Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tips for figuring out what you really want to do

Goal setting.  I hate those words, mostly because I didn't do any of it for most of my adult life.  I just struggled along, doing the same things day after day, hoping that something wonderful would magically appear and change everything for the better.  On my 40th birthday, I remember thinking that I still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up...and I was already 'up'.  I had a lot of angst when I hit my 50th birthday and was still thinking the same thing!  As soon as I accepted that I really was happier with a different way of living, life was better!

If you want some changes in your life, you have to be willing to make some changes.  Now, I love those words.

First things first.  Make a list of 20 things you like to do.  Sounds easy, but by the time you get to #15, you might be struggling to figure out the last five.  Some things might cost a lot, but there should be some that are either free or cheap.  You might not presently be able to do everything on your list, but you should be able to do some of them right away. 

After taking some time to ponder the things you like to do, take another look at your list.  Do you see any kind of pattern there?  What makes you happy?  I realized that I was happy when I was doing anything creative or gardening.  I just loved getting my hands dirty with some project.  I loved making something wonderful from trash or junk that other people would throw away.  (I had a blast one day making little denim looking pots with dryer lint clay.)  But I digress.  Again, what makes you happy?  You would probably be happy in a related field of work.  The trick is having the job that makes you happy and living within that income, but you can do it.  Like I said in the previous post, don't compare yourself to others.  Focus on your own goals, your own situation and look for ways for improvement.

Now make a list of what you need to get some more things on your 'happy' list. This is the goal setting part.  By the way, winning the Lottery is not a goal.  Pick a couple smaller goals to start with. Which thing do you have to have first, the one thing that will help you get the next one?  Sort out the list and write it down. 

Repeat after me:
If you want some changes in your life, you have to be willing to make some changes.

Break those smaller goals down into even smaller, more manageable steps. Then after each one, write down all the different ways you could obtain each one.  Write down all the silly, impractical ways, too - beg, borrow, barter, rent, steal.  That might help you come up with new ways of acquiring what you need.
Use your local library or computer to research step one, then step two, etc.  Use words like 'open source' or 'free' in your keyword search phrase.  Be specific about what you need or want.  If you're still researching the same steps after a month or two, then you're just procrastinating.  You can be the most well read person about what you'd like to do, but it doesn't amount to anything if you just read about it.

Now act on it.  Then do the next step.

Spending hours on Facebook playing FarmTown every day might be loads of fun and leave you full of satisfaction, but five years from now, you'll still be sitting in the same chair, working the same crappy job and wondering why life isn't any better.  I loved my son's comment when I asked him how he got so much 'free' money for top notch education and travel.  He said, "Some people get on the computer and play games.  I get on the computer and look for deals."  Point taken.  One of his goals was to visit every continent on the planet Earth.  He's currently teaching overseas, travels extensively...always with an eye on the next goal. 

I chose a different path.  I finally have my little 4 acres in the country, a boatload of critters to care for, as much garden space as I would ever want or need and places to do my sloppy creative projects while living in a construction zone.  I try to be as self sustainable as possible so the money I make from my business website will be all I need for a job - working just a few hours a month. For this I gave up a crappy sales rep job complete with high heels and two hours of doing my fingernails every weekend. 

And my chosen lifestyle?  I've never worked harder in my life...or been happier.  But I do miss Farmtown.


  1. Just found your blog, Marianne, and I'm loving it! Good job and keep it up - some of us need to live vicariously through you, lol.