Many people have goals to be rich, famous, travel the world, write a book or maybe even to lose 5 kilograms or 10 pounds. Those are all nice and interesting dreams but that is all they will be for most people; dreams. It is great to accomplish specific objectives and achieve goals, but there is more to life than just crossing off a list of experiences or purchases. What about the notion that the journey is its own reward? Is that just another bunch of feel good nonsense?
Perhaps a better way to improve the quality of your life is by cultivating habits. A habit is something you do everyday because it makes you feel better about yourself and your purpose on this planet. Instead of creating a goal to lose 5 kilograms, you might start eating healthy and exercising every day. What will have a greater impact on the quality of your life: losing 10 pounds or a lifelong pursuit of health and fitness? Of course, when you stop worrying about a big goal that can sometimes seem impossible to accomplish, and just focus on doing 5 or 10 minutes of exercise a day to start, you will soon see that your goal of losing weight will be accomplished anyway.
You may have a goal to write a book. Completing a full book, getting it published and marketing it is a huge undertaking and is likely to be overwhelming for most people. It is much easier to put it off until you have more time, more experience, more education, etc. We can always imagine a better time in the future to do something. That is called procrastination! How about starting the habit of writing instead of the goal of finishing a book. Everyday turn off the TV and write for one hour. Often your writing will be total garbage, but sometimes it might actually be creative and insightful. One thing is certain, you will get more done and the very act of writing will improve your skills regardless of whether you ever publish a book or not.
Many people would love to travel around the world. That is a very worthy goal that everyone should aim for if they can. However, dreaming about it doesn’t make it happen. Start acting today and everyday towards something that can help you travel. This may be forgoing eating lunch out everyday. Instead make a simple but healthy lunch at home and each and every day put $5 into your “travel around the world” jar. Five dollars a day is about $150 per month and $1800 per year. With some other savings and maybe some airmiles accumulated from credit cards you will be able to take that trip in a few short years.
I want to buy a new 17″ Macbook Pro, they are beautiful computers. I haven’t bought it yet so it is still a goal. It is not a particularly difficult goal to achieve. Anyone can buy one and if you don’t have the money you can probably put it on a credit card. However, getting the new computer will only bring temporary happiness as you play with your new toy. After the novelty has worn off you will be looking for the next latest, greatest gadget to add to your collection. Instead of having a goal to buy a new computer, try to put aside 10 percent of your income aside for purchases that are not really necessities but would be really nice to have. Let’s call it a “cool toy fund”. Instead of rushing out to buy it just because you can, consider if it is really necessary to the life you are trying to live. Think about the purchase for a few weeks before you buy. You may very well need the latest, fastest toy to do your work but still take some time to consider the purchase.
Consuming products doesn’t make you a better person, living positive habits everyday is the path to improving your life. Achieving goals do not make you a better person and they often don’t improve your life in measurable ways, but positive habits do. Consuming less, eating healthier, exercising more, thinking and writing more, all create lasting happiness in your life if they are lived daily as positive new habits.