The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists the synonyms of goal as “aim, ambition, aspiration, bourne (also bourn), design, dream, end, idea, ideal, intent, intention, mark, meaning, object, objective, plan, point, pretension, purpose, target…” Your goal may change during different stages of your life and at times you may have more than one. Your family, environment, job, health and religious beliefs can all influence what you consider your purpose in life. You want to be true to yourself, but life has a way of interfering with your plans. Perhaps you face a health issue and need to rethink your objectives for the future. You can’t continue working or must rely on others for assistance after a life of independence. You need to readjust your goals to fit in with your circumstances and ability to do what you need to do. If you’ve been living life taking care of others, you may now need to focus on yourself.
Your physical, cognitive, and mental health depend on you having something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be a world-saving goal, just one that makes you get out of bed every morning and look forward to the day. Some people make some sort of appointment or find an activity to get them out of the house. If you’re still working and hate your job you may need something that gives you a lift each day like a walk at lunch time so you can enjoy the fresh air, relieve your stress and get some exercise.
Your purpose needs to be something that will improve your life in some way. It can still be helping other but you should get something out of it like a sense of pride or well-being. These are intangible rewards and sometimes you need something tangible. I plan trips to help me achieve my goal of visiting all of the places I want to see before travel becomes difficult. It’s not the only goal I have in life, but when I’m feeling down or bored, it brightens my day.
Here’s how even this small goal benefits me.
- It keeps my mind active by researching the places I want to visit, airfares, accommodations and things to see and do while I’m there.
- I keep engaged with family and friends. Planning a trip to visit them is one way to accomplish this, but I also like to take them with me. Sometimes we stay at my timeshare and other times we take a tour or cruise. When I have a question I can’t find an answer to on my own or want the opinion of someone else, I call someone I know who’s been there or used a service like Uber or Airbnb.
- I also make new contacts when I ask for help or information. At the moment I’m planning a tour with a tour planner for a trip to England where some of my favorite mystery writers got their inspiration for such fascinating characters as Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, and Inspectors Morse and Lewis. You can find out more about it on my Single Boomer Life Facebook Page.
- I develop new interests. Every time I start planning a trip I get side tracked while I’m doing research. I try to keep my mind open to ways I can make the trip more interesting and I explore new areas I find on related websites. The plan for the British mystery writers trip was born out of the desire to write a novel of my own, my love of British mystery novels and TV crime shows in addition to my desire to explore London, Oxford, Devon and Cornwall. I was watching a video about Agatha Christie’s home when I found it was near Port Isaac, the setting of my favorite TV show Doc Martin. I couldn’t find any tours that went everywhere I wanted to go and I wasn’t too keen on learning how to drive on the left side of the road, so I decided to plan one myself. This opened up many new avenues to research.
- It keeps me positive and looking ahead to a bright future full of adventure.
- When the time for the trip arrives I’ll have a sense of accomplishment from seeing my plan come together. I’ll also get to meet new people and explore the places I’ve read about and seen on TV and in movies.
- When I finish the trip I’ll have the memories of a new and exciting adventure. I feel experiences are more valuable to me than material goods. They never go out of style or break. As Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
This is a short term goal, but it’ll keep me entertained and engaged for over a year. In the meantime, I have goals I want to work toward in other areas such as finding my ancestors in Italy, spending more time with my grandchildren and getting healthy and fit. My goals change often, but I make them attainable and if I tire of them or just cannot meet them, I move on. I don’t want to wallow in the fact I didn’t achieve them. I just make new ones. I may come back to the old plans when the time is right, but I leave the door open to new ideas and dreams.
Travel may not be your dream but you can apply this principal to any goal. The point is to find what interests you and set a goal to achieve. Give yourself a timeline and date of completion. It keeps you motivated and accountable.
Continue the adventure!