vendredi 16 octobre 2009

Short-term goals

I read this post and it got me thinking about my life...

'Matthew' writes in with a thought-provoking concern:

I’m only 37, but lately I’ve come to the realization that I may be having a mid-life crisis. To even write it down feels stupid and cliche’, but I think it best explains what I’ve been feeling. I don’t want to bore you with the details. How this pertains to you & your site is that over the years I’ve had various goals, such as graduate college, earn my CPA license, get a great job etc. Most of them were achievable within just a few short years. My next goal is to become debt free and I’ve come to the realization that it will take some time for that to happen. Beyond that, the only real goal I have for myself is retirement and that is pretty far down the road. Ultimately those distant goals have been the source of my depression. The feelings of ‘is this all there is’ starts to sink in and then I started disliking going to a job that I love. I spend my thoughts thinking about how things are pulling me in directions I don’t want to go. I’ve recently decided that I need to focus on my goals and create some shorter term goals to help get through my depression and frustration."

Ok, I’m too young to be really having a “mid-life crisis”, but the part of this guy's email that hit home with me is what I put in bold.

I kind of feel like I’ve got it all: I’ve reached my goals of finishing my degree and getting a great job. I have a home I love. I’m happy with my partner. I have fun hobbies. But it still feels like something is missing. Maybe that’s why I started thinking more and more that the next step was to have kids. (All other goals are so far off, in the distant future, that they don't really feel real to me.)

The explanation that Trent (the blogger) comes up with is: “the real problem with long-term goal setting is there’s no immediacy”.

The vast majority of our thoughts are in the present or extreme short term future. [...] Rarely do our thoughts focus on events more than a few months in the future. These events, for the most part, don’t feel quite real to us. [...]

If all of the things we’re looking forward to in life are shrouded in the far-off future, we’re left with little to look forward to in the short term. This, unsurprisingly, leads to unhappiness. We feel aimless. We wonder if this is all there is in life. And sometimes we can become depressed.

The solution, I’ve found, is to keep busy in the short term, both with short term things and with smaller projects that fit in as part of the bigger goals I have in life.”

The solution, then, is to set short-term goals. Why don’t I already do this?!!

I’m going to develop some month-long projects that are more or less “easy” to finish and that will give me a real feeling of accomplishment when I’m done – I’ll feel happy and proud of myself. I’m also going to break down my long-term goals into smaller projects that I can also accomplish in about a month.

Trent’s advice: Pick something audacious but not back breaking, yet something that will genuinely improve some aspect of your life. [...] Choose one or perhaps two of them and focus on them intently. Keep that goal central in your mind throughout the month and put continual effort towards it. At the end of the month, you’ll find you’ve improved your life in some regard. Then do it again. In a larger context, such ‘thirty day projects’ really serve to improve a person over time, albeit in a piecewise fashion.”

Here are some short-term goals. I’ll cross them off when they’re done.

- go to yoga twice a week, every week, for one month.

- run 1 km.

- finish the methodology chapter of my term file.

- finish the history of swooping section of my term file.

- create five term records (5/15).

- create five term records (10/15).

- create five term records (15/15).

- write the “challenges” chapter of my term file.

- do one painting.

- do one sketch.

- make one necklace.

- organize my office supplies.

- organize my filing cabinet.

The three goals I’ve chosen for this month (until Nov. 15th) are

- finish the methodology chapter of my term file.

- finish the history of swooping section of my term file.

- create five term records (5/15).

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