We spend a lot of time planning in this household. I seem to initiate most of it since I can’t seem to sit still for very long. I feel that I need to have direction and a focus; otherwise, I am not maximizing my time and energy toward making progress in my life. On the other hand, maybe is it just some personality quirk I have that I must have or find a problem that needs to be solved? I have discovered that setting goals for me are therapeutic, allowing me to create plans that gives me momentum, direction, and distinct actions toward their accomplishment.
What happens if you wake up one day and begin to realize you have made a mistake in setting one of your big goals? The easy answer would be to regroup, modify, or drop the goal, and simply move on to the next thing. That does sound easy until you add some of the emotional elements of your goals into the equation.
Many of us are dreamers when we create goals
I have sailed for around 30 years, owning sometimes and going for long stretches without a boat. Each time I get to the point where I think it is time to buy one again, the creative juices start to flow and behold, the perfect boat is found through our exhaustive search. We then have grand visions (as probably a large percentage of boaters) of spending much time on the new boat. Who knows, maybe do some off shore sailing and go up and down the coasts of North and South America? Don’t forget to through in a Transpac trip from California to Honolulu Hawaii for good measure.
“The two happiest days in a boater’s life – they day they buy it and the day they sell it” – an old boating joke
It soon becomes magical. Somehow, these dreams provide us the nearly unlimited time required to pursue these passions and our jobs become the furthest things from our minds. We envision how much fun it will be sailing with our friends and family. Heck, let’s do the Baja Ha-Ha trip down to Mexico with a hundred other boats for a great time to be had by all.
I have noticed the unrealistic dreams like this pop into my head as I visualize how great things could be.
We had similar dreams about 18 months ago about traveling through the US when we bought our used travel trailer and pickup. We do give ourselves credit that we didn’t rush into a quick purchasing decision. We talked about it for roughly three years before actually buying the camping rig. We kept double-checking our thinking to make sure we had realistic expectations of how much we would actually camp. We decided that we would go camping roughly three months a year once my wife stopped working in December.
Last year we were able to camp 30 days while we continuing to work full time. After this weekend it will be 9 days. However, next year we do believe we will get 90 days of camping.
I set a couple goals for the next six months
In this post, I mentioned my three major goals for the next several months. These goals involve my health, finishing our remodeling projects, and studying German for a trip in September to Germany.
Focusing on the German goal, my motivations are based on my mother emigrating from Germany and attempting to keep contact with that part of my family. My mother’s health is deteriorating as she is in a nursing home. She seems to be reverting to speaking in German – what little we are able to understand. I mentioned in the past a former goal I had to surprise my mother by having an extended conversation with her in German. That happened about 6 years ago and I have done virtually nothing to keep up my language skills since then.
I began to have second thoughts about my renewed language goal when I looked up the last time I went to Germany: July 2003. In thirteen years, I have not gone back once. Hmmm…
I seem to have a trend here.
On a walk this past weekend with my wife, I brought up the subject of my German studies. I am studying multiple college textbooks, all five levels of Rosetta, and listening to various podcasts. I began looking into an immersion course to really jump-start my learning. The cost of the immersion course was emailed to me over the weekend and it made me pause (due to the cost) as to what my language goal really is intended to achieve.
Why study German if I will not use the language?
History doesn’t have to repeat itself, but often it does. Will it be another 13 years until I go back to Germany after this September? Will my language study fall off after this trip?
“Goals are only wishes unless you have a plan” – Philanthropist Melinda Gates
In talking with my wife, I asked her for honest feedback about our continued travel to Germany. Are we going to spend 3 months a year there – every year? Where does “THE CAT” go during that time? What happens to our planned 3 months of RV’g each year? When we leave our jobs we will certainly have more time, but realistically is it going to be traveling to only one country? There are 198 other countries in this world and a lot to see!
Then we talked about if it is really worth six months of study for a two-week trip? I am beginning to believe it is not. This is a tough decision for me since I have wanted to visit Germany on an extended stay to immerse myself in the language. I don’t really have a good method of keeping those language skills up in a remote Arizona town of 12,000 people with half of them living here part time.
It is a complicated decision for me because I don’t like quitting on important goals and I would feel as though I am closing a chapter in my life. I also don’t want to give up because something is hard for me.
I am in a holding pattern while I reflect on my German Language goal
In a week, I will see my youngest daughter’s High School Graduation ceremony in Colorado. I need to think about this German language goal over the next couple of weeks to see if it is realistic and if the end justifies the work of my studying. I have mentioned before that some slow travel on Amtrak has a way of clarifying some questions and providing me some answers. Maybe I will get some clarity on my train trip.
I have been successful with setting big goals in the past and have been able to stay focused on them for many years. Becoming debt free and Financially Independent would not have happened without these big goals in place.
I do plan to continue to study for half an hour per day to keep the momentum going. It just bugs me that if I don’t do anything later with travel or family, maybe I am wasting my time. For now, I feel compelled to study as much as possible.
Perhaps it is time to start golfing again or take up other hobbies.
Folks, have you ever had big goals that your wonder if they were worth achieving? Have you changed a goal midstream and found it difficult to do?
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