Goals; most people have them. Some people are very pro-active with goal setting. They make a point of planning, revising and assessing goals on a regular basis. Maybe they have a one, five, or even ten year plan. Others have very private, some even subconscious goals, that only they know about, and that they would never share with the world. But what is the benefit of having goals? Are they even useful?
Two years ago I was faced with a very difficult decision – Should I give up a well paid job that allowed me to pay back student and travel debts, that although I didn’t hate I wasn’t particularly passionate about, or live pay-check to pay-check and pay out £11,000 to further my education and set myself on a career path for life. The day came to pay my deposit and secure my place on the course. I was incredibly unsure about what would be the ‘right’ decision.
I was grateful to have the opportunity to speak to a family friend. She asked me a simple question that changed the course of the rest of my life:
If you woke up tomorrow and you hadn’t done it, would you regret it?
This changed my whole perspective, not only of the decision at hand, but of the way I approach my life. I came to understand that life is but a journey; a multitude of paths to an ultimate destination. Everyone’s destination is the same, whether rich or poor, educated or illiterate, and is unaffected by race, gender and sexuality. That ultimate destination is death. Everyone will inevitably die someday.
Although this is a morbid thought, it is actually incredibly liberating. If we consider life as only an ultimate destination, the variety of paths available to us to reach this destination are endless. Considering life in this way opens up a plethora of opportunities. Yes, we may lose our footing on the way or get a little lost, but every possible scenario is exactly that; a mere possibility, and not a certainty. Perhaps on your journey you take a wrong turn, or have to ‘stop-off’ a while somewhere, but once the journey has begun, the only way is forward.
Goals are the signposts or checkpoints that we set along our journey. They guide us along the paths we hope to take to arrive at our destination. They can move and change, but every step we take helps to get us one step closer to reaching that checkpoint, achieving that goal, and shaping our lives into what we want them to be.
Laozi said that ‘a journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step’. If you set a goal, don’t put it off until tomorrow; don’t reschedule for next week. Get up and take that first step right now. If your goal is to run a marathon, get up and run to the end of the street. If you’re wanting to learn a language; pick up a book and read. Once you have taken that first step, you have commenced on your journey, and are ever closer to reaching that next signpost, and achieving that goal.
So next time you are dreaming of something, don’t think of what might happen, but instead of what could happen. Consider the amazing possibilities that are open to you in the form of the various paths ahead, and what you might learn about both the world and yourself along the way. Which path will you choose to ensure you reach your destination with no regrets?
I would love to hear more about paths you have taken in life, and moments where you may have lost sight of the shore in order to take the plunge. Contact me through my site, Rambling Rose, or through my Facebook page.
Rosie Hawkins is a Digital Marketing Exec by day and blogger by night. She recently started the blog Rambling Rose as a journey of self-exploration, which explores issues such as self-confidence, happiness and learning (to name but a few). She lives in Manchester, and welcomes opportunities to collaborate with other like-minded individuals. Visit her website to find out more.