I am a very goal oriented person, but when the new year comes around, I never have any New Years resolutions or goals I apply to my life. I don’t really believe in these ideas, and most people don’t follow through on these anyways. I haven’t really had any goals in my goal oriented life. But, I do challenge myself to do things, and I do have a life plan in many areas. So what’s the difference?
I make challenges for myself all the time. I wanted to see if I could get into law school, even though I knew I didn’t want to become a lawyer, after I tried it out with a 6 month internship at the district attorney’s office. But, I took the LSAT, applied to law schools, and got accepted to three of the five I applied to. I knew I could be a lawyer if I wanted to be one, but became a teacher instead after substitute teaching for 4 months and loving it. I challenge myself to stay at the same weight I was in during college 15 years ago (More of a lifestyle choice). I saw some college teammates balloon in weight after their NCAA playing days ended, and I decided that wasn’t for me. Sometimes, I get a little heavy, so I run more and eat healthier, sometimes I get a little too light and I eat more and lift more weights. I have maintained my weight between 245-255 pounds with this challenge to myself (I’m 6’10” so I’m going to be a skinny heavy guy). Other times I challenge myself to spend less for a month and save more. Sometimes I challenge myself to start a new activity, such as bee keeping, or do a social experiment of avoiding all lines in society to see if it increases my happiness (I drove right into a car shop garage ahead of everyone else in line, got an oil change, and no one said a word to me about it. I was happier.) My challenges are usually short term and they allow me to grow as a person or learn something about myself or others.
Then I have my many plans that are all in place over the long term. I have a 50 year plan where I die at the age of 85 in my current home as my basecamp for my life’s adventures. (That’s why I’m paying it off.) I have my plan to have three sources of passive income by the time I’m 50 years old. I have my plan to develop my kids through experiences, to make them well rounded global citizens. (Hello, mission trips and cheap travel hacking trips.) I have relationship plans with my wife to be married forever, and never loose our love that we found for one another that first summer in 2002 by the river in San Marcos, Texas. (We travel back there every year with the kids to swim and tube.) I have plans to become financially independent by the age of 52, and all my kids will be out of college and on their own. This will allow me time to live in various places around the world for a few months each, and experience many cultures before the grandkids come, and I am watching them play 5 year old soccer and singing in school choirs.
So how do I keep up with my plans? I have them memorized first of all, and secondly I have them written down. If something comes up in my life, I don’t need a goal or resolution to reach it, I just remember my life plans. If it helps me get to where I want to go, then I go for it. If it takes me backwards away from my plans, then I avoid it. I don’t drink, smoke, or play around with recreational drugs because it doesn’t help my plans. If you don’t do it then you never develop a problem to begin with. If I develop a problem with drinking, then that will hurt my overall plans, so I don’t bother with it. Same thing with buying a brand new Jeep, which my wife would love to have, and we can afford to buy it with cash if we saved a little more for it. It doesn’t help us with our plan to be financially independent, and it won’t benefit us in the long run for our plans. Maybe one day when we need to make a new plan we could add a new Jeep into that new plan. Right now we need to stick our current plans, until they are seen through.
Plans are a long term type of thinking, and the challenges are the short term ways of thinking. Sometimes the challenges can become a part of the plan. Me staying at college weight is now part of my lifestyle plan. I train for 10 minutes hard, 3 times a week, for 2 hours a month, and eat according to what my weight tells me I can eat. This is now my lifestyle plan. I feel healthy, and can go out and do most physical activities and have fun. I am at a good weight, but I noticed a change in my appearance lately, so I am going to ramp up my workouts a bit to loose some fat, and replace it with more muscle in the next few months. I need to take care of my body for my global travels after age 52.
So, I strongly suggest you look at your current life, and I bet you already have plans in place. Now you can identify them and put them to good use. How do you want your life to look in 20-30 years and what are you doing now to get there? What small challenge can you give yourself to try out? How will it help your plan for the future? Just keep moving in the right direction for your plan to be executed. If you have no plans, then reflect and figure out what you want, and where your life is going. Then create your plan to get there. If you want out if debt, then look into debt snowballing, and cut up the credit cards. If you want to be a healthy person, then you have to find out what are your current health issues, and how you need to change to be healthier. Health is a lifestyle plan, not a diet. Create your plan today, and then commit to it as a map you can follow for your best life.