30 Things before Thirty
Don’t get stuck in your plan – Goal Flexibility
Keeping theme with welcoming in the new year I have another post about setting goals! January is the best time to do that, gives you a fresh start.This lesson that I learned is very similar to the very first one I wrote about in this series, stubbornness. This one is about not getting stuck in your life’s plan, to ensure flexibility. This one was an incredibly hard lesson for me to learn. I hope that I will continue to live this way and realize that flexibility is one of the keys to happiness.
What do I mean by that? I mean that if we let ourselves plan and plan and plan out our future, no matter what, we will be disappointed. Why would we be disappointed? Nothing is a sure thing and sometimes we find out too late that those plans aren’t what actually make us happy. Am I speaking from experience? I sure am!
There are three different definitions for flexibility in the dictionary. The first one states that it is “the quality of bending easily without breaking.” The second is “the ability to be easily modified.” And the third is ”willingness to change or compromise.” All three of these can be applied when it comes to goal setting. Being able bend to meet the needs of the goal without breaking. To modify as you go. And to change or compromise when it comes down to the wire.
I mentioned in my first post (find it here) that if I wouldn’t have been so stubborn in college that I would have taken a different career path. I found a little late that I wanted to be a writer. But here I am, hustling to make that happen. So even though I realized it late, I’m still putting different plans in place in order to achieve a new set of goals.
There are some other personal goals that I had that really disappointed me. When I was younger (i.e. in high school) I expected that I would be married and have kids by my early to mid twenties. Here I am, six months from thirty and neither of those major life events has happened. And besides being disappointed by it, it actually caused some depression in my life. That’s another reason that flexibility is key to happiness. I still have that intention to get married and have kids, but setting a time frame on it can lead to disaster.
Another facet of this lesson that I learned is, because I am one of those people that will plan and research things to death, that flexibility in goal setting is also a stress preventer. If you imagine your goal as this wave that ebbs and flows instead of a stone structure that is mighty and unmoving, then you can find happiness in any result you achieve. Stress prevention has become equally as important with age due to the fact that my perspective has changed as well as my priorities.
I think that this also applies when you give yourself limits or time frames or very specific expectations. Giving yourself some wiggle room at some aspect of the goal. Also considering options or circumstances that could go awry so that you have a plan for every circumstance in case you need one.
Why was this lesson so hard for me to learn? I think that stubbornness and letting our minds be our biggest roadblock is something that I come back to time and time again. If something went wrong in my life or plans didn’t end up as intended, but stubbornness wouldn’t always just let me go with the flow. I was constantly uptight about it, constantly willing it to go my way.
I already mentioned some of my goals that ended up being disappointments for me, but what would I have changed about them if I would have had this knowledge beforehand? Well I first of all wouldn’t have put a time limit on something that was far beyond my control. Even though I still want those things, I’ve decided to let nature run its course. I also would have ignored my stubborn voice. That annoying “I’m better than anyone” little voice in the back of your head. I wish I could shake eighteen year old Cassie and tell her to wake up! Make changes earlier so it’s not harder to backtrack.
How I Set Flexible Goals
So knowing these things, have I changed the way I set goals? Yes! So now I write down all the aspects of the goal. From the goal itself to the plan to the outcome. Try to think of ways that the goal could be diverted from and how I would be able to get back on track. I also think of alternative goals in case something that I want doesn’t pan out. I just keep moving forward.
Have you experienced something similar with your rigid goals? Or are you just excited to make some new ones for the New Year Leave a comment below or come find me on twitter! Its my favorite place to connect with readers.