Time management Monday: When trying to have goals can actually be counterproductive

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These days, goal-setting is everywhere you look. You should have daily goals; weekly goals; monthly goals; year goals; 3 and 5 and 10 year goals; and lifetime goals.

That’s great if you have your goals figured out; go get ’em!

But if you don’t have it all figured out yet, do not beat yourself up about it!

Let me say that again: it’s okay not to have an exact plan.

It’s actually pretty rare that people are able to set a clear path for themselves, especially after graduation. While you are in school, you know exactly which classes you need to take and which criteria you need to fulfull in order to get your diploma. Once you are out of school though, life rarely has such a clear and defined path.

Experiment. Try things. Fail. Try again, or try something else. See what you like and what you don’t. Learn life lessons. That’s all part of growing, living, and figuring things out.

You might not know right now if someday you want to own a house, travel to Tanzania, or learn how to sail.

Let me tell you a secret. Ready?

It’s more important to have a general idea of what you want and don’t want (even if it’s not very specific), know your values, and then leave yourself open to opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong: if you know what you want to do in your life, do everything you can to work toward that.

But if you don’t know (and many people don’t), work toward giving yourself the best possible opportunities.

That means:

Whatever your job is, do it as well as you possibly can. Even if it’s not something you want to do long-term, this job will help you get your next job.

Make contacts, build a network, get out there and see what’s available.

And try new things! Keep an open mind, look for opportunities, and explore the possibilities. You never know where life will take you.

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