The other day I wrote about menus but it is not just menus that I plan. I pretty much plan my whole life. I have annual goals, monthly objectives, weekly and daily tasks. I even have a schedule for cleaning the house from top to bottom.
I hang goals quilts on the wall where I can see them every day as a reminder. I make a fresh notebook every month with objectives for the month. Then every Sunday I sit down and plan out the week ahead. I set weekly tasks that build upon those monthly objectives and annual goals. I even do daily to-do lists.
Yes, I know that sounds extreme and obsessive. But here’s the difference…
Plans are nothing more than a GPS system for your life.
What do I mean by that?
“Recalculating…recalculating…your destination has been updated…” Can you almost hear those words in an Ultron-ish voice?
So let’s take a look at what I mean…
First of all, YOU set the goals…the destination. You alone are captain of your ship, the master of your destiny. No GPS out there decides where it is going to take you (yes, I know it may seem that way sometimes, but those too are just detours of Fate).
Secondly, you can even decide the route…the fastest way possible or the scenic one. In other words, it is your moral compass that decides not just your goals but the way you get there. The GPS only tries its best to keep you on the path you set to begin with.
It prevents you from getting totally and irrevocably lost. Yes, yes, it does constantly remind you of your destination. It tries its best to get you back on track.
It reminds me of the family vacation we took to Washington, DC when I was thirteen. Every single time we left the hotel room we ended up in Arlington cemetery. ‘Hey, I think that was the White House?’ ‘Wow, that looks like Capitol Hill.’ ‘Not the cemetery…AGAIN.’ We never did manage to see the White House, Capital Hill or the Smithsonian Museums.
Ideally, with updates and a good system, it also takes into account detours and road closures. There will always be times when things don’t go the way that they should. When plans we made just don’t work. But with flexibility, it is easier to manage those detours.
Here’s a secret…it is 11/11 and I have not started November’s notebook yet. I have been ill. The world is turned on its head. And FaceBook is alight. But…the thing is once it becomes a habit…you will find your way back to that path. I always do…somehow…some time.
Most importantly of all…YOU still control your destination. For most of us, there will be times when we say…’Screw it.’ When we decide that was not such a good plan…the right goal…after all. And in those moments, you simply sit down for a bit…you stop and decide what new direction you want your life to go.
And that’s OK too. There is nothing that says you have to reach every goal you ever set. Most people hardly ever do. The thing is there is actually something far worse out there than not reaching your goal. It is climbing that ladder, ignore everything else including your moral compass to attain your goal, only to discover when you got there that it does not make you happy.
For me…that is the only true goal worth having…HAPPINESS.
For yourself of course, but also sharing it with others. And all the check marks on to-do lists, six/seven/eight/more digits on bank accounts and awards the world are no guarantee of that. But like that annoying GPS system it is easier to get there when you know where you are going and have a plan. Even if that plan and goals do keep changing.