We all had great plans for 2020. We all had things we wanted to accomplish. We wrote them down and got started. Then the pandemic got in the way. A lot of our plans had to be shelved. We had to deal with the fear of a disease that no one had a cure for. We had to adjust to new ways of working. We also had to adjust our priorities. We reviewed what was most important in our lives and came to appreciate the security having a roof over your head, food to eat, healthcare and the ability to continue working from home provided.
It doesn’t always require a pandemic to disrupt our goals. However, the coronavirus pandemic provides a very good example of how activities outside our control can affect our ability to achieve our goals. At some point this year, you probably had to shelve old plans and make new ones. Even without a life changing event such as a pandemic, there will always be constraints to some of your goals. Being aware of them can help you set more meaningful goals in your life.
A person who is working two jobs during the day and taking an online degree at night is not likely to have enough time to run a business. If you are spending 4 hours in traffic every day, you will have less downtime that someone whose entire commute for the day is one hour. That means you might have less time to work on pet projects and passions.
Are you married? Do you children? Do you provide for dependent relatives or take care of elderly parents? Your goal of taking a two week holiday in a foreign country or moving to another continent to undertake a four year course of study just got a lot more complicated. Who will meet your family obligations while you are away? Someone has to feed and clothe the little ones.
Are you a morning person? Most people are at their most alert in the early hours before noon. If your job leaves you with no time in the morning to work on tasks related to your goal then you will have to put in extra effort in the evening when you are most likely not as fresh and just want to go to sleep.
We are not all born equal. Some people will have more savings than others. Some are born into wealthy families. A few people have much more disposable income than the rest of us. Taking that professional certification costs money. Buying a new house also does. We don’t like to talk about it but achieving some goals requires money. If you have less of it, you might need to save longer to achieve your goals.
There are lots of constraints we can’t control. They are just risks you will have to find a way to either mitigate or accept. Being aware that they exist is useful. It helps you set realistic timelines for your goals that allow you to focus not on what you can’t control but on what you can actually do.