Challenging Yourself and Setting Personal Goals
Photo: Dr. Ellen McMahon
For most of us getting through the day and the week, with all the responsibilities and routine ups and downs, is challenging enough. We get caught up in the activities of daily life and keeping up with the demands of our family and friends. But when we are focused only on the present we miss opportunities to plan for the future, and because of that we will remain in that same present space. Taking a moment to think about the future, to set small challenges for ourselves to move us forward, can have big payoffs in the long run. Setting goals, short term and long term, is one way of preparing yourself for the future.
The world around us is changing at speeds that make our heads spin. The responsibilities of today, children, parents, jobs, will redistribute and sort itself out with or without our help. And then where will we be? What do we tell our children by our actions of focusing too much on today and not enough on tomorrow? We want our children to be independent and to have a good life however we and they define that. We want our children to be able to function in this ever changing environment and to carve out space that not only serves them financially but also gives some personal satisfaction. So why not model how to get there; how to have that happen.
To do that I think you need to begin by assessing where you are. This might be as simple as thinking about where you want to be in a few years. What will definitely change in your life – changes you know will occur. And what would you like to change but won’t unless you take some action? From that point you can being to identify incremental steps, those little baby steps that begin the process.
I am a great list maker. I love to make a list every morning of those things that I want to address each day. And then each morning, I revisit the list from the day before to see what I need to cross off, what I need to add to today’s list, and what might need to be sent to a different list – longer term or even someone else’s list.
So what are you doing to set goals for your future? Can you carve out just a few moments everyday to draw up a list of things you must do and things you would like to do and a short term goal or two that will help you get to where you want to be? It is important to recognize that planning for the future is a constant as the world around us is always changing. So even when we think we are where we want to be it is important to recognize that nothing is constant and looking toward the future is something we do in good times and bad.
Think of the gift you are giving your children and those around you; something they can use now and in the future.