What are my goals in life? What does it mean to have these goals and how should I manage/prioritize them? I have been thinking about the things I aspire for in my life, things I want to do or be during my time here. I have been starting to realize that goals change, things happen and achieving all of your goals is probably impossible as they begin to conflict (or you are a very focused and driven person). When I begin to think about the goals that conflict and learning that the decision needs to be/has already been made and giving up on one of these goals is a tough idea.

A simple example would be the goal of playing ultimate Frisbee in college and the goal of being healthy. After my doctor informed me that I would not be able to run again after my back surgery, it was tough. But it was necessary, I mean what is more important, being able to play a sport for a few years or to correct a physical issue that would potentially get worse if I waited? But giving up on that goal was still difficult because passing up a short term desire for something that is better in the long term makes sense, but that doesn’t make it easy. I still feel a large amount of regret for what could have been and what is (I cannot run any long distance without needing to walk and the time it takes is almost laughable, I could run faster for longer when I was an awkward 13).

I have begun to realize that this need to put goals aside/give up on them is going to happen a lot more. I am getting married in a week, that was not even a goal of mine a few years ago. I never really decided that I had to get married. I was not one of those girl hungry teenagers who would do anything for a girlfriend. But Kim just kind of fell into my lap in that I was not looking to find someone to date, I just met a girl, we got along, it felt right to try dating, and 4+ years later, here we are. I guess marrying her became a goal later on. With it, a lot of other goals have, and need to be abandoned/modified.

I feel like I need to set up a ritual, on the first of every month (or every other month) I need to make a list of all of my goals, all of them. This means short term things, like cleaning the refrigerator or learning a new programming language, and long term things, like career aspirations or athletic goals (since my being able to run 5 miles at an 8 minute pace isn’t happening any time soon). This gives a chance to then rank them in terms of desire to achieve them and chance to. Things like working for Google would be low, as that would probably require a move (the Chicago office is not very big for software engineers and the things that they do work on are not things I am interested in) and I think that would conflict with some of the other goals we have (for now). It also allows me for a chance to assess the requirements for some of the long term goals (like learning Japanese for my desire to live in Japan). I feel like if I do not keep my sites on my dreams and aspirations, a few years will go by and I will suddenly realize that I am missing some of the time I could use to work towards these things, maybe even miss them entirely, and regret that fact.

I have tried this in some form for the past year, trying to assess what I need to do for some long term goals. But the lack of structure and my not clearly writing down and defining each goal have made it ineffective. I have an idea in my head of what they could be, but it is still a chaotic mess of ideas. Time to organize and understand what all is flying around in there.