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I’m Not a Goal-Oriented Person

Executive Summary

Figuring out how to accomplish your dreams doesn’t have to stay a mystery. Through focus and planning, you can engage in goal setting to bring your ideas to reality.

  • As a naturally goal-oriented person, Rachel Hollis was shocked to find out that many people don’t understand that it’s OK not only to dream but to take the time that’s needed to focus on personal growth.
  • You may not consider yourself to be a goal-oriented person, but if you want to succeed in life, you must become one.
  • To be who you want to be, you’ve got to take the time to create goals and adopt the daily habits you need to reach them.

My instinct is that the majority of the women who pick up this book [Girl, Stop Apologizing] are goal diggers. Not gold diggers—goal diggers. Meaning, you have a goal or a dream that’s been on your heart and you want some advice or encouragement to propel you forward toward personal growth.

But chances are, amongst the crowd are also women who are curious or wondering or maybe just fans of my YouTube channel who aren’t really sure how this whole goal thing is going to work for them, because, well, they’re just not a goal-oriented kind of gal. They’ve decided that it’s simply their genetic makeup; some people are into that whole “personal growth thing” and some people aren’t. These people may even wish they were that kind of person but don’t have a lot of hope for it, because “that’s just not the way I’m wired.”

The thing is, I totally understand why you’d think that. I mean, obviously, if you didn’t come into the world already having mastered something, it was just never meant to be yours. Walking, speaking, eating solid foods without choking to death, driving a car, spelling, using a computer—all of that was just naturally a part of “who you were” from birth, right? No. Don’t be dumb! You learned those skills just like you learned a million other things.


I’m not arguing that you aren’t currently a goal-oriented person, because perception is reality and if you believe it’s true then it absolutely is. What I’m arguing is that you’re missing a word in the sentence. You’re not a goal-oriented person yet. Finding your goal, focusing in on it, and learning to work to get closer to it every day is possible for anyone. Finding your goal takes some soul-searching and some clarity, but the other two?

Having focus and being productive enough to get closer to where you want to go? Those are just habits. If you don’t already have them, it’s only because you haven’t developed them yet. Not because they’ll never be yours. Dreams are things you hope for, for your life. Dreams are the things that occur to you as you go about your day.

rachel hollis quote

Things like:

  • I wish I didn’t feel so tired all the time.
  • Wouldn’t it be great to get into shape?
  • …I’d love to be debt-free.
  • …I wish we could take a luxury vacation this summer.
  • …I wish we didn’t have to live paycheck to paycheck.
  • Maybe I could start a side business.

Because we all come from different places and backgrounds, our dreams are as unique and varied as our hairstyles.

Everyone has dreams for their life—everyone. Not everyone admits it to themselves or even considers their idle wishes a possibility, but every single person reading this book wants something. Those wishes you have? Those are dreams. But a dream and a goal are two different things entirely.

  • A goal is a dream with its work boots on.
  • A goal is a dream you’ve decided to make real.
  • A goal is a destination you’re working toward instead of an idea you’re only considering or hoping for.
rachel hollis quote


Hope is a beautiful thing and an incredibly valuable tool to help keep us motivated and inspired about the possibility for the future.

But let’s be very clear on this point: hope is not a strategy. Simply hoping that life will get better, that you’ll get better, that you’ll suddenly develop focus and motivation when you’re not taking any active steps to make that a reality, is worthless. You’ve got to plan for your success. You’ve got to be intentional, and you’ve got to decide right now that you can be whoever you want to be and achieve whatever you want to achieve. You’ve got to believe it. You’ve got to believe in yourself and believe that you’re capable of making changes to become whatever kind of person you want to be.

As you read through this book [Girl, Stop Apologizing], as you’re trying to figure out the person you want to be, remember the journey starts with the goal. It starts with finding the direction you want to go in and then figuring out how to build the habits that will get you there.


Truly one of the best moments of my career in the last five years was a phone call I had with a member of our community. This group is made up of millions of women all over the world (and a few good men) who hang out with us on social media. We were on with one of our members, asking her about her experience attending our first conference. The very first year we put on the Rise conference, we truly had no idea what we were doing. I only knew that I wanted to create an opportunity for women to come together and hear wisdom and ideas that would give them the tools to change their lives, while also providing an opportunity for them to hang out with a community of like-minded women. So we were on a call with one of the women who was brave enough to come to our first event to hear about her experience. On the call this woman mentioned sheepishly that she only went to the conference because she was hoping I would sign her copies of my fiction books. She’d never focused on personal growth before.

“I never knew I could have a goal,” she told us. “I’m a mom and a wife, and I never thought about focusing in on something just for me.”

To be totally honest, I was stunned by this revelation. Stunned because, well, I am a very goal-oriented person (as if you couldn’t tell) and it had honestly never occurred to me that not everyone was. Oh, sure, I get that not everybody leaps out of bed at 5:00 a.m. like a jack-in-the-box as I do, but I just assumed that everybody was always working toward something. And the fact that someone could come to one of our events and leave understanding that she as a woman had value for herself, not for what she could provide to other people—not for her kids, not for her husband, not for her mom, but for herself—was eye-opening to me.

She discovered that she was allowed to have a dream and a desire and a goal, and, holy crap, that was amazing, and it made me so proud of our company. But it also served as a lesson to me and made me understand that there are those of you who don’t allow yourselves a goal or even a dream. It makes my heart ache. Not because I’m overdramatic (though I am that most definitely) but because growth is happiness. Truly. Having something to work toward gives us purpose. Achieving new milestones, even little ones, gives us a sense of accomplishment and pride.


All living organisms, relationships, and businesses are either growing or they’re dying. Period. If you find yourself going through life without anything to work toward or aim for, it’s no wonder that you feel like your life is living you instead of the other way around. I don’t care if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a stay-at-home mom—you’ve got to have a goal. It can be a personal goal you set for yourself to get in shape or save money or own a home or build a business or save your marriage. It can be anything at all. Just know that you’re supposed to have one, and even if you’ve never been able to focus in on one before, you can develop the habit and you can become the kind of person who is, well, any damn thing she wants to be.

Excerpted with permission from Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals by Rachel Hollis, copyright Rachel Hollis.

Bring It Home

Have you ever gotten to the end of the year and wondered how you got there, and what in the world happened to the last 12 months? You had such big dreams, but somehow you never quite reached them. Or, maybe you turned those dreams into reality by creating goals through focused and intentional daily habits. Comment below with a daily habit you can’t live without when it comes to goal setting and goal crushing, or one you know you need to adopt if you want to reach them. ~ HarperCollins Leadership Essentials

Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis is a #1 New York Times best-selling author of Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing, a TV personality, top motivational speaker, top podcast host, CCO of the company she founded, and mother of four.

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