“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” ~JIm Rohn
Having recently written a post about how far I’d come in my blogging over the past 11 months got me thinking: How much “forward movement” have I been able to achieve (both alone, and as a family) in the other parts of my/our lives? Overall, I’m pretty pleased with our progress the past year or so; we’re always working on a few specific short-term goals (say, 6 months – one year) and stay pretty committed to work diligently towards them until they’re completed. Most of these goals are financial in nature, or at least have a financial component to them; for example, maxing out our R.R.S.P. contribution is a financial goal, whereas our annual two weeks in Bucerias is a “relaxation” goal, as aptly demonstrated in the photo above. Having said that, since Cervezas on the beach and stays at “All-Inclusive Resorts” aren’t exactly free, it’s important to note that there’s a definite “financial goal” component to these types of goals as well. Actually, there’s a pretty big one since we NEVER even think of stepping on the plane until a trip is fully paid for first, which now I think about it, makes this a financial goal after all – just one with a few satisfying cold pops under palapas at the end as a reward for a “job well done”. But I digress…
I think most people are pretty good when it comes to planning short-term goals like vacations, or putting a few shekels in the retirement accounts each month; but I often wonder just how many people actually take time to plan some 5 year goals? Or how about 10 year goals? (And no, your mortgage doesn’t count, since the bank has a gun to your head the whole time) When you’re my age, 10 years seems like a bit of a stretch – unless we’re talking long-term health care planning or trying to figure out which seniors home serves the best biscuits at afternoon tea – and I for one, am not quite ready to tackle those sorts of things just yet! So for now, let’s stick to the idea of creating 5 year goals, and ask ourselves this very, very important question:
“5 years from now will surely come; the question is where will YOU (or I) be when it does?”
The Time To Begin Planning The Next Five Years of Your Life is Now
This a great question that few people ever take the time to ask – or answer – themselves, which, if you think about it, is actually pretty tragic – Here’s why: Most folks who fail to ask such a question usually also fail to plan anything worthwhile in, or for, their lives; and the result of “not planning” or not setting clear, concise goals for the future can – and usually does – have disastrous consequences! Folks who fail to make goals or have “a plan” usually wind up living lives dictated by their environment(s) rather than living lives of purposeful intention that they truly want. Since they don’t have a clear path or direction laid out in front of them, they are pushed and pulled around by the many external forces of life – employers, colleagues, circumstances, economic turndowns, to name a few – instead of being on a firm path moving towards whatever it is they want out of life.
Imagine this: There’s a race about to begin between two kayaker’s (with equal abilities) down a treacherous stretch of whitewater rapids, but only one had a paddle to control his ride – I’m pretty sure the moment you saw these two guys jump into the rapids you’d notice them going in two very, very different directions! One would be expertly navigating the water with every twist and turn, totally in control, and eventually head towards the intended finish line, while the other would just smash around totally out of control, eventually capsizing, and of course would never come anywhere near close to finishing the race. These are two very different outcomes of the same race; the only difference was that one guy had a paddle to guide him, yet it was this one thing that separated success from failure. The moral of this watery tale is simple: If you want to win the race, it’s important have a paddle.
Long term goals and plans (Say, um, 5 years) are the paddles in the kayaks we call our lives; when we have them, they help guide and steer us towards a satisfying and successful finish of the race; without them, we are at the mercy of life’s turbulent rapids, and have no control over our destiny. Pretty deep, eh?
Deep, but true. My favourite speaker of all time, Jim Rohn put it something like this:
“Five years from now you will surely arrive, the question is, where? This is a good question to ask ourselves because we don’t want to kid ourselves about where; we don’t want to kid ourselves about the road we’re walking. I would assume for all of you, to get to where you want to be, you are either reading the right books or you’re not. You’re either engaged in the disciplines or you’re not. But, here’s what we don’t want to engage in: disillusion. Hoping without acting. Wishing without doing” ~ Jim Rohn
Anyone can achieve a life of great things, experiences, friends, loved ones, etc. and live the life they choose if they truly want to: but to do so, we must begin by first asking ourselves the above question; then honestly answering it, and get to work making a 5 year plan to bring that life to fruition. I challenge you to take a few minutes and answer the following question, preferably on paper:
“When the clock strikes midnight on Sept 28th, 2019, I will have “X” in my bank account; I’ll also have achieved “X” in my personal life, as well as “X” , “X” and “X”. My health will be in a state of “X”, and I’ll be really happy to have achieved “X” and “X” for the well being of my family. But most of all, I’ll have achieved my biggest goal of all, which is “X” – for it is with the completion of this goal, that makes it all worthwhile. And you know how I’m going to do all this? That’s a great question! Here’s the plan:”
As you’ve probably figured out, your job is to now fill in the “X”s, and then create the plans to bring those plans to fruition in your own life. And I promise if you do this, and then work the plan (Yes folks, there is work involved! This ain’t “The Secret” you know!) you can achieve your goals and thereby live the life that others only dream of. Is it really that simple? YES! Is it easy? NO! Because if it was, at this very moment everyone would be busy reviewing their 5 year plans over their morning coffee – and we know that’s not the case.
I’m asking you to be the exception to the rule; I’m asking you to live a life that you choose, rather than a life that’s being chosen for you by external forces like jerk bosses and poor economies and teachers strikes and inflation and tax increases, etc. etc. If this sounds appealing, you can get started right now by filing in the “X”s (and most likely adding a few more of your own) in the sentences above; do this and in no time at all you will be the proud owner of your very own “paddle”… if you know what I mean.
And with that I wish everyone “Happy Whitewater Kayaking!” and I’ll see you all at the finish line!