wish you would’ve achieved that’, ‘I wished to see you in a lab coat in a lab studying, or their favourite person whom that student got inspired to set their medical goal said ‘What inspired you that you studied for this field when you failed to accomplished it. What a wrong decision.''


This type of external ‘goal shaming’ will lead that student goes through various hurt and sufferings internally. That student might lose motivation and confidence to do anything. They might feel they’re not good enough, or they should give up on that.


Most of the time, goal shaming is done intentionally by others as a part of mockery and roasting. But from a deeper perspective, they do it to make themselves feel good because they sucked at their life goals too at some point in time. It's more of people’s issues that make them spill dirty mud on others.


Fitness freaks tend to be goal-shamed a lot. The choices they make in their daily lives, whether it's their food diet or waking up early in the morning, are goal-shamed a lot in very twisted ways. Majority of people whose goal is to sustain a healthy life or earn an aesthetic body for themselves give up in the first place because of procrastination and goal shaming.


Goal shaming can be a combination of various dirty and wicked kinds of stuff like; women who are into fitness and gym experience a twisted level of goal shame in which sexism, demotivation, sadism, discrimination, and hurtful insults pile up together.


Sayings like ‘don’t get bulked up like men, okay?’, ‘Would you like to grab some cheesy pizza as other girls do?’, ‘Are you sure you like gym and exercises?’, ‘You barely walk out of the house, how will you manage to lift heavy weights, my dear?’, ‘Hey just take one bite, you are looking great already. Just take today off, and you will come across many more comments on people's fitness goals which are literal ways of ‘goal shaming’.


Not everyone plans to ‘dream big and chase dreams’. Some people are still figuring out what to do, many others do not feel like doing anything extravagant and would prefer to stay among the ordinary league. Some people are still giving up on one goal to create another, and others are trying to experiment with new goals of life, which may fail.


It’s okay and valid. Your goals don’t define your entire life. Your goals are yours, and you are the one in charge of it. Your decisions, life choices, situations, and efforts matter irrespective of the objective being complete or incomplete. You are you, so do your goals.


You can prevent and reduce goal shaming in and around you by normalizing your goals, being deaf to negative opinions, welcoming feedbacks and advice from people no matter how bitter that pill is, and encourage yourself to brace yourself more.


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