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If You Want to Live, Create Goals and Dreams!

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 September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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