Long Term Goals

I finally found, in this article in Psychology Today, a good explanation of a problem I have with living in the moment. If you are always living in the present, how do you make plans for the future?

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How do you achieve anything? Living in the present is great and all, but I still think you need long term goals. Otherwise it all feels a bit pointless. Relaxing but pointless.

It was this quote in the article that caught my attention:

If you don’t have long-term goals, Markman warns, you run the risk of doing lots of little things every day—cleaning the house, sending emails, catching up on TV—without ever making a contribution to your future. That can leave you feeling restless and unfulfilled. “It’s the big picture things that give life meaning,” he says, “like parenting or becoming an expert at something.”

Getting Ideas
My problem, as with most people, is working out a future goal. There are so many to choose from. One suggestion from the article is to spend sometime actually picturing your future self. In detail. What would your ideal day look like?

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Making Sure
Once you have a potential goal, before you commit to that goal,

….seek out people who have already achieved the dream to which you aspire, suggests Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert in his book Stumbling on Happiness.

Other questions to ask:

  • Does your goal match who you are? Are you sure you want it?
  • Does it conflict with other priorities in your life?
  • Can you gain satisfaction from each step?
  • Is it reasonably achievable?

Break It Down

When you break down a reinvention plan into actions you can do every day, you’ll integrate long-term goals into your present. “If you don’t work on them a little bit every few days,” Mayer warns, “you’re probably going to lose them.”