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If You Want to Live, Create Goals and Dreams!

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If You Want to Live, Create Goals and Dreams!

I once read a book by a very wise man. In his book he said that a man without any goal or any purpose in life is a dead man.

The moment I read those words, I knew they were true.

Goals and purposes are what drive us through the time stream into the future. They give our lives meaning even when our goals seem insignificant to others.

When I first read those words, many years ago,  I was very sick. I started to cry because I realized that my illness had robbed me of every goal I had ever had for this life. I couldn’t do any of them and there was no hope in sight.

I read the sentence again and stared at the page while the full impact of what I was reading sunk in. I realized right then, that if I did not create a goal for myself, any goal, I was not going to make it. Up to that point, I had been literally dying and this book was telling me exactly why, and exactly how to turn it around.

At that point, I decided on a goal and set about trying to realize it.

Up to the point where I had gotten sick, I had been a musician and mom as well as working in Corporate America. One by one these jobs went by the wayside due to my illness and I realized that I had not picked up my violin or sung for a very long time.

The goal I set for myself then, was to become a music instructor. All I needed to achieve that goal was one student. Then I could call myself a teacher.

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As fate would have it, once I made the decision to become a music instructor, I found an ad looking for a music teacher right there in my hometown.

I went to the school, interviewed and landed the gig.

And then, the funniest thing happened.

I started to get better.

It did not happen overnight; in fact it took several years to totally kick this illness, but it started the day I heard the words, “Please come for your first student on Thursday”.

I believe that many people who are depressed, or are doing poorly in life, have trouble with goals.

Sometimes they have goals forced on them, and that is as bad or worse than not having any.

Sometimes they cannot decide what goal they want to go after and are paralyzed by indecision.

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Sometimes they have someone in their lives who invalidates their goals.

Sometimes they feel that they lack the self discipline to achieve their goals, and other times it just seems too hard.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

There are definite steps you should take to create and realize a goal.

1. Lay out your ideal future life.

Take a little time and write it all out. I find that having it written down makes it easier to see. Make sure you include EVERYTHING you want in even the most insignificant areas of your life.

For example you may want to work from home or have a job that is mobile, allowing you to travel and work from various distant places. If this is the case, you will need a profession that allows for that.

Once you write down everything you want in life, the goal(s) will come into focus.

Do not invalidate whatever goal you come up with at this stage. Just start going after it.

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2. Decide what training you need to receive in order to achieve your goal.

If you are looking for a new profession that will support you and your dependents, you will need training. Find out what training is required and figure out how to get it.

In today’s world, there is so much information on the Internet, that you can train yourself fully in many professions without ever leaving your couch.

College educations are no longer prerequisites to having a great job, and self-starting individuals are doing amazing things. The opportunities today are almost endless if you really focus and work hard.

3. Give yourself a long-term target.

If your goal is to become an internet marketing expert, and you are starting from scratch, your long-term target can be landing a certain number of regular clients.

Now, long term is only relative. Even long-term targets don’t have to take a long time.

4. Give yourself daily targets that ultimately result in achieving your long-term goal.

And get them done. Then make new ones. Don’t worry if, while doing these, your goal morphs into something else. It’s all good!

5. Don’t worry about making the wrong goal or ending up in the wrong business.

Any decision you make, ever, can be changed and a new decision made. Resisting changing your mind is ridiculous. Every day we change our minds when faced with new information or just because we decide to do something else. There is no shame in that fact. In fact, a sane and dynamic individual changes his or her mind a lot.

Granted if we have people relying on us to bring in a paycheck, we can’t simply pack it in and start in again at the bottom, but we can change our plans and start working toward something fulfilling while also fulfilling our duties to those we have obligations to.

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6. Realize that the pursuit of the goal is every bit as important as its achievement.

For every endeavor we undertake, we learn. We come away with new skills and these skills have a funny way of coming together in the future in ways we never imagine.

These learning experiences and the skills we take away from them also make our lives extremely rich and interesting.

Some of the most interesting and successful people I know have had several different careers in their lives. They seem to have an uncanny knack for making things work. They always have many irons in the fire and too many projects because they are so dang interested in life.

What many people don’t realize is that life is a living thing and by that, I mean it breathes, it changes, it is anything but static. Too many people try desperately to keep things the same. This is not healthy, and it never works.

If we think that any goal we have has to be one that sees us through our entire lifetime, we are limiting ourselves greatly. We have to allow for how we change and grow, and sometimes we grow out of goals that were once very important to us.

Don’t think that you have wasted anything if you change your mind, even if you change it about something very important.

Goals are one of the most important things in life. Without them we decay and die. If you know of someone struggling with goals, help them create some. If you need help, write to me.

Good luck!

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Chris Ellis

Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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