Achieving Your Goals

I’ve been thinking a lot today (it’s Monday, so therefore inevitable that I have to take stock of my life and decide if it’s going ok or not), and I have decided that part of the reason I am not spectacularly good at any one thing is because I like to do everything. I’m interested in too much. There just isn’t enough time in the week to learn piano, learn German, take amazing photos, exercise lots, learn to ice-skate, make funny and entertaining home movies, cook 7 wondrously healthy meals, spend hours pampering myself in the bathroom, make my own clothes, make my own soap, write a novel, learn the inner secrets of Linux, read a couple of books, improve my C++ knowledge, write some software, trace my family tree, complete a few more levels on the latest computer game, update my website and do enough yoga to look like Madonna. I just can’t… s q u e e z e …. it …….all ……..IN!

So I end up feeling frazzled and failing to really achieve anything great.

I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now (about a couple of years), that to really do well at something, you have to do it to the exclusion of (at least some) other things. I remember reading a while ago: ”the way to get lots of things done, is to do them one thing at a time”. This makes sense to me deep down. But in reality, I get so easily excited and enthused by other projects, that I just can’t keep at one thing for any length of time. So am I doomed to be Jack of all Trades and Master of None forever? Hmm. I am beginning to question if perhaps I wouldn’t get more satisfaction out of my free time and hobbies if I just narrowed them down to the things I really, really loved. Or really, really wanted to be great at.

Except how can I narrow it down, when I really, really want to do them all? The other approach is to think more long term and decide on what I am going to concentrate on now. And then do just that and leave all the other hobbies in the cupboard. In 5 years time, when I am fluent in German, my newly acquired skill will need less time to keep sharp, so then I can get involved in something new on the list, with the added expertise of already having learnt something truly well (german yoga classes anyone?). But then I get that stress-inducing feeling inside me that I am not achieving enough because I am only concentrating on one thing, and what if I die before I get to the next one, or I change my mind about it, or I forget my enthusiasm for it, and so on and so on.

So the upshot of today’s soul searching (while I bumble through my latest project in the office, wait for my car to be serviced, and wonder exactly how long it will take me to set up my own business and work from home without facing poverty), is that I think I might have to rethink my goals, and streamline them to something more achievable, so that I can actually start seeing some fruition from my efforts instead of wondering why I never seem to get anything done.

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