Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Importance of Setting Goals In Life.

Do you ever start your car and take off into the distance without one clue of where you actually want to go?  Probably not. Sometimes you may want to go on a little drive just to catch some fresh air but although you may not have a specific destination in mind, you at least have some idea of the direction you would like to go in.

Life is somewhat like driving a car and requires planning in order to make it to where you really want to go. This is the purpose of goal setting. In life, you will find that those who fail to set goals and live life on a whim, often make it nowhere fast and end up with a sense of emptiness and despair. Why? Because metaphorically speaking, they're like a leaf that's been blown off of a tree, landing by chance in the most uncomfortable, undesirable situations. Have you ever wondered, "How did I end up like this?" Well, that is what happens when you finally decide to sit down and evaluate your life and where you once were. You realize that nothing turned out the way you expected them to but do not realize that it is simply because you lacked proper planning and goal setting. In essence, the wind had it's way with you!  

Oftentimes, our subconscious mind is the reason for this. We have belief systems stemming from childhood that we adopted from others about life that can either make us or break us. In my case, I held on to the thought that you shouldn't rely too much on planning because life is unpredictable and throws many curve balls at you that can hinder your goals, thus creating disappointment and unhappiness. This was the way my grandmother felt about things. She had experienced so many disappointments and wrongs that she lost hope in creating the future that she desired. She began living day to day, or shall I say, day to yesterday (dwelling on past hurts), stripping her of her happiness and passion about life. As someone who suffered from rheumatism (arthritis) and cancer on two separate occasions, I can think of many goals she could have set for herself to make life more satisfying and bearable such as losing excess weight or starting to eat better, etc. Instead, she sat day to day in her Lazy Boy watching Lifetime, feeling at odds with the rest of the world. It is quite understandable how people become so depressed about life that they give up trying but that often makes the situation only seem worse. Eventually, I began believing that planning made no sense and that life will give you whatever it wants to anyway. As I got older and more mature, I see that in order to have the life I truly want, I must begin to set things in motion myself. No one or nothing else will create it for me. This is why many of us are so unsatisfied and discontent in life and surprised that nothing turned out the way we wanted them to. Because we did not set goals for ourselves. Anything that we really want to achieve, must first be planned and proper measures must first be taken in order to achieve it.

It is equally important to set goals that are attainable. By doing this, you are more likely to achieve these goals and gain a sense of power over your life and build your self confidence. By setting goals that are nearly impossible to reach like "I want to be a rich by the time I hit 30", you are not only failing to specify exactly HOW you are going to reach this goal but also setting yourself up for great disappointment and sabotaging your self esteem. You will start to think that you are useless, a failure and that goal-setting is pointless. Start with an achievable one like "I want to save $1,000 in the next six months", that is if you have a reliable source of income, and stick to it. One goal links to another and so when you have done this, you create a new one. 

People who are successful usually never get that way by living with whatever comes their way. They had goals from an early age and aspire to improve upon them with time. Those who have college degrees did not just wake up one morning and say, "Oh! It's Wednesday? I think I'll go to college today!" No! They planned and envisioned it for quite some time. Like a pilot creates a flight plan before leaving an airport, considering fuel levels needed, speed, wind direction, weigh etc, we must also create a life plan. Sure we may have to make some diversions due to bad weather but in the end, we make it happily to our desired destination.

Patience is another factor to consider in goal setting. Nothing in nature happens in an instant. Everything has a process that leads up to the end result. I am learning patience each day with my children and especially with my herb and vegetable garden, a perfect example! I want my tomatoes and cucumbers...NOW, but must wait for the right time. You cannot plant a seed at night and expect a full grown plant in the morning! Everything takes time. First, you need time in order to get your thoughts together and then to act upon them.  The conditions must be right in order to get the results you wish. 

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