Goals are important. Every midlifer knows this. That’s why there are a bazillion goal-setting retreats, workshops, seminars and journals. I mean, if you never pick a point on the horizon, how in the heck do you know which direction to walk?
However, most people’s goals aren’t really their goals. Most people set goals in reaction to the responsibilities, expectations, and demands they face in their lives. Maybe your goal is to make six figures this year, but you’re motivated to make that money because you have bills to pay and your grandchild’s tuition to help with. Maybe your goal is to finish writing your book, but not because you care about the book, you just want the approval of those who’ve said, “Hey, you should write a book!” Maybe you are striving to get an advanced degree, but it’s only to satisfy the prodding of your girlfriend.
Real goals are the ones that YOU actually care about. They light you up, give you energy and make you feel excited. Real goals have nothing to do with expectation or obligation, and everything to do with what matters most to YOU.
Of course, we’re bombarded every day with expectation and obligation. We have to react to a constant barrage of requests, demands, and last-minute emergencies. And when those are handled, it’s time to rest so we can get up and do it all again tomorrow. I call that default living.
It’s time to break the cycle. It’s time to dream. In order to get in touch with the things that will make your life amazing, take quiet time to reflect and listen to what you REALLY want. Your yearnings.
If leaving your family and responsibilities for a long weekend of self-exploration isn’t feasible, you can start with a simple “sit-down.” A “sit-down” is five minutes of quiet time followed by 20 minutes of introspective thinking. Ask yourself, “What do I really want?” The real answers will feel thrilling. You’ll feel those butterfly wings flutter in your belly. Write them down. Circle the most exciting ones, put realistic deadlines next to them, and create your action plan. Remember, it’s about taking baby steps.
Eventually, you will build momentum.
Often our dreams feel impossible to achieve or unreachable for a variety of reasons we’ve made up or heard from others. But our goals are achievable when we think them through, plan them out in simple steps, and consistently allocate time to them.
Life is too short to spend it chasing someone else’s goals or dismissing your own because someone else said it’s not possible. Don’t wait another moment — pursue your real goals NOW.
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