I love setting goals. It's my control freak way of pretending I'm in charge of things. You can ask anyone related to me--I'm the type that fills up pages of notebooks with ideas and grandiose plans.
But the thing that makes planning hard is that you can't accurately predict the future. Try as I might to develop psychic abilities, I just don't seem to know what's going to happen before it actually does.
Have you ever read a book that's a few years old that tries to imagine what the future will hold? I started reading a book published in 2000 that predicted 35-mm film would be mostly extinct by 2010 and that people would download books onto disks encrypted with an expiration date (so close, but not quite!).
Imagining the future requires just that--imagination. The future is partly created from ideas.
But when it comes to our own futures, things are even murkier. You can work with probabilities--you're less likely to get lung cancer if you don't smoke, for example, but there are still no guarantees. We might plan to stay at our jobs until retirement only to get downsized or fired.
I hate that.
Sometimes, even the icky stuff works out for the best, like this story where a woman's getting fired gave her the opportunity to expand her business. Sometimes things really are horrible.
But what I do know is that while it's smart to make plans and work toward them, you can't be so attached to those goals that you forget to see other important things right in front of you.
So I guess the control freak in me needs to learn to be a little more flexible.