Great Expectations

Have you ever given thought to what life will be like when you accomplish your goal? I bet if you have, you’re picturing a rosy, perfect life filled with happiness and joy, right? Now get realistic and think about what it’ll really be like. Where will the results of your actions lead you?
There are a couple of goals that I personally have that sound great — but even after I reach my goal, I’ll still be putting in a lot of work to maintain things and keep myself in that “rosy, perfect life.” For example, one of my goals was to start a family. Well, I’m just about there. And yes, I’m very happy that my little baby boy is almost here. But guess what? With that comes sleepless nights, mess and noise, stress and worry. So much for picture perfect. And yet, it was what I wanted. So where did my goal get me?
I’ll give you another example. When changing my career, I made the decision to focus on my writing. And the perfect life I picture will enable me to work at home, be there for my children and make a name for myself. But what will that life really bring me? Any kind of self employment brings its share of headaches when it comes to cash flow, keeping yourself motivated and disciplined, and balancing work and life. And, yes, I’ll be there for my children — all the time. Meaning I won’t get that mental break parents who work outside of the home get. I’ll be the one to soothe boo-boos and pick them up when they’re sick at school. I’ll have to deal with arguments and yelling and general rowdiness. Not exactly idyllic.
So where do your goals lead you?
Now I’m not trying to discourage you from accomplishing your goals. I just don’t want you to think that the goal is the only thing to think about. If you focus only on one thing, one point in time, you’ll be disappointed — not only on the way there as you’re frustrated with not being there yet, but also when you get there when you realize it’s not everything you had imagined in your rosy picture. Being realistic will keep you grounded, and keep you focused on what’s really important. Life is filled with good and bad, in balance. As long as there’s more good than bad, I’d say you’re pretty lucky!
In the meantime, while you’re striving for your goals, you can also prepare yourself to make reality even more pleasant. Being realistic will help you lay the foundation for a happier life, as you set yourself up for success instead of disappointment.
With my first example above, I can be more prepared by researching child rearing. I can be prepared with things I’ll need for less-than-perfect situations — like thermometers, diaper rash cream and more. And I can learn relaxation techniques for when he really tries my patience. With my second example, I can be more prepared by coming up with a finance plan, learning time management skills and really doing some soul-searching when it comes to determining what’s important to me.
No matter what your goal, or the challenges that will face you even after you reach it, cutting yourself some slack and accepting that life isn’t perfect — and never will be — will help you enjoy life for what it is. There will be a lot of good moments, worthwhile moments, that make you happy. But accepting that it won’t all be perfect will help make the wonderful little moments all that much sweeter.
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