Plans are dashed. Again. It’s not a problem as there are bigger issues we all must deal with. But that doesn’t remove the frustration of cancelled plans.
However, more time means more planning time. But how much planning can you really do?
Over recent months, I’ve been reviewing how I’ve planned events in my first five decades. Honestly, on a personal level, I haven’t. Every period in my life has been a reaction or response to various life events. Each time I’ve moved to a new town or city has been due to work. All my house moves, until the current one, have been a necessity.
I’m not complaining. But I am reflecting on how things might’ve turned out if I had more of a life plan.
Planning, like never before
Everyone plans. My planning tends to be short-term. What’s happening tomorrow or at the weekend? Occasionally, there are a few appointments or commitments over the coming months. And the annual reminders. All of these tend to be around practicalities.
Two areas I plan a little further ahead are holidays and cars. As I have always taken my daughters on holiday on my own, so it’s been important to plan holidays six to eight months ahead to schedule around school and work as well as ensuring the hotel is suitable. Replacing the car is a longer-term plan of usually two to three years. Mainly for financial reasons.
Many of my life plans have been a direct reaction to an event, or sometimes an opportunity. I’m not sure that policy has guided me as well as it could’ve done. I’ve now a long-term plan evolving and it’s giving me more clarity than ever before.
I have begun to work on a decade plan. Yes, ten years. Gee, I don’t really know what is happening in the next ten days, or ten months let alone ten years. Really? Yes. If not, I think I will continue to bounce from one life experience to the next without any direction or real future goals.
Ten goals in ten minutes
The trusty ‘ideas’ notepad at the ready. A cup of tea. Curled up on the sofa. Spotify on. Go.
Ten goals in ten minutes. I thought it was going to be easy. It’s just a list of things I want to do in the next decade. How difficult can it be? Well. The first couple came easily. Move to Portugal. Buy a small farm. Thereafter, my mind froze. This was going to be harder than I thought. Much harder.
Focusing on different aspects of my future helped to get some ideas flowing. Many were practical. Some were tangible. Others are deeply personal. There were ‘safe’ and ‘comfortable’ ideas. A few scary ones. Any thought that arrived in my mind was written down. I placed no limitations or criteria on my brainstorming. The intention was to generate free thinking. Let the mind go as far as it wanted to. No limits.
After a few more cups of tea, I ended up with a long list of potential goals. Revisited it several times. Continued to add to it over the next few days. I started grouping the goals as there were common themes or interdependencies. Nothing came off the list. The grouping reduced the ‘goals’ considerably.
Learnings from brainstorming
When I started the exercise, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what the outcome would be. Indeed, what eventually gets written down will only be words and it will be the commitment, dedication and hard work to achieve them. There were two interesting outcomes from my brainstorming.
Firstly, not one goal or idea looked backwards. That probably sounds commonsense, but I was expecting my past to influence more of my future thinking. None were looking for resolution or compensation for any aspect of my life so far. Every experience, learning and memory of my life so far will help influence my future. Like everyone, there are things in my past I would do differently and not repeat. That’s in the past. History.
Secondly, the goals are very personal to me. Every goal is about me. What I want to achieve for my personal satisfaction and contentment. Success is dependent on one person. Me. And me alone. It is going to take the continued commitment that I need to do more for myself and not just try to solve other people’s problems. I need to become more selfish. I need to work hard, but not too hard that it is to my detriment. Delivering my goals will need me to take more care of myself. I am motivated, committed and passionate about achieving my decade plan.
While I have my ten goals for the next decade, I am now breaking these goals down into medium-term ‘tag points’ and short-term actions. The latter is my default position so that is easy. But clarity on my future goals makes it much easier to visualise and understand that every action is a step towards achieving them.
The first two short-term goals are nothing new. Complete the sale of the house. Find a rental property. These two goals will launch a host of ‘practical’ things that need to be done when moving to a new house. More importantly, it is one more step towards delivering my personal goals.
Stay safe. Take care.
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