We are all told that the first step to creating success in life is having a set of clearly defined, written goals. These goals are meant to be our guideposts leading the way to the ultimate dream we have for our lives. But what happens as we change and grow? Do we continue to follow those same goals that we had previously? Do we simply stay on track no matter what our inner self is yelling to us over and over again?
While goal setting is certainly a part of defining and creating our long-term success, it cannot be this concrete, set in stone piece of paper that restricts our core selves. When we are kids, we all set out with these great, big dreams to “be” something. It might be a famous singer, a high-powered attorney or the local librarian. Some of us spend our formative years rushing toward that end dream by plotting little goals along the way. We study in school, go to college and then get that first job as we catapult ourselves ever closer to the job of our dreams. And then, our worst fears come true – we hate our chosen career.
What causes this to happen? The answer is that we change. Every week, every month, every year we change. Our thoughts, our passions, and even our innermost values and self – our “why” – changes. We have experiences, successes and failures that shape and mold our innermost self. The key to goal setting is not all about writing it down and taking action as much as it is about being loose enough to realize that goals need to be adjustable.
As we listen to our thoughts at the deepest levels, we will come to realize that our wants and desires just change what our path needs to be sometimes. These goals are an expression of who we are at any given moment in time. What we want at 15 years old is not the same as what we will want at 35 years old. At 15, the world is your oyster and anything is possible. You just want that boy in your school to like you. You just want to look good, have lots of friends and have fun. At 35, you have experienced heartache and heartbreak. You have paid bills, experienced death, had jobs you hated and felt frustrated by life. Or maybe you have found what truly makes you shine and are reluctant to embrace it because you are holding on to some goals you set when you were younger.
At 45, you will likely want different things than you did at 35 or 25. Your goals were never meant to be your final destination. They are simply side streets on the map that will take you to fullfilling your values and your destiny. Open yourself to the detours.