Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday's Time Tip: Focus on Goals: Long Range

I like this quote, "Remember when you see a man at the top of a mountain, he didn't fall there. 
– anonymous"
To get to the top of that mountain takes planning and follow through.  But first it takes desire, that fellow wanted to be on top of that mountain.  Getting to the top was his goal.

A lot of successful businesses have a “five year plan”.  I’ve heard jokes where the punch line is, “Oh, that is on the five year plan.”    The idea is to map out where you would like to be in five years.  How can you project where you want to be in five years?  Grief some days I can not predict what I’ll be doing in the next 10 minutes, let alone worry about next week!

I look at things this way.  We are on the river of life.  Are we clinging to a log and going where the current takes us?  Or, are we on a raft, with a pole pushing away from the rocks and shore line?  Or are we in a comfortable yacht sipping drinks and listing to music and enjoying the voyage? 

I want to be on the sail boat all comfy and enjoying the cruise.  So how do you let go of the log, get off the raft, and climb aboard the ship?  By setting goals and working towards them.  The nice thing about the boat is you are in control of where you will be on the river, not at the mercy of the river.  You have to understand the currents and flow, but you use them to get to where you want to be.
So what matters most?  I’m not talking about things, I’m discussing life and relationships.  Things are great, but trying to get the big house, nice TV, big car, or what ever the item is, once you have it then what?  How is the relationship with your spouse/significant other?  With your parents, children, friends?  What are you doing to make those things better?  Yes, a nice place to live is important.  Income is important.  Those items do help make life a lot more pleasant.  But what good is a great home if the family living there is broken?

So look at your life.  Where are you now?  Where would you like to be?  Where do you want to be five years from now?

Decide what you want and write the goal as if you already have the goal is accomplished.

I own my own successful business.

I am a published author.

I enjoy my new home with my family.

I enjoy my retirenment and spend time with my grandchildren.

I have a collage degree and have a new career

I think you get the idea.  How to get to these long range goals depends on midterm and short term goals.  The rest of this month’s Thursday’s tips will focus on the other types of goals and tricks for achieving them.  That way the five year plan will work.  These are not just dreams.

Case in point.  Several years ago I saw some houses being built.  I love to go through homes, looking at the construction and the floor layout.  So when I got home I told my wife about the houses.  I said, “Lets go walk through them and see what they look like.”

“No, I don’t want to,” She replied.

“Why not? It will be fun.”

“Because you’ll start dreaming about them, and I’m not ready to move yet.”

She understood that I would start to think about changing things, and setting goals and making things happen so we could get a new home.

I took her no as a great compliment.  (We did eventually look at the homes, and yes I did build a nice home and moved the family into it.)

So if you do not like where you are at in life right now, where do you want to be?  If you are happy, what do you need to do to stay?  The river is flowing, and we will be going down the river, how we go is up to the goals you need to set.  What is your five year plan?

Take the time to write down some long range goals.  Look at your relationships, your finances, your situation.  Next week I’ll discuss mid range goals.  The steps that you’ll need to take to make the five, ten, or even 20 year plan come into focus and achievable. 

What do you think?  What have I missed?  Any other thoughts on setting five year plans?

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