Why I Stopped Making Long-Term Goals

mountain goals

Almost everyone bases their lives off of a script.

These are often cultural checkpoints of what you should be doing at certain ages. Sadly, most of us mindlessly squeeze ourselves into these one-size-fits-all, culturally conditioned life scripts.

There are even massive disadvantages with creating your own long-term script. In doing so, you’re assuming that you know what is best for your future self based upon your limited perspective right now. That’s a dangerous assumption.

A caterpillar cannot even imagine what it is capable of as a butterfly. (Well, that’s if caterpillars even imagine in the first place.) If you’re continuously learning and growing, your present self can hardly imagine what your perspective will be in the future.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to have an idea of their life purpose. However, you step into your true potential when you focus on the daily process of it and allow your journey to change as you change.

The Perspective Discrepancy

We gain more experience and perspective as you go through life. Well, hopefully. If you’re not continuously learning and growing, what are you doing with your life?

You will be able to see from a wider perspective as you accumulate knowledge and experience. So why make rigid long-term plans from your limited perspective right now?

Focus on climbing the mountain in front of you, then from the panoramic view on top, choose your next mountain to climb. Don’t make self-binding decisions from the valley.

Most people do this with their careers. Think about it; the 19 year old you made a decision (choosing a college major) that you think you’re bound to for the rest of your life. Many people find themselves unfulfilled and in a mid-life crisis saying “I majored in Accounting and I can’t change that now. So here I am.” You always have the ability to change, especially with careers in the modern western world. Give yourself permission to change or be relegated to the purgatory of self-imposed monotony. Again, career is an obvious example, but this applies to absolutely every aspect of life.

If I set rigid life goals when I was 19, they would’ve been very different from what I would want now. I had a limited perspective then, with little real world experience, little self-awareness and I was completely possessed by my own ego and fears. Sticking to a long-term life plan I made then would be like making a fixed commitment to meet a friend for a cup of coffee at Uncommon Grounds in Saratoga Springs, New York on February 4th of next year at exactly 2:00PM. Who knows if we’ll be in the same place then? Who knows if I’ll like coffee then? Who knows if we’ll even be friends then?

Staying Open to Opportunity

Give yourself the flexibility to recalibrate what you want to do.

Stay open and things will unfold serendipitously in ways you never would’ve calculated. Opportunities will pop up that you never would’ve expected. Give yourself some flexibility to change as new possibilities present themselves.

If you stubbornly hold yourself to a rigid plan or goal, you’re cutting off possibility. Move in the direction you wish to travel in, yet be aware of the doors that unexpectedly open along the way.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
– Joseph Campbell

Create Shorter Term Goals

Make your goals actionable and for the near-future (within a year or two).

However, don’t focus on your goals on a daily basis… Focus on the process or system! I can’t stress this enough. Set goals but focus on the daily habits that bring you in that direction. Most people never achieve goals (even easily accomplishable ones) because they don’t implement an actionable daily practice.

For example, let’s say you want to write a book (something a lot of people say they want to do). You don’t have to commit to being a lifelong author to do this. What most people do is say that they have a book idea and never do anything about it (like with most goals). The result is being paralyzed with inaction because they think of a goal yet have no tangible way of implementing it. There is no action to take right now, so it gets ignored indefinitely. Instead of this, focus on a system to bring you towards the goal. This could be writing for 30 minutes every day. Anyone can write a book in 6 months or less if they create a habit of writing for just 30 minutes each and every day.

With this systems approach, each daily practice becomes a mini-step, meaning you can reassess everything continuously. Then after you achieve what you want, you can focus on the process to bring you towards another short/medium-term goal.

After you achieve a short/medium-term goal, you’ll be a new and improved person. From this higher perspective, you can set new goals and recalibrate your direction.

Learn to love the process of life. Be open, flexible, flowing and willing to change along the way.

Enjoy the journey. Revel in the mysterious serendipity of it all.

Much Love.

– Stevie P!
 

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2

The Purpose Formula

gate

What’s your purpose in life?

Why are you here? What drives you? What keeps you going?

Have you ever thought about it?

Do you even know the direction you wish to head in?

As humans, we need some sort of purpose in order to be truly happy and have a deep sense of fulfillment in life.

Without a clear purpose, we find ourselves floundering, paralyzed by indecisiveness, drowning in existential dread and living out other people’s dreams instead of our own.

Life is a journey and purpose gives us a direction to travel in. It provides a central theme to our journey.

The journey of life is filled with mystery, unpredictability and spontaneous changes. So while it’s crucial to have purpose, it’s also important to surrender to the process.

Your purpose isn’t fixed. It can change and evolve as you change and evolve. The only constant is change, so it’s a good idea to periodically reevaluate your purpose, especially when starting new chapters in life.

Your purpose can be very simple as well. It doesn’t have to be something grandiose like being president or being a billionaire (those things don’t necessarily make life fulfilling anyway), it can be as simple as cultivating a beautiful garden or as familiar as being the best parent you can be.

Here’s a hint regarding purpose: Your purpose is most likely going to involve helping others in some way. We’re social beings and giving just feels good. If you get really honest with yourself, you’ll realize that the things that give you the most fulfillment have something to do with giving, sharing and connection.

