1. You Have No Idea How to Make Goals. Pretty obvious, right?
Recently I was challenged to write down my goals were for the next five years. My first thought was, how on earth does one imagine the next 5 years? Well, being the fastidious problem solver that I am, I took a piece of paper and wrote down each year and how old I would be- as if staring at these ages would tell me the answers.
I mean, if you think about it, they used to. If I sat down at any point between ages 18-24 I could have certainly told you. 18-21 you go to college, get internships, then you get a job, then you get a better job, and an apartment and start paying your bills.
So I started thinking about 25-30. What are my goals? Stumbling around in my mind for a bit, and I finally latched on to what many consider considered “obvious” for my age- get married before 30, pay off all my loans and debt, start a retirement nest egg, travel, establish a larger amount of emergency savings, start an investment plan, buy a house.
Then I stopped myself, and asked myself the question, why? Why do I want to do those
things? I have thought of goals now, why does all of this still kind of stress me out?
2. You Don’t Know How to Make the RIGHT Goals.
As my mind had been racing around for unique answers, I had stumbled upon everything I was expected to want. Not that any of these things were bad, or that I wouldn’t work to achieve them, but going over it I couldn’t help but ask myself, what about that list is really me? What part of this gets me excited?
As most things fall together, I was listening to a podcast later that day I was struggling with my goals, and it resonated. The guest being interviewed was author James Altucher. (James is also an avid podcaster, entrepreneur and investor, I further explored his work to find several interesting books and pieces, a few I plan to reflect on later).
What struck me was something he said in his conversation about “the stories we tell ourselves.” The idea is, there’s a bunch of stories we tend to tell ourselves, things that we think we need to do- go college to make money, get a job that makes a ton, have x amount of money to retire happy. When he spoke about this, I realized I was making those goals and filling up my list with stories I was telling myself.
3. You Aren’t Being True To Yourself.
I wasn’t asking myself what I really wanted, I was latching on to the stories I had always been told about what people usually do or should do. I was so used to following this- that’s what the first 21 years of my life was pretty much all figured out.
But as we all know, when you get out into the real world, you tend to stray from a straight line. It’s been a long time since you’ve been free to move in any direction you please, so you just move as you feel you should. Then as you are moving, figuring things out, you start thinking about those stories again. Those things you are supposed to want and have. You remember those stories and are reminded of what’s supposedly left to accomplish.
4. You aren’t Cutting Yourself Any Slack
When you are being true to yourself, the things you are supposed to want and have will stress you out. Maybe because you realize you are SO far from achieving them. Maybe because in your heart you feel guilty because you know you don’t really want them. Maybe because when you notice you’re not on that track, you feel like you’re not good enough.
So why do we do this? It’s kind of crazy isn’t it? I suppose part of why is the immense amount of work it would take to figure out what we want ourselves. And maybe a lot of it is because we are competitive in nature and need some sort of way to compare ourselves to others.
Whatever the case, I vote for a new culture where you figure out your own story day by day, and feel proud that it’s not like anyone else’s. Because it makes you happy, and that’s it.