When I think about my goals I can easily list off 5 or 6 that I am currently working on in my own life. So, needless to say, I was surprised when I realized that some people just float through life without ever setting any goals. A goal is different from a dream, you can dream of doing big things in life and still not be a goal oriented person. The difference between a goal and a dream is the action behind the goal. I remember being more of a dreamer when I was younger and made excuses for not taking action because I had a fear of failure. Well, I have news for you, if you never take action, that fear never goes away. You just spend the rest of your life letting that fear own you. I think most would agree, to try and fail is better than to never have tried at all.
So when I think about the many self-improvement and motivational books, articles, and speakers who have shared great knowledge of how to tackle and achieve goals there are a few bits that really stood out for me. First of all, I think a lot of people are more dreamers than doers when they are young, and for the same reason I was, fear. This fear is not just from a fear of failure though, the simple fact is, we don’t fully know and understand who we are yet. In more than one of the many books and articles I have studied it states, most people really do not come to a deeper understanding and comfort in their own skin until about the age of 40. I just turned 41 in December of last year and I would have to say I agree with this theory.
When we are young we go through different relationships and experiences, we change our majors multiple times or maybe completely drop out of college, and the whole time we are deciding what we like and don’t like. The more we learn, the more we understand what dreams are worthy of making into goals. Many of us make the mistake of starting out living other peoples dreams for us, we rush into marriage and having babies before asking ourselves if this is really something we are ready for, or we go to college to be a doctor or lawyer because that is what our parents want for us. Maybe you just graduate and take over the family business or go work at the local factory because that is what the generations before you did. Living out other peoples dreams becomes automatic and we sometimes forget we have a choice in the matter. I think this happened a lot more with those of us who lived before cell phones and social media because we were not fully aware of all of our options. We were environmentally conditioned to think and be a certain way and if we did think outside the box we were often made to feel bad about it. Now, it is a whole different ballgame!
My daughter just turned 18 this year and she is aware, overwhelmingly aware, of all of her options. The sky is the limit and she can go anywhere and be anything; and if she wants to learn more about a certain place, person or thing she can research it to exhaustion and decide if it is worth her time or not. Because let’s face it, when working towards a goal, time is of the essence. Prioritizing your time when going to school, working full time, and trying to make times for loved ones, exercise, and working on personal goals means that every minute counts. I have done my best to encourage my daughter to weigh her options and explore different paths and do not allow herself to get locked in to anyone else’s way of thinking. I think this can happen a lot with new high school graduates. They decide to go to the same college together with friends or a boyfriend/girlfriend, or some go straight into a job to earn money and those who don’t get the immediate job get tempted by the factory job because their friend has a car and spending money on the weekends. I see this thought process with a lot of kids in the small town where I grew up and currently in the town where my daughter is graduating. Do not allow yourself to get sucked in to the right now and end up stuck in a job you hate or a town you never intended to stay in. There is a whole world out there waiting for you to explore!
Understanding yourself should be your primary goal because once you learn yourself it opens the door to all other goals and opportunities. Do not float through life on auto-pilot living a life that does not bring you joy and fulfillment. Ask yourself what dreams you have that you can put action behind and make a plan to do it. Even if its just to get in better shape and you go for a 30 minute walk, three times a week after dinner then that went from a dream to a goal because you are now doing something about it. If you want to be a writer, I have always heard to be a good writer you have to read as much as you write, so if you want to be a good writer you need to be reading and/or writing something every. single. day. Decide what you like and don’t like and do not let another person’s opinions shape that decision. Being a goal-getter is a bit of a selfish process and that is okay. Once you start making time for those goals your life will begin to change for the better and those who support you and the life you love will stay and those who don’t will fade away. Goals are life changing and necessary for growth. If you are feeling stuck, unhappy or even down-right depressed then it is time to ask yourself what goals are you working toward right now? A life without goals is not living, it is simply just existing.
With love, health, happiness and a whole list of goals,