For a clearer idea of your purpose (or purposes) in life, I highly recommend reading the following article and truthfully answering all of the questions: Reveal Your Life’s Purpose by Asking These 15 Questions.

The Power of Purpose

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.
– Viktor Frankl

 
It’s incredibly important to find meaning in life, as a sense of purpose is an undercurrent to genuine happiness and fulfillment. Research in positive psychology shows that people who feel a sense of purpose (or meaningfulness) have less physical pain, less anxiety, less stress, less depression and have reduced tendencies toward substance abuse. It’s no coincidence that one of the major commonalities of centenarians (people who live over 100 years) is a sense of purpose. With centenarians, purpose is often tied to religious faith, but it doesn’t have to be. Anyone can find purpose no matter what their beliefs are.

Purpose is like a magic wand. If you feel stuck in any area of life, wave your magic wand of purpose. If you feel depressed, reevaluate and reestablish your purpose with conviction. If you feel anxious, shift your thinking towards your purpose. And really feel it too. Feel that sense of purpose in the depths of your nervous system, igniting your body, mind and spirit. By focusing on your purpose, you naturally shed everything that’s not in alignment with it.

Find a real purpose that’s going to give you the strength to keep it going, no matter what the fuck you go through; no matter what obstacle presents itself.
– Crooked I

 
When in doubt, focus on your purpose. It works.

Mark Twain why you were born

The Purpose Formula

I came up with this technique, which I call “The Purpose Formula.” It is designed to give you a clear sense of purpose and how to move in that direction on a daily basis. Here’s what to do…

The Steps
1. Write down your personal mission statement for your life (in one sentence). This is your big picture purpose to always keep in mind.
2. Choose 6-10 major categories in life (see my example below).
3. Write your purpose for each category (there can be more than one per category).
4. Next to each purpose, write down a habit, routine or tangible things you can do every day (or every week) to move in that direction.
5. Do it! Implement the habits you’ve outlined, focusing on your most important one first.

My Purpose Formula

(Note: I wrote this first, which actually led me to develop The Purpose Formula, so I’m sharing the prelude which created the catharsis for me as well)

Now, since I’m beginning a new chapter of my book, I want to set clear intentions. I want to set a clear direction to head in, to use the metaphor of a road trip.

I need a big picture purpose, but also something that translates into tangible daily actions.

Personal Mission Statement:
Continuously expand my perspective and inspire the hearts of others.

Health:

  • Eat natural, local food – Go to Farmer’s markets at least once per week.
  • Balance alcohol consumption – Limit 2 drinks (good craft beers of course) per night out then switch to water or club soda.

Fitness:

  • Get even leaner and stronger – HIIT every morning, walk a lot, bodyweight workouts 5x per week (improving each workout).
  • Become more flexible – Stretch every morning, yoga at least 2x per week.

Spiritual Progression:

  • Meditate more – Meditate every morning upon waking and afternoon/night as well.

Writing:

  • Continuously improve and express myself through writing – One blog post per week, work towards the completion of a book every day.

Career:

  • Writing – Continuous improvement, expressing potent truths, inspiring and entertaining (daily practices outlined in Writing section).
  • Inspire more people – Through writing, making videos (every day), creating more courses and just living my truth in daily life.
  • Expand my healing abilities – Meditate more, promote my online coaching and Reiki practice. Spark that brilliance within people in a one on one setting
  • Other – Getting involved in other projects that resonate with me to earn more money, learn new skills and broaden my life experience (ex/ freelance writing opportunities).

Relationships:

  • Attract a beautiful partner to learn and grow with – Embody the qualities of a person I wish to attract, do things I love and don’t hesitate to say hi or reach out to people.
  • Attract or find a tribe and deep relationships – See above.
  • Deepen my connection with friends and family – Speak my inner truth. Embrace human connection. Reach out to people. Genuinely be interested in them. Be there to help. Show gratitude. Never hold back genuine compliments.

Travel:

  • See more of the world – Visit places that are calling me. Plan an interesting trip within the next 6 months.

Nature:

  • Hike more – Hike a mountain or trail at least once per week.
  • Connect with nature – Visit a cool natural place at least twice per week (park, body of water, hiking, ocean…etc.).

Knowledge:

  • Read more books – PhotoRead at least one book per week. Read every night too.

A Note on Habits

Attempting to establish multiple new habits at once will just overwhelm you. So if you outline your Purpose Formula and see that you have several new habits which you want to implement, focus on one habit at a time.

Also, make sure that the habits you outline are as simple and easy as possible. If habits are not simple and easy (especially at first), they can become intimidating and you probably won’t stick to it.

Set one habit in one area of life as your priority and focus on creating that habit first. Once it becomes embedded and is second nature to you, then move on to implementing a new habit. Habits take 66 days to become automatic, so implement a habit for at least 66 days before starting a new habit. Remember, your purpose is the epitome of a long-term endeavor, so there’s no need to rush.

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
– Bill Gates

 
Know where you’re headed and embrace the journey.

Now I’ll leave you with the obvious question: What’s your purpose?

Much love.

– Stevie P!

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