Many years ago when I was still working and I had to fill out those annual evaluations over and over, I tended to write the same things year after year. My favorite two were the stock answers I gave to; What are your short-term goals? and What are your long-term goals? My short-term goal was always to remain employed for as long as needed and my long-term goal was to quit as soon as possible. (You can tell I wasn’t too interested in a career). The strange thing is, no one ever reacted. I don’t think the evaluations were even read!
I remember having goals in my life at the time. I just didn’t think they were anyone else’s business and I was very busy with life i.e. work, home, husband, 2 kids, etc. It didn’t seem practical to sort them out and/or write them down. As a consequence, I’m not sure when or if I attained them or if I changed them. And if I did change them, when did that happen?
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become aware of my need to have something to look forward to, a reason to stay enthusiastic. Yes, even, or especially, in old age, goals are wanted and required. I agree with Lou Holtz, who said, “If you’re bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things, you don’t have enough goals.”
So what can one expect from or look to in life at an advanced age? The same as anyone else! Health, Wealth and Happiness!!!
Here’s where the fun starts and the goal setting begins. First of all get going now — no time to lose — times a tickin’. “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” Karen Lamb
Think about all the things in your life that would make you happy or happier or content or more content. Those are your long-term goals. The things you can accomplish in six months, one year, three years. Take each large long-term goal and break it down into smaller and smaller parts, until it becomes one step that you can take right now, today.
Write this all down. There is something about writing it down that adds to the commitment and permanency of it all. It’s much harder to ignore a goal in bold type taped to your mirror that will be seen several times a day than one just sitting quietly in the dark regions of your back brain. Don’t allow yourself to ignore or forget what you need and want in life.
Each of the little steps or short-term goals should be specific, positive and based on performance. So if your long-term goal is say “gain weight” (it could happen!), one of your short-term goals would be: “I will eat four HoHos for breakfast every day.” (My personal favorite!)
Then, of course, keep track of the daily/weekly/monthly goals to know if you are consistent and if they are actually going to fit into your life. Always be the person you are and were meant to be, not the person you think you should be. You are never going to do the things you hate, no matter how much you think you should.
Goals or visions of the future must always be rewarding and relevant in our lives or they are worthless. I don’t think they should be punishments or restrictions, but rather broadening horizons of hope and happiness. Certainly they will require work, time and change, but they must ultimately be worthy of the effort or else why try?
Setting goals requires a look at the past and an evaluation of life to this point. Am I as satisfied, happy, content as I could be? Do I see areas of my life that could be more? It’s good to take stock periodically, even when the view back is over many decades.
Setting goals requires looking to the future and envisioning new habits, improved behavior and a higher level of satisfaction in life. It keeps one looking forward, avoiding staleness and hopefully bypassing a lot of sorrow and self-pity.
Setting goals has an amazing impact on the present, the here-and-now. You can’t be mindful of daily goals without being mindful of your own thoughts and actions. It changes you and your outlook on everything. What a gift is that?
And even if you fall short of your goal, you will still have the journey, which as Hemingway said “is what matters, in the end”.