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.
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.
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.
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.
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.