So You Haven’t Reached Your Goal Yet- It’s OK, You Will
We live in an incredibly fast-paced world. It can seem like people are out- accomplishing us every minute, personally and professionally. Even if you are not a person with set goals for one year, five years, or twenty years out, there can still be a nagging voice behind your eyes saying, “You should have done that by now”. While that feeling is understandable and can feel very depressing, the reality is: there is no finite set of rules for living as an adult.
School and work are by nature competitive environments- and that’s not a bad thing. Competition can keep us striving for more productive and effective ways to complete tasks, and ultimately result in a better world. Competition in sports teaches us endurance, perseverance, and teamwork--- all vital qualities in human relationships off the field. But there is also a dark side to competition as it can leave many folks feeling left behind. And if we’re feeling irretrievably behind, what’s to keep us from giving up and not trying at all?
First things first. Let’s get rid of any “should-haves” in our heads right now. As humans, we are blessed with free will, but we (despite our best efforts) do not control the universe. You may not get married, get the promotion, get the degree, have the baby, make the team exactly when you thought you would but that doesn’t mean you won’t do it. We could sit down and painstakingly plan for hours how our lives will unfold, but the universe will always have surprises in store.
It’s also helpful to remember that some of the folks we consider so accomplished weren’t child prodigies; that the already woven fabric of their lives led them to what made them famous. From Superman creator Stan Lee to Pop Star Cyndi Lauper to Alan Rickman (Professor Snape himself) - there are a slew of well-known folks who were far older than their counterparts in the same field when they became well-known.
Not only can we ditch by the roadside our preconceived notions about when things should happen, we can also accept that our personal priorities change all the time. And guess what? That’s OK, too. Our goals are our own, and only we have the power to push them forward into reality.
Dream, think, plan, act, react. It’s the cyclical deliciousness that makes us human. It deserves our embrace, in addition to our constant frustration. What new goals can you set today? Rather than giving yourself a due date for completion of those goals, determine the first task that needs to be completed to achieve it. Take a deep breath, and begin.