Just about everyone I know has goals. Some are big, life changing goals. Some are smaller–more along the lines of baby step goals. Any wellness coach will tell you that goals are important. They motivate us toward change and enhance our lives. Without any aspirations, life can be a very unsatisfying experience.
I have begun to notice a trend lately that seems to be a little troubling. Some people seem to be losing perspective about their goals. Suddenly the goals seem to be the main reason for living, not as a tool for enhancing the overall experience. People seem to be so focused on achieving their goals that they seem to be losing the joy that comes from experiencing the current moment. While looking forward is important, it is equally important to look side to side, and see what is around you now, just not what could be.
Just a few days ago I heard from a woman who was about to leave on her very first European trip. She would be traveling for two weeks in Italy and France. Most people plan this type of vacation carefully, making sure they plot out all they want to see and visit, and making sure they will have time to do so. This woman is no exception. She had plotted out everything she wanted to do. She had even written the schedule in her calendar so she would stay on track.
The difference is that her vacation schedule consisted of workout blocks so she would stay on track with her fitness goals. I know fitness is very important to her, as it is to me. I have a consistent cardio schedule that some of my friends consider excessive, but it works for me. I also believe that there are times when it is alright to let my goals relax just a little. I suggested to her that she would be doing a lot of walking during her vacation and perhaps she didn’t need to bring the buns and thighs DVD for afternoon workouts. She wouldn’t budge. She said if she did, she would start to bulge
Now, I understand that everyone has their own priorities. It is just that in today’s driven world, we can be so easily swept up in the need to achieve a specific goal that we overlook what is around us. Without taking the time to stop and absorb our surroundings, we can miss so many things that could help make our lives a little richer. We are so used to taking our daily lives for granted that we miss a large part of what of what our lives actually consist of.
I think it is important to give ourselves permission every once in a while to let our drive toward achievement run in neutral now and again. The goals will still be there, and perhaps they will be enhanced by something we experience in the moment. Imagine what you could learn about another culture’s ideal of fitness and wellness while immersing yourself in a Parisian cafe along the Seine. Not the same experience you would get in the hotel gym.
Don’t ignore your goals. They are vital to personal satisfaction. Just don’t let them run your life. Make sure you define your goals and that they do not define you. It makes for a much richer existence if you allow yourself to savor the moments, and not rush through them on the way to the finish line. It might even make the finish line a little sweeter when you cross it.