I don't know where I'm goin' but I sure know where I've been (no goals?)

I don't know where I'm goin' but I sure know where I've been (no goals?)
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(Wilson Ng) #1

My struggles and journey with making goals.

Well, sometimes having no goals can be an interesting journey. I go where the wind blows and see where it takes me. Is it a shock? Most definitely.

I remembered listening to an old GTD Virtual Study Group podcasting with Leo Babauta as the guest. He shocked the audience when he said he had no goals… :open_mouth:

https://zenhabits.net/no-goal/

https://zenhabits.net/goal-less/

After listening to the podcast, I thought to myself “WTF did I just listen to? Living life without goals? How is this possible when I was raised up thinking that I’m supposed to know what I’m gonna do when I grow up?”

I’ve always been a pretty laid back kinda guy. I was a young adult just graduated from college. Still single and wanting to remain free. My friend asked me “WTF do you wanna do in life, Wil?”

“How the hell should I know? I’ll know when I get there.”

He jinxed me and laughed. “Wait until you get married and have kids. That’ll give you goals!” He said. Argh… it was prophetic. I’ve already done all the traveling and gaining passport stamps in my 20s. I found a steady girlfriend (ahem, someone I stayed with for more than 6 months) and eventually married her and have two wonderful daughters. It’s interesting to see my purpose change n life. I gotta learn how to shepherd my kids into adulthood, become a responsible adult (ha!), and be a good husband to my awesome wife!

My goals usually come up at night right before sleep when my wife and I engage in pillow talk after the kids have drifted into sleep. My goals are fluid and made in cooperation with my wife. She drags me along towards our destination when I start slacking. My kids keep me on the straight and narrow.

Goals will take me to places I never thought I’d arrive at.

As David Coverdale once sang …


I don’t know where I’m going
But I sure know where I’ve been
Hanging on the promises
In songs of yesterday

And I’ve made up my mind,
I ain’t wasting no more time

Here I go again
Here I go again

Though I keep searching for an answer,
I never seem to find what I’m looking for
Oh, Lord, I pray
You give me strength to carry on…


So I’ve sometimes found it hard to define my goals. My life experiences take me in an adventure that have led me to my current goals. Future choices and events will lead to even more goals. I can be patient and wait for goals to appear right before my very eyes.

Maybe it’s not so bad when you’re 18 years old and don’t know what you’re gonna do. You’ll find it eventually. Goals will come to you soon enough.


(Joe Buhlig) #2

I’ve learned that I need to marinate on my ideas for goals across the span of a couple weeks before I can decide what I want them to be. Trying to nail them down in one sitting is simply too stressful and most of the time, wrong.

My process might be a bit of a consolidation of what you’re getting at here. You need some time to figure out where you want to head but you also can’t stay in limbo forever. You still need to decide. The trick here is being willing to adapt and change those goals. I have zero qualms with completely obliterating a goal and rewriting it if it means I’m headed in a better direction. But even then, it feels wrong because you should set them and be done. It’s fine to do that but I fear it often becomes an excuse for not moving on something important and quickly.


(Wilson Ng) #3

Sometimes I’ll get an epiphany about what I want. It appears like a flash from out of nowhere. I would be blindsided. That’s when I start on a new path and stew on my on my goal planning. We won’t ever know what the road looks like ahead. I’ve experienced crossroads where I get laid off from a job only to find a new opportunity that I’ve never even thought of exploring before. Or I finally had enough of a situation and define my new goal because I’m ready for a change. That’s when I create my goals.

But I guess the crucial idea is to open doors and see where it takes you. Plan your goals. I’ve been to college and got my bachelor’s degree but took a left turn and went down another path. This created new goals for me as I put previous goals to bed.

I think it was just frustrating for me when people tell me I have to have goals. But it might take a life event or something major to kickstart my goals and ultimately lead me to my life purpose!

Yes, I have small goals for the next 3 years. I guess those 3 year goals will eventually lead me to my life purpose. I think I know where I’m going of the next couple of years and I guess that’s good enough for now.


(Wilson Ng) #4

I think it’s a matter of slowly going up the higher horizons of focus in the GTD terminology. I have to first get control of my next actions at the runway level. Then I can start to master projects. After that, I can get up to areas of responsibilities. I don’t have the GTD book in front of me right now but I think goals is next level for me to get comfortable with. Ultimately I’ll get to life purpose. But for now, I’m enjoying the journey towards goal creation and going higher.

One workflow I’ve been playing with now is here.

https://community.productivityguild.com/t/the-higher-horizons/1055?u=wilsonng


(Wilson Ng) #5

Yet another early morning ramble.

Slowly starting to see the horizon.

I think I’ve been working so long for my family that those became my goals. But i didn’t really take time to develop my goals. I’m not quite yet at the empty nest stage that will be coming up in 10 years. Starting up a family and maintaining it has been the focus of my life for the past decade. Now that I no longer have to change diapers and the kids are growing up and able to assume some household chores, this year has given me time to start turning my focus towards stewing and dreaming up my own goals. Life has this strange habit of taking us along for a ride and I forgot which stream I originally started with. But I re-orient myself once the flood waters have subsided and I can get a better idea of where I am in life and where I’m heading towards.

I think my worries were about having goals for “others” meant that I had to put aside my own “personal” goals.

The last 10 years was focused on starting a family, building up a College 529 plan for the kids, renovating my parents’ house, and developing a side job that provides additional family has taken most of my attention.

Now that things have stabilized, I can start developing my goals for the next 3-10 years.

My worries that my “other people’s goals” had overtaken my personal goals is slowly going away. I just put my personal goals into “someday/maybe” status but now I’m able to start re-activating them after a 10 year slumber or actually redesigning my goals because my perspectives have changed. What was important 10 years ago (buying a Lamborghini, ha!) is no longer important. There are other things that have become more important now.

It’s interesting to see where Life has taken me and where I am going now.

My original post pondered about “what happened to my original goals.” Now I can work on creating new goals and exciting milestones to hit now that I’m 10 years older. Now that things have settled down, it’s time to redefine myself and set new goals in life!

To infinity and beyond! Let’s see where Life goes!