Do you sometimes feel as though you are muddling through life without a real plan or direction? Do you take each day as it comes, allowing each day to control you, rather than you embracing all that the day has to give to you? Are you running your life or is your life running you?
I have many friends who seem to be tossed around by life as it happens around them. They are often frustrated, and feel as though their life is steaming ahead, out of control, and they are using all of their energy in an attempt to run and catch up with all that is happening around them. These friends are overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, even depressed. They have no plan. Life happens and they react to it to the best of their abilities.
I often wonder what would happen if these friends of mine did have a plan. Perhaps life would be running alongside them, instead of running them over like a steamroller. Perhaps if they had a plan they would feel in control, as though they were the driver of their “vehicle” of life, instead of feelings as though they are falling out of the passenger seat. There is value in planning.
What type of plans should one have? You may have long or short-term goals – large goals or small goals. Some people include a variety of different hopes, dreams and aspirations in their plans, such as:
- Getting married (by a certain age? date?)
- Having children (how many? when?)
- Buying a home (how long will the mortgage take to pay off)
- Going back to school (what will you study?)
- Getting healthy (will you exercise? lose weight? both?)
- Changing careers (what do you hope to gain? new challenges? inspiration?)
I find that people who are able to articulate some sort of plan for their future are more satisfied with their life in the present. They are not being tossed and turned by daily life because they see their daily life with purpose – a purpose that will drive them towards the fulfillment of their plans, their goals, their dreams.
Today, 345 days ’til 40, I will remember the importance of having a plan and goals for my future. I will not let my present drive me to frustration and distraction. I will appreciate my present, as it is part of my journey to my future.
March 13, 2012 at 01:00
Oh my god. I love idea behind this blog. “I will not let my present drive me to frustration and distraction.” Well put!
March 13, 2012 at 22:32
Thanks, pileofbabies!!! 🙂
March 13, 2012 at 02:04
i do have days like that, but glad that it doesn’t happen every day. nice read
March 13, 2012 at 22:33
Thanks, Terry! I think we all have days like that – that is what makes us human!
March 13, 2012 at 16:12
Love the countdown!!! I however, prefer not to countdown til my birthday anymore. I am one of those people who made a goal list and stuck to it. When I got to the date goal I skipped it after meeting my now husband. We went out 2 in a 2 month period and he was in the field the rest of the time. We have been married for 26 years.
March 13, 2012 at 22:46
Thanks, justbetweencousins!!! Sounds like your life has been full of adventure!!! 🙂 I like that your goals seemed to have faded after you found something that made you so happy!
March 13, 2012 at 18:56
Cool premise for your blog. I hit the big 4-0 in November and started my blog on my birthday. There is something about reaching this milestone, a mid-point of life for most people, for knowing what you want in life and going after it. All the best to you.
March 13, 2012 at 22:45
Thanks, jonesingafter40!!! I agree with you, it is a milestone that does make us think and question, and want to know what we want!
March 13, 2012 at 19:26
Favorite joke: How do you make God laugh? A: Have a plan.
I think the key to happiness is honest reflection, and you’re on your way.
Thanks for reading my blog. 🙂
March 13, 2012 at 22:44
Thanks, cjcdave! I like your joke!
March 13, 2012 at 19:27
I found attaining these goals (marriage, kid, job, house) was anti-climactic and a bit depressing. (Now what?) But maybe I just need some new goals/dreams?
March 13, 2012 at 22:43
This is a very good point, Mer- often when we reach our goals we do find it to be anti-climactic. I think we expect to have “arrived” – to feel differently in some way, and often we feel no different than the day before we met the goals. I think it is a balance of self-acceptance, healthy new goals, and inner peace!
March 18, 2012 at 21:48
Thanks for this. I am hopeful that self-acceptance and inner peace will come will age, practice and patience!
March 18, 2012 at 16:58
Not only that, Mer, but I’ve also found that running after a goal that was never intended for you will just get you somewhere you aren’t supposed to be. I did whole “goal setting program” two years ago, along with books, a planner, motivational tapes, etc…and boy did I get disillusioned and frustrated. Today, I find a lot of solace in this line from the from the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
March 18, 2012 at 17:37
Thanks for your comment, rabid mongoose, I agree with you – running after goals that are not meant to be will end in extra frustration we do not need!
