Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Something to Look Forward To

Why do we get up in the morning? Why do we put up with so much and achieve so little? My theory is that deep down we believe things will get better if we keep pushing forward. Is this true? Well, yes and no.

Our lives can and will get better, but that cannot be achieved by doing the same things over and over. If your current beliefs, attitude and actions are consistently creating circumstances that are unfulfilling and even unpleasant, isn't it logical that those circumstances will continue to repeat in the absence of any variance of effort on your part? If there is something you really want in life-something that you can look forward to-you must arrange your life in such a way that every thought and action you take is somehow bringing you closer to your dream. Unfortunately, many of us dream but we never put a plan into action for achieving it. Consequently, each day, complete with thoughts and actions that are either misdirected or uncalculated, finds us further from our goal. What predictably happens next is frustration- frustration that in most cases causes us to abandon our dream.

So, what's the first step? Good question. Define what you want. Second step? Create a plan which is clear that allows you make progress every day, however small. This will help to keep you on track while giving your life a sense of worth and accomplishment.

Here's an example. Say you really look forward to owning your own home one day, yet your current income makes that possibility look bleak. Each day finds you more frustrated than the next as you perceive your dream becoming more and more unachievable. This can be a painful way to go through life, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Try this instead. First, write your dream down. This simple step will allow you to begin thinking of your dream in more realistic terms. It is now a goal rather than just some fantasy. Second, create short term and long term objectives, including deadlines, that will help you near your goal. Start small with your short-term objectives making them reasonably attainable. This will allow you to reach them, supplying you with a sense of accomplishment and momentum. The simplified example below will help you get an idea of how this works:

Goal: Own my own home

Long-term Objective: Save $10,000 for a down payment by January 1, 2011

Short-term Objective 1: Save 1,000 by December 2009 by doing the following
1. Complete all tasks at work thoroughly and accurately
2. Ask supervisor about advancement and overtime opportunities
3. Create a flexible budget that allows you to save $200 each month by paying yourself first and eliminating unnecessary expenses.
4. Start a daily journal in which you track your success

Again, this is rather simplified but it's a good example of how we can start making measurable progress on any dream right now and stave off the frustration that almost always scaps such plans. This gives you a structured way to spend your time that is not "all over the place," but focused and rewarding.

Now this is something to look forward to.


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