ON SETTING GOALS

Marc O. would like to be a lawyer; or a doctor; or a sales- man. He can't decide in exactly what direction to head, so he works at a job he dislikes with the feeling that-- at 35 years old-- time is running out.
<?xml:namespace prefix = o /> Cynthia J., having been married and childless for the past ten years, believes she would finally liek to have children... maybe. A certain degree of conviction about this decision is mitigated by the freedoms she has enjoyed in recent years; and the fears of having children close to age 40.
 There are many individuals like Marc and Cynthia in