What is your goal?

At one time, I owned a 27-foot sailboat named Sea Breeze.  I spent a lot of time on her, mostly cleaning and fixing. The sailboat was nice, and I sailed it around the Pimlico sound and in the Intercoastal Waterway.  That boat was also a lot of work.  As I got older, I wanted a trawler, and the Grand Banks was my dream boat.  No sails to deal with.  I never got that boat, but I always had the goal set.

I am going to suggest that my goal needed some adjustments. I learned two tricks of the trade over the years. The first one is to ask why at least three times, but no more than five. Say, for example, my goal is to buy a Trawler. Okay, why do I want that particular boat? It could be, I didn’t want to deal with the sails, or I just wanted to relax on a boat. My answer is I would like some freedom to enjoy the ocean air and travel to see the world. We’re getting closer. Why do I want those things? The answer is I want to enjoy life. What was my real goal? Enjoy life. Is getting a Grand Banks Trawler the only way that I can enjoy life? That requires some more thinking, and it turns out, at least in my case, it is not the only way I could enjoy life. I could buy a less expensive trawler.

Do I need a boat? I could take all those elements like smelling the sea air, looking at the ocean, enjoying a cup of coffee, etc. I could take all those things that I think I’m going to get from sitting on the deck of my trawler and do it another way. I could buy a condo at the beach. I could buy a motorhome and go to a campground. I could go on a Windjammer cruise. Lots of ways I could do that. The concern that I’m addressing here is that if I’m solely focused on a very specific goal, I don’t see all the other possibilities. I have focused on the wrong goal. To finish my trawler story, I went on several Windjammer cruises and let someone else do all the work.  I relaxed, took in the ocean air, had rum swizzles and sticky buns for breakfast, and saved some money.

Now another trick I’ve learned is that a lot of times, we are focused on the result and not the steps it would take to get there. Let me go back to my trawler, I wake up in the morning and say – world, my goal is a 37-foot Grand Banks trawler. Nothing happens during the day. I don’t have the trawler at the end of the day. After a couple of weeks of this, I get discouraged about what happened. It’s not realistic. Now let me back up. The result may be realistic, but my daily goal was not. What steps do I have to take to realize being the owner of a trawler? I could buy a lottery ticket. I can start my own business and make enough money to buy it. I could go to the bank and get a loan. None of these actions ensure that I will enjoy life.

Okay, lot of ideas, but not getting closer to my goal. What are the steps I have to take to get what I want? My goal is to enjoy life. That goal is much too broad. How would I recognize when I reached my goal? Did that give me what I wanted? Probably not. So, the goal can’t be too specific, but it should be easy to recognize. I changed my goal of an enjoyable life to add joy to my life every day. Now I can look at everything I do and ask, will this add joy to my life?   

So you can see all the way things are linked together. I will close out by saying I would keep it real, keep it positive, and keep smiling.