March 18, 2012 at 21:51
Great point! Trusting intuition is often a better guide than arbitrary goals.
March 13, 2012 at 19:39
Thanks for the like! 🙂 My husband and I are learning how valuable it is to make plans and goals! I like the phrase “reverse-engineering.”
March 13, 2012 at 22:41
Thanks, Blaze Danielle!
March 13, 2012 at 19:41
I love planning my life, and I find there is a surprisingly large amount of people who don’t seem to respect it. They present all sorts of “but what if…”, trying to make my plans fade. But how do you know whether or not something will work before you’ve tried it out?
Planning certainly does give you a sense of control over your life, and it’s an important tool all of us should use. There are already enough unexpected incidents in life we have to face – we shouldn’t try to increase the amount or we will, just like you said about those friends of yours, fall under the weight of life.
Great idea for a blog! Looking forward to your future posts :).
March 13, 2012 at 22:40
I agree with you – I think planning is an important thing. It is okay if your plans do shift or change as you evolve – the important thing is that they are there. I personally find plans comforting, whether or not they are implemented in the end (though I like to implement them whenever I can!)
I look forward to hearing more from you.
The Quiet Borderline
March 14, 2012 at 10:38
This is what I am weak on.
Self-identity and knowing what to do with my life. I have no idea, direction, wishes, dreams or inspirations. I can’t even say what I would ideally want from life, even if it be unattainable.
I’ve been in therapy for 20 months or so and 13 months of that spent in hospital where I still am. Nobody seems to have any answers or advice to give me asides from just getting on with everything I am doing and ‘it will all work out in the end’. It’s hard to see that that is going to work or happen.
I’ll try to take some tips from your great blog post and just get on with it!
The Quiet Borderline
March 14, 2012 at 23:13
I think the important thing is to take the first step and make a plan. It can be so overwhelming to make a plan, but if you allow yourself to modify your plan as you learn and grow there is less pressure to have a “perfect” plan. With less pressure, it is easier to get something down.
I wish you the best!
March 14, 2012 at 12:57
Are you running your life or is your life running you?
I’ve been avoiding this thought for the longest time. I hope I won’t have to wait til I’m 40 to realize life had already passed me by..
March 14, 2012 at 23:11
Hi Nurse, Anj,
Thanks for stopping by – I certainly hope that I am running my life!!!! But, sometimes life slips away. I suppose the true strength of our character comes in our reactions to those moments.
March 19, 2012 at 00:09
Your blog idea is lovely. Good luck!
Planning is fun – but I tend to do it for more foreseeable future. I like not having a date on items like marriage or houses; it means I don’t have to stress about their impending deadline.
But planning how I get to each of my goals consumes way more time of my day that it ever ought to.
March 19, 2012 at 07:28
Thanks, Ardentmarbles – so true… yes we can plan and plan and plan and forget to live the life we need to live because we are so busy planning!
March 21, 2012 at 21:48
Right on. I find it very helpful to have a goal to keep the wider perspective in mind. Saving $50 here in there is easier if you think: house! I do believe in deadlines (motivation!) for tangible things. But marriage and kids are a bit trickier to think of with a deadline in mind.
I often feel rudderless without a goal, and am itching to make my latest one. It’s too easy to drift through life focusing on the minutiae without thinking of life in broader terms: why are you here and what do you want to accomplish? My friend likes to think of goals and resolutions as “intentions” so that she doesn’t beat herself up when she doesn’t accomplish them. A better approach for some, but I find more success in having a defined goal with steps and outcomes.
March 21, 2012 at 22:39
Thank you, Summer Picnic! I love your comment and insight! I think I would not do well thinking of goals as intentions…. knowing my lazy self (well, my sometimes lazy self) versus my obsessive compulsive self (yes, I fluctuate!) if I have a goal I HAVE to meet it, if I have an intention, well then I can do other things instead! That said, I do think her premise is so important to not forgive yourself when you do not hit the mark and not beat yourself up. It sounds like you are more like me, wanting the goal to push towards. I wish you all the best! 🙂