Did You Forget Why You Came This Way?
day-to-day goals khaled allen looking ahead planning warrior spirit
This New Year is the perfect opportunity to get that perspective and use it to set a goal. (New Years resolutions are just as valid as those made any other time of year, but psychologically, we humans seem to like starting new things with arbitrary yearly milestones. So go with it)
Without Knowing What You Want to Do, you Won’t Do It
I recalled that I’m here in Korea to gain experience living abroad, to learn the attitudes needed to problem-solve in any situation. This is meant to be a learning experience for me, and it is supposed to be a challenge.
I could take the learning out of it, by sticking to the well-worn grooves of the teachers who have come before, but then I wouldn’t grow.
It would be very easy to go to work every day, do my job, teach the kids, collect my paycheck, and get by. I could go home to the States without ever having changed or learned anything.
But then I’d have forgotten my ‘why.’
To make sure my day-to-day life moves me in accordance with my purpose, I had to actually sit down and think about what I do every day. I had to check not only that it was the right action, but also that it was done with the right intention.
Forgetfulness and Distraction
It is very easy to get wrapped up the day-to-day. It’s tempting to just duck your head and plow forward, doing all the little things that we need to to make our days run smoothly: grade book reports, shop for food, go out when you need a bit of R&R. In a way, it’s easier to focus on just what’s right in front of you.
Here in Korea, there is an obsession with appearance, and that provides a distraction from what might really matter. The society and stores tell you not to worry about a thing as long as you are wearing the right clothes and hanging out in the right places. It’s so easy to replace your real goals with things like consumerism and money. All you have to do is accept the illusion and the comfort.
But by keeping our heads down to really drive into the details, it is too easy to forget the big picture.
THEY don’t want us to ask the big questions. Will this shiny new toy make me happy? Will pleasing my boss get me to my bliss?
What kind of life do we want to live? How does this day, this afternoon, this hour, this minute, fit into that big picture? Am I just spinning my wheels, following directions because I didn’t bother to give myself directions, or is it part of the grunt-work that needs to get done to make my dream a reality?
Why do you go to work every day?
Taking the Time to Plan
Reading books like Linchpin and Getting Things Done, I’m starting to realize just how immensely valuable it is to plan where you want to go, and think about how to get there.
I’ve spent hours in the last two weeks brainstorming and sketching out ideas for things I can do to make my current life align with the life I want.
With these concrete steps in place, I have the ability to start taking action.
But if I didn’t set aside time to plot a course, I’d just keep going wherever my day-to-day needs pushed me. This happened to me a lot last year. I’d determine I wanted something, but I’d never plan out how to get there. Then I’d get so wrapped in my daily life, I’d look up and wouldn’t even recognize the landscape anymore. I’d certainly not be any closer to my goals, and sometimes I was actually further away.
Take a minute to look up at the landscape you’ve been traveling. Set aside an hour sometime this week to make sure you have a concrete destination and a solid plan to get there.
Some Tips on Goal Setting
- Set aside some time with no distractions to really think about your life: Answer these questions: What kind of life do I want to be living? What kind of person do I want to be? Is my current life in accordance with that? If not, why? And what steps can I take right now to start moving in the direction I want to go?
- State concrete goals: Instead of ‘have more money’, write, ‘I want to be making an additional $1,000 a month within six months.’
- Focus on action verbs: to make it really easy on yourself, think of real things you can do. For the above goal, you could make a point of calling 10 new clients a month, instead of getting more clients. Calling tells you exactly what you have to do, and is more concrete than Getting.
- Only plan things you can control: You can’t always control what other people will do. You can’t even control what you will do sometimes. If you’re trying to lose weight, instead of saying you want to lose 10 pounds, think about the actions you can control: only eat unprocessed foods, avoid all sugar, eat a certain number of calories.
What do you do if you find that your daily life isn't in line with your larger purpose?
Take steps to change it!
But you'll never know if you never look.