Someday vs. Today

Most will agree on the importance of goal setting, as it allows you to focus on specific, measurable objectives. When setting a goal, you are reminded of what you wish to achieve. You can then focus your energy towards activities that are relevant to the specific goals, while minimizing distractions that throw you off track.

Note the use of the word YOU when discussing the significance of goals. YOU are able to focus on those things that YOU wish to achieve. Goals must be personal. We all have unique goals. Whether your goals focus on education, career, finance, fitness, or competitive events, these are YOUR goals. It is your life, so it’s natural that you have plans in place to achieve YOUR goals.

Sounds good, right?

While setting goals can be useful, there is a fine line between enough and too much. If you only focus on future goals, it is easy to overlook the present time. You may find yourself lost in the “someday” mentality. Someday I will do this, someday I will do that, someday I will become this, someday I will become that…

It’s as if you are constantly waiting for a future day that will change your life. You become certain that “someday” will bring happiness, but as soon as you reach one of your “someday” wishes, you shift gears to a new “someday” goal.

Don’t fall into this trap. Goal setting does not mean that we should forget about today. You should enjoy yourself as you work towards achieving your dreams. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. There will be a time in our lives when tomorrow does not come. This may sound gloomy, but it shouldn’t be. Don’t worry about something you cannot control. Instead, focus on making the most of today. We all live in the present, so we need to enjoy it.

A wake up call

I tend to get wrapped up in my work. Once I have an idea, I often find myself going overboard trying to get it done. I constantly need to remind myself that the work will be there when I wake up in the morning. Yet, even with my own reminders, there are still times when I find myself getting wrapped up in my work. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), life then comes around and throws out a harsh wake up call, which helps to put things back into perspective.

Two weeks ago I went to pick up some food at a local shop in Manchester (CT). We had family over and decided to order out at one of the new restaurants. Those local to me will know the downtown Main Street area. It is a fairly busy road, with cars traveling at a decent clip.

It was a Friday evening, so traffic was busy. I waited for the crosswalk light and started making my way across Main Street. It’s a multiple lane road so it takes a moment to get all the way across. As I was walking, I looked to my right and noticed a car traveling faster than it should have been considering the red light. In what was probably a 1 or 2 second incident, I found myself suddenly sprinting out of the way of a speeding automobile. It seemed like everything was in slow motion. The driver had blown through a red light and missed turning me into a hood ornament by just a few feet.

I jumped to the sidewalk and didn’t fully realize what had just happened. A man walking his dog then stopped and summed it up nicely with the following, “Holy sh*t , that was close!”

Ten minutes earlier, I had said goodbye to my wife and kids. If I wasn’t paying attention, I could have been hit by a car. Maybe I would have been fine, but maybe it would have killed me. I honestly don’t know. It doesn’t really matter, as it is over and done with, but it did serve as a reminder that life can come and go in a flash. No one knows when their time will come.

Life is unpredictable. Tomorrow is filled with uncertainty. There are no time machines, so no one knows what the future will bring. I’m all for setting goals, but it’s nice to be reminded that we also need to cherish today. I won’t let my future goals get in the way of enjoying my life today, tomorrow, and every day after.

Cherish the moment as you work towards the future.

Ross

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20 comments:

  1. If you’d like a tool for setting your goals, you can use this web application:

    http://www.Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A mobile version and iCal are available too.

  2. I agree 100%

    when i got back from Iraq, it dawned on my that life is too short, and too sweet, and i should live every day to the fullest.

    this mentality led me to realize on of my dreams, and here i am, almost 4 months later, in Thailand training Muay Thai, loving every minute of it.

  3. Very true Ross, indeed. But your training could now have also played a part in saving your life! Explosive sprinting power and jumping, thats functional fitness if i ever heard it

  4. Ross – very good point, well made. Both I and my other half could do with climbing off the figurative treadmill every now and again to enjoy the moment. A good analogy is hiking – you should stop every now and again to enjoy the view, otherwise what’s the point in doing it?

    One thought on your recent near-miss experience is that it’s probably thanks to your meeting your own goals of speed and agility that you were able to dodge that car!

  5. “While setting goals can be useful, there is a fine line between enough and too much. If you only focus on future goals, it is easy to overlook the present time. You may find yourself lost in the “someday” mentality. Someday I will do this, someday I will do that, someday I will become this, someday I will become that…”

    While this is true, there is a simple technique which helps in avoiding this. I often use this for university projects. If my goal is to write a paper about a certain subject (takes about a year), I go out and buy some post-its.

    Then for a few days I will write down everything that needs to be done for that big goal on the post-its and stick them on the wall. Once this brainstorming is done, I sort through the post-its and structure them and rewrite them into smaller goals: monthly, weekly, daily,…

    I put up two panels on the wall “To Do” and “Done”. So every day upon rising, I will take a post-it from the “To Do” wall and put it in my agenda. When I’ve completed this daily goal, I put it in the “Done” section in the evening.

    I make sure to put up a picture of the big goal between those two panels, so that I see everyday where I want to go. There’s nothing better to stay on track in my view then applying this technique.

    As for your near death experience: I agree that you should live every day to the fullest, and I think that you can still do this by working hard towards your goals.

  6. roudenleiw – I agree that it can be easy to avoid getting lost in the “someday” mentality, but there are still many who do. Yes, there are several useful techniques to avoid such problems (such as what you listed above). Unfortunately, many seem to start with good intentions, but then get lost soon after.

    Ultimately, it should be an enjoyable experience working towards future goals (assuming you are able to cherish the present moment as well).

    Ross

  7. “Unfortunately, many seem to start with good intentions, but then get lost soon after.

    Ultimately, it should be an enjoyable experience working towards future goals (assuming you are able to cherish the present moment as well).”

    It’s true that it is easy to divert from the right path, but it all comes down to how much you want something. To go back to the example of education, it is easy to get lost when you transit from school to university: new city, new people, no parents, lots of parties, lots of girls,… But if you want to get into a certain career, you need to focus and stay focussed.

    And I agree that you should have fun when working towards a goal, and more importantly that your future goal is enjoyable. So if you now have to write boring research papers, you have to keep in mind that you need to push through this to end up in a job that you enjoy doing, rather than partying all year round and ending up doing shitty jobs for little money.

    And you can still work hard and enjoy life. I think that one of the biggest helps in achieving a goal is being thankful for what you have. I learned the above technique from a friend of mine who is now working on his doctor title in chemistry, which is a long and stressful journey. When he feels down, tired and depressed and feels like he can’t go on anymore, he sits himself down, takes a sheet of paper and writes everything down that is positive in his life: he’s young, healthy, has already a degree in chemistry, he has a family that loves him, a pretty girlfriend,… Like that he realizes how good his life actually is despite all the work he has to do.

    Part of enjoying the present moment is realizing how good your life is.

  8. Hey Ross! It’s your boy Chuck!!!

    Dave right off the bat i’m with you man. Glad your ok Coach. Ross this blog really touched home with me out of all other ones i read & post comments on. As you know recently i was on a layoff due to a injury & it was killing me to get back in the ring. But Ross over this short period of time i realized things & looked at things that i should’ve looked at along time of go. I am one of those people that’s really obssed with my goals. Espeially my training ross,

    As soon as i was injured i really though it was the end of the world being that i’m 26yrs old been boxing since i was 11yrs old & never once in my life did i have to stop training. I mean in the past i was injured but trained through everything & always made it through it without coming to a halt. But this time was different i really had to sit down literally & take time off & i’ll admit i tried to work through my injury this time & ended up rushed to the hospital.

    I must admit i love the fact that i’m so aggresive & determined to achieve my goals & go to the extreme to do so, but i really realized on my time off that there’s more to life Ross. During my days resting i said to myself you know what atleast the Doctor said i will return & it wasn’t the end for me. But then i looked over at my wife & in my mind was saying (My God she’s beautiful) Then Millions of thoughts went through my mind at a rapid pace.

    I thought of all the time i barely get to spend with her being that she has a busy schedule & so do i myself, & i said to myself look at this i have a beautiful loving & caring wife & even when i’m not training i’m always reading up on boxing, watching fights, studying nutrition,Finding new training methods & by time it’s all said & done me & my wife are basically talking to each other in bed while falling asleep, then i realized you know what if she went out tomorrow & something happened to her i really said to myself, speaking of life can be over in a flash i viewed myself as an example, i was like man everything was going so well in training & bang outta nowhere here i am can’t do a thing.

    So from that moment on see my everyday life very different now, & i enjoy things eveyday & still see my goals through all of this, It’s great to know your gonna be a WORLD CHAMPION one day but it’s even greater to know that your gonna have a BEAUTIFUL WIFE in your corner when you get there. Thank you Ross for such an inspiring blog. You are the greatest man.

  9. That was a really great blog entry. It’s so true that we get so wrapped up in working towards our future that we forget about taking time to enjoy what we already have. I like the way you ended it: “Cherish the moment as you work towards the future”.

  10. I have been one who follows politics, as of late it has been to the extreme. I was thinking about how much it is taking over my life. It’s funny how what you wrote just really opened my eyes to it. I mean I always knew but what you said really made me realize it. I think it’s about time to let things go for a while and focus on what REALLY matters.

    I’m glad you didn’t get hit, Ross. We have never met, but I still think of you as a friend.

  11. Ross. I appreciate your sharing that experience with us. Every now and again when I am rushing off to work and I don’t kiss my wife, I think “This may be the last time I see her and my son.”

    It makes me realize that my goals are not that important when my family is in the picture. It brings to mind goals are great but my heart needs to be directed toward more important things like family.

    Again, appreciate your thoughts.

    Jeronimo

  12. Many others already said it in so many words, so I’ll just repeat, GRATITUDE is the key. And someone once told me his mothers favorite saying which is “If you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future you p— all over today”. Wise woman, great post Ross.

  13. damn ross, how right you are. Last week I was right behind a truck that side swiped a little car, the car flew up a hill on the side of the highway and ripped a lamp post out, jumped the divider and crashed.

    I tailgated the truck through 3 towns and communicated w/cops as 911 transferred me from town to town, all I could think about was family, and if the car that was smashed had family.

    If I was 20′ ahead that truck woulda side swiped me.

    I believe having a son has changed you as well, and I know much of what you do here is motivated by them as well.

    Thanks for the reminder brother,

    –z–

  14. Wow great stuff Ross. I found your website for training tips bought all your books and love them. However im not just learning about training also learning alot about life through your website Thanks again Ross for your awesome website and material

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