Why #goals might not be what they seem like

There’s one trend on everybody’s favourite platform for people stalking connecting with like-minded people that makes me cringe. Yes, we’re talking Instagram – endless source of post inspiration for me – and: #goals. In case you’re one of those who haven’t handed their lives over to an app 😉 [it’s too addictive]: #goals is a hashtag used to express admiration for physical attributes, material possessions or any part of another person’s life. Often found as #relationshipgoals [current uses: 1, 626,508 times], #bodygoals or even #lifegoals. It’s a phenomenon that gets me thinking about its influence on our self-worth as well as false asumptions made online.

Let’s pick one of the most popular and the first I stumbled upon months ago [or at least the first I noticed and intially inspired this post]: #relationshipgoals. Sure, the couples in those pictures looks perfect. Usually either dressed in designer clothes or hippie chic but always hugging, kissing, touching and seemingly forgetting the world around them. Only, you know, aware a picture is taken to be shared with countless viewers all over the world. That much for intimacy …

Just remember this before hashtagging #goals or getting lost in jealousy for others’ presumed perfect life: they’re showing their highlight reel. And not only that but a fraction of a second of their highlight reel. The seemingly perfect couple could have gotten into a fight later that day. The very next second that puppy looking all cute and innocent could have run off to do some damage like leaving a little unwanted ‘gift’ somewhere. If Instagram had existed at the time Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were dating they’d have likely been many people’s #relationshipgoals. Yet: later on separated in a messy break-up.

The #goals you’re admiring might not actually exist. The people embodying your goals might not have the lives they portray on social media. Even when somebody posts a million pictures of their day to day life: still not the full picture of their reality. Because there are 86.400 seconds in a day  and every picture captures only a single one of those. What happened right before or after the picture was taken? We don’t know.

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals. It’s only when tagging #goals makes you feel like the ugly duckling next to the Instagram swan. When it Strive for what is achievable in your own life and also notice how much you already have achieved. Grades in school, being a friend others value having in their life, : these aren’t goals as per Instagram’s statistic but these aren’t admirable goals as per Instagram’s statistic but achievements valued by real people in real life.

I’m 99 % positive the people who are many others’ #goals have struggles of their own. Have days of feeling blue. They might not feel they’d reached their personal goals yet. As Katherine recently stated so truly even having it all – whatever that might  in the particular case – doesn’t necessarily feel as good as it looks from the outside. Those who have it all can still feel lonely, lost in a sea of opportunities, wishes and insecurity about life.

While the lives of some people seem admirable to me, too, I can honestly say I don’t want to be anybody’s #goals. Much less many people’s. Because once you are public like – on Instagram or through a blog –  that you’re under a pressure to maintain a certain image of perfection. Have a bad day? Hide it. Breaking up with your long-term boyfriend and trying to  conceal the fact by simply not posting pictures with him for a while? Rest assured people will start gossiping.


I’m aware most of my readers have left their teenage times far behind and sure, some of those hashtagging #goals on others’ pictures of their flat abs, pittoresque homes and adorable children are probably meant in a joking way. But Instagram is [second] home to many impressionable young girls [and boys?] who might not be all that secure in their identities. What hashtaggin #goals does is not only showing admiration for somebody else’s life but in subtly voicing a feeling of mediocrity on the commenter’s part.Plus, envy for others’ lives isn’t reserved to Instagram or the times you hashtag #goals. Who hasn’t read blogs feeling another person had the perfect job/family/relationship/vacations?

Having goals and comparing is part of life and completely okay. Only not if it makes us feel lesser-than. At the end of the day, the people who are others’ #goals are humans, too. Like you and me. Perfect just the way we are.

Happiness-inducing today: Receiving a letter by a friend living far away.

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Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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What are your thoughts on the topic? Have you noticed the #goals phenomenon? Are you aware of it as bloggers?

12 thoughts on “Why #goals might not be what they seem like

  1. Ellie says:

    I love this post! I definitely am not too into Instagram, but even the few times I go on, I can see that every post is crowded with edits and is not real life. Honestly if I lived in that lighting all the time, my eyes would start to burn!
    Whenever I use the goals hashtag it’s either something funny (the last one I did was a bed with a table sewn in the top so you can eat in bed, genius!) or an athletic feat for charity or a great time. Those are things that I aspire to have/do, but I don’t put too much weight on them. I think I have a sliding scale of goals. Things I want to achieve, but will be just a satisfied with myself if I do not achieve them.

  2. katalysthealth says:

    I love how much depth and passion you put into each and every post girl. There really is no sheet to be pulled away with you – just honesty and truth. Preach it!!
    Im a big time instagram lover, but I am not as obsessed with it as I once was. I really use it for myself, to scroll through my OWN feed and see how far Ive come. Its my own picture diary 😉

  3. Kate Bennett says:

    Agree 100% I think it’s okay sometimes and like most things isn’t black & white. However, we as a society need to get away from the picturesque lifestyle as a #goal. We are more real than that.

  4. Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me says:

    This is why I am so adamant about being authentic and raw with my own blog. I want to show when I am not doing well, and I also want to celebrate the exciting times. It’s important to not come across fake. Thats huge for me. I’ve had to unfollow so many people because of this very option.

  5. GiGi Eats Celebrities says:

    The thing is, no one is 100% perfect. No situation is 100% perfect. We see pictures/images and read things that make us visualize what perfect is in our eyes and then we get envious and think “everything (negative) happens to me” when in reality, the images/text you see/read…. Is just a tiny portion of the truth. Every couple has their issues. Every person who has found success in their job has had terrible days where they wanted to quit.

    I like to tell it like it is. Sugar-coating doesn’t help anyone… In fact, sugar KILLS! LMFAO!

  6. Jade says:

    I think it’s easier with the whole #goals thing to just feel like you’re failing and focus on what you don’t have instead of taking the steps to get what you want. It’s nice to set goals but we need to remember to go after them.

  7. Beauty in Christ (@Emily11949309) says:

    What are your thoughts on the topic?

    I think goals can be good, but you can’t set your heart totally on them, because for me, I never know where God might direct my steps. Yet, the more I trust Him, the more I see how exciting the adventure is. Did I think I would be where I’m at now after highschool? Not at all, but I love it!

  8. SuzLyfe says:

    Life is about the good, the bad, the ugly. My instagram is about the reality of life: the happiness, the sadface moments, but ultimately trying to find the perspective. When you only show these perfectly in love moments, you lose the perspective.

  9. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves says:

    This is so important. Thank you for this post! It is incredibly easy to compare your current state to someone else’s prime state on social media. It also reminds me that being open about my struggles and bad days on the blog is important. Sometimes we think that no one wants to hear about our problems, but sharing them can help us all recognize life’s messiness in solidarity ♥︎

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