I’ve always loved looking at houses.

These days, everyone loves creeping on Zillow, but as a kid, I combed through the real estate section of the newspaper and was probably the only eight-year-old who knew what a “WBF” was. 

My search is a bit more realistic now as my boyfriend and I have been looking recently.

The other day I found the most amazing house. The location was central (close to our friends), the layout was open (perfect for parties) and the kitchen opened up to a beautiful deck (need I say more?). But my boyfriend didn’t care for it so much.

He reminded me of the downsides. There was only one bathroom, not much square footage, and the style was more shabby than chic.

“It would be the best hosting house ever though!” I said. 

His reply caught me completely off guard. 

“We have to host us first.”

He was right.

This reframing made me immediately rethink what I wanted in a house. I had gotten so caught up in my hosting dreams that I forgot the real reason to buy a house was not to achieve some Ina Garten fantasy.

It made me think: how often do we stray from our true goals without realizing it?

Maybe you want to be healthier, but get more focused on the scale than how you feel. Or maybe you want to read more, but end up picking books based on how quickly you can finish them.

The surprising part is just how easy it is to get off track this way. You decide to do more yoga to feel calmer and end up stressed out in traffic trying to squeeze in one more class. 

Goals are great, but when we stray from our true intentions, we end up chasing dreams that won’t make us any happier in the end. This is fundamental to a “better without pressure” approach to personal growth–you have to stay clear on what you want so the rest doesn’t sweep you away.

As for me, I had to let go of the house. But I’m at least more prepared to see the right one when it comes.

To being better without picking a car for the cupholders,

P.S. Wood-burning fireplace, but of course.