I do believe in looking towards the future, (I love to have a plan), with just a small amount of reflection on the past to ensure personal growth, (actually, I obsess on the past a lot, but I never plan to). Ha!
“The problem with the future is it keeps turning into the present.” – Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes, December 31, 1989
One thing I see a number of people doing on a day like today is making New Year’s resolutions. I’ve read some good advice about this practice, including adding an action plan and some patience to the formula of making that list of good intentions. I particularly liked the part about patience. Time will take care of itself, it’s constant, so don’t worry about how long it will take. This is good advice when starting anything that cannot be completed in an afternoon. Many New Year’s resolutions involve big changes that will take quite a bit of time.
I used to underestimate the time it would take to do something. I used to make plans to ‘catch up’ on various things every time I had a two week ‘staycation’ off from work, but I never got the things done that I had thought I could. In fact, when I changed jobs and started working from home, it took me six months to complete what I used to think I should have been able to accomplish in just two weeks. What a reality check.
When I went back to school, I didn’t think about how long it would take until I was getting close to the end. Then I started to obsess about when it would be over, wanting to escape the present, and trying to imagine myself on the other side of all the stress. Many people tried to tell me I would eventually get to the end, that everyone worries that they’ll never get there, so I might as well stop worrying about it. But I was so caught up with anxiety at the time, (the dreaded thesis), that I really could not imagine the end would ever arrive. Interestingly, as soon as I finally graduated, my husband and I booked a trip to Hawaii that would occur about six months later. With the exception of a blog entry about “Now What,” I transferred my obsessive thinking about the future to our trip instead, and I didn’t really feel the emotional crash of being finished school, with nothing else planned, until after we got back from Hawaii in February.
There is no point in doing a postmortem of everything I wish I could do over again after we got back from that trip, suffice it to say I started to face in the right direction with my thinking in August, first with publishing my young adult novel here, and then with starting to write every day. In the last four months I have accomplished so much! What a wonderful gift to be taking that momentum into the New Year.
Big dreams are great things to have. No matter how big, working on them a little bit every day can see them realized. Myself, I didn’t realize that once a dream is accomplished, once that future becomes the present, it may throw a person for a loop emotionally. What has worked for me, (even though it took over a year to figure it out), is to just get started working on a new dream, along with an action plan of how to accomplish it, and to not worry about how long it will take. Make a plan for the future, and focus on the little bit every day you are doing to get there.