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“The value of a future goal is the present change it fosters.”

I came across the above quote while reading David Allen’s book Ready for Anything.

I’m a very goal oriented person. I always have some sort of project I’m working on, another two or three in the hopper, and I’m constantly thinking up new possibilities. I feel lost without something to be working toward. These projects and goals range from the professional (get 2 new clients in April) to personal (schedule a vacation) to both (update this blog on a regular basis.) My goals can be mundane (back up my hard drive) or pie in the sky dreams (write a book). It doesn’t really matter how large or small the goal is, all that matters is having one.

If you’re not as goal oriented as I am, here’s a summary of an article about how to become so:

  1. Set your goals
  2. List small steps toward each
  3. Track your progress
  4. Celebrate your achievements
  5. Think about a new goal

Why do you need a goal? As David Allen writes, “Its value is not actually about achieving something in time, but rather about how it changes the substance and quality of the decisions you’re making in the moment. It affects what you choose to perceive, feel, and do in the present.”

In other words, if my goal is to lose 5 pounds by March 31st, I’m that much less likely to overindulge in the office candy jar than if I simply want to lose weight. The first is a goal, the last is a wish. And as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much time to wish as it does to plan.”

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1 thought on ““The value of a future goal is the present change it fosters.””

  1. Hey, my goal today was put away clean laundry and clean up kitchen papers. Even though i was sick and took a long nap in there, i was able to do all that and do dishes, too. I still look at a stack of papers left over from the summer show time, but at least my stack isn’t growing and every once in a while, i work on those too. I just can’t seem to set a goal of when those papers will be gone. i’ve got too many other goals ahead of that.

    Thankfully, my cat now uses her cat bed which is on my desk. i guess covering the desk with slippery papers helped with that!

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