Don’t get me wrong—I totally get what Tolle’s talking about. The past is gone, the future doesn’t exist, there’s only NOW…yadda yadda yadda.
But what does this really mean? I often hear a lot of push back around planning your time. But let’s set the record straight. Yes, being in the present moment is “the way,” but it doesn’t mean NOT planning for your future or setting any goals. That’s too black and white. It means plan as much as you can to be in alignment with how you want to spend your time to be MORE able to live in the now. When you map out your goals and time frames, it actually produces more freedom to live in the present moment.
You’ve got less mind-chatter to contend with— the real yadda yadda— so that you can focus on taking in that beautiful sunshine of the Cote d’Azur or Lake Michigan in August, the send of a baby’s skin, the feel of linen sheets, the moments of pure exhilaration when you finally flow through yoga class with ease like the yogi you thought you’d never quite become, or the sense of accomplishment when you finish a big project you worked hard on.
We’ve got to understand the unavoidable fact that successful people PLAN. Planning is more important than any other measure when it comes to success. More so than education, socio-economic status, culture etc. etc. Successful people have goals and set their targets. They don’t just take each day as it comes—they plan out tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. The most successful people not only have goals, but the key is LONG-term goals.
And we’re not just talking about lofty goals and dreams here, your pie-in-the-sky stuff. We’re talking specific goals that help turn impossible dreams into concrete steps. The big goals count, but have ya noticed, all big goals include a bunch of smaller goals?
If you read this blog often, you know I’m a huge fan of writing things down. So let’s get some goals on paper.
Take some time this week to write-out your 90-day, 1-, 5-, 10-, 15-, and 25-year goals in 3 big areas:
Once you get all that down, consider where you are now compared to where you want to go. Are you a daily “runner” who has fitness on lock, but who’s marriage is struggling? Maybe you have a thriving business but feel like you work too much to make time for your health and relationships. Or your health is finally bottoming out and your worried about what that means for your future and don’t know where to start.
Try to be as real with yourself as possible about where you feel strong/weak in the 3 categories. This will be your guide for what needs adjusting.
When making these big changes, there’ll be more things to do than what’s possible in a month, so you’ll need to be patient with yourself and focus on the most important things—and only those things.
It’s not easy for us humans to put aside immediate gratification for long-term gratification. But you can learn how and I urge you to do so. You won’t regret it.
Based on your goals you wrote-out earlier, answer these questions:
In this moment, what’s the very best use of my time? —You should be asking yourself this for every hour that you want to produce something in a day. Free-time is free-time, just enjoy it. But when it’s not free time, get in the habit of training your brain to keep asking what’s the best use of your time, and get to work on that.
What are the most important things I can do to make big shifts toward my “most desired” goals?—Not busy work!
What do I have to do myself, and what can be delegated? —Try and work towards a place where you can delegate all things out of your zone of genius. You’ll see how satisfying it is to use your time exactly as you intend rather than on a whim.
Once you get clarity on where you’re going—next week, next year, and the next few decades—you’ll have a strong-ass roadmap to guide you. And once you turn that map into a concrete plan, you can start baby-stepping—or better yet, leaping—toward your dreams. It’ll be almost impossible not to be in the present moment with this much focus and this much focused-freedom that you inevitably create when you make time to decide on long-term goals.
Caveat, long-goals are not set in stone, but meant to be guide-posts. Get honest with yourself and identify WHY your goal is important to you. Do you like your reason for this dream?
If it’s not FUN, and you can’t figure out how to make a goal fun— it’s not worth doing. So learn how to enjoy the ride and the process. No one said it would be easy, but it might as well be fun! Shoot for overall fun and satisfaction— don’t struggle through a goal and think, you’ll only be able to relax and feel good when you get to the finish-line. That’s like working all your life struggling away, to finally get to retirement and just plop down on the couch. How fun is that really gonna be?
Instead, enjoy the hard work, the couch potato-time, the struggle and the flow. When you have long-term goals it’s much easier to be confident with the ebb and flow of day-to day life, with the ups and downs. When you have a path, you can enjoy the present moment, and take pleasure in the present moment —the anticipation of the future moments, enjoy right now all that life is and all that life has to come. It’s all happening now when you have long-term goals.
Success starts now!