‘Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it’ is a quote we’re all familiar with. Although from an unknown source these few words carry a strong message.
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Sure, we all wonder what it would be like to have a perfect life – happiness, contentment, that house, that car or that relationship, but what if we actually achieved that perfection – then what? While it’s good to dream big and strive for what we want, we can also set the bar way too high and find ourselves frustrated and defeated when we can’t seem to reach it. We spend our days in a constant state of ‘wanting.’
What we need in order to keep our feet on the ground is to set realistic expectations and include a series of milestones. Just like taking a road trip, we have a destination in mind but we also need to make getting there an enjoyable undertaking. If we could snap our fingers and be there in an instant, think of all the fun things we would miss out on. That’s why we take the scenic route or stop for a break. Then if something should happen to prevent us from reaching our destination, well at least we’ve had some positive experiences along the way.
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And so it is with our life’s journey. We may want that great house, but it’s still a few years away, so what can we do in the meantime? We can enjoy the wait more if we break that journey up with other, smaller goals - maybe a savings target – then once we reach that we invest the money and watch it work for us toward our larger goal. How about a rental property in the area where we eventually want to buy? That way we can get to know our community, start the kids at the local school and join in local activities. All these milestones make the journey to our main goal more enjoyable and realistic.
If your goal is a perfect relationship then I’m sorry to tell you that you will never reach it (remember I said realistic goals?) What is more important is to create a life where you feel happy and fulfilled without the dependence on finding the great relationship. If you are in a good place, have friends and fulfillment in other ways, then the right relationship will come along and it will be a journey in itself.
So what is your big picture goal? Mine, for example, is to retire from work and spend my time writing. If I were to live my days just wishing for that to happen then I’d be completely miserable, and if by some miracle of fate I won the lotto and retired tomorrow, I might find that I was unprepared. It takes time to build that experience.
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So I’m keeping the destination in mind and setting milestones along the way. I have reduced my working hours and can spend more time concentrating on writing. I seek out opportunities to improve my craft and to build a reputation as a writer. Each piece of work published or writing competition I win is a milestone and makes the distance between the now and the supreme goal seem that much shorter.
Think about your big picture goal and whether it is a realistic one. If not then you may need to re-think, but if it is do-able but will take some time and effort, find ways to set milestones that will make the journey more enjoyable and help you to arrive at your destination well-prepared.