All of us are guilty of procrastination at one time or another. We promise ourselves that we will design a plan for healthy living but never quite get around to doing so. We have a bucket list of places that we would like to visit but always have some reason or another why we can’t quite find the time or the money to take that trip. We resolve to spend more time with a family member or friend who has a difficult time getting out of the house but the someday that we intend to do so never quite comes. We have the best of intentions but our follow through is often lacking. Sometimes we find ourselves filled with regret because it is truly too late to fulfill the dreams that have filled our heads. Excuses all too often preempt actions. Tomorrow never quite comes.
The realities of life are often hectic and unpredictable. It is not that uncommon to become so involved with the routines and surprises of our lives that we never have the time or the energy to actually accomplish our goals and desires. We are often so responsible that we put our own wishes at the bottom of long to-do lists. We believe that so many other people must come first. Our children need us. Our elderly parents require our attention. Our homes need to be cleaned or organized or repaired. We have to pay the orthodontist or the car mechanic. We find hundreds of thousands of dollars to send our kids to college but see that cruise to Alaska as a luxury that we can’t afford. We tell ourselves that someday everything will work out but as the years go by we begin to realize that we may never actually do so many of the things that we had at one time thought we might experience. Sometimes we have to grab the moment and put ourselves first, as selfish as that might seem.
I have found that there has never been a single time when I decided to just go for something that I wanted to do that it did not turn out fantastically. I had the crazy idea of going to graduate school at the same time that my daughters were in college. I had little idea how I was going to pay the tuition and fees or buy the books but I knew that I needed to take the risk or I would one day be quite unhappy. I had to attend classes after a busy day at work and spend entire weekends reading and writing papers. I was exhausted and low on funds but I was also driven to accomplish the task. I refused to give up even when my goal seemed almost foolish and impossible. It took me four years but when I was finished my higher level of education opened up doors that provided me with the happiest times of my work life. I knew that I had done the right thing and that all of the sacrificing had been worth the effort.
Once both of my daughters were grown and living on their own I decided that I was going to visit Europe no matter what it took to get there. I was one of the few people among my friends and relatives who had never been there. I was in my mid fifties and I worried that if I didn’t make a move I might soon be afflicted with health problems that would preclude such a journey. I convinced my husband to take a leap of faith and spend some of our savings to travel across the Atlantic. We accompanied friends to a ski resort in Austria during the Christmas holidays. The vacation was enchanting from beginning to end. It was without question one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I vividly and happily recall every second and treasure the memories. I’d hate to think that I might have somehow passed on the opportunity to see the wondrous sights that were part of that trip.
Most of the time if we carefully consider a particular situation we find that with just a bit of planning and a willingness to work a bit harder we are capable of doing far more than we might think. With a solid goal in mind we can save a bit of money here and there, reschedule our routines, find ways to do the things that excite us.
Some people are so good at prioritizing their lives. If they want to travel they forego less meaningful luxuries and religiously set aside the funds that they will need. If they desire a particular job or lifestyle they put in the time to get the education or training for the work that will get them where they want to be. If their goal is to volunteer more they make certain that doing good works is built into the calendar of their daily routine. Those who wish to be more spiritual find a time and place to pray or reflect. Some get up an hour or two earlier so that they might exercise. All worthy dreams are fulfilled with a bit of ingenuity and effort.
Our somedays are far too uncertain to gamble them away. Don’t just have a resolution. Have a plan. Literally sit down and determine how you will make a goal become a reality. Talk with your family and friends for insights and don’t feel shy about asking for their help. Create a reasonable timeline for doing the things that you wish to do and try to deviate from the plan as little as possible. Keep track of how well you are doing in meeting your expectations. Make adjustments as needed. Try not to get distracted with events and situations that are unimportant. Have someone who is willing to encourage you when you become frustrated. Most of all keep telling yourself that you deserve as much of your time and attention as anyone else. You don’t have to ignore yourself to be a good person. It really is okay to pamper yourself by checking off those desires on your bucket list. In fact you will be happier and healthier and more likely to be of use to the world if you learn how to give to yourself. Make those somedays happen. There is no better time to start than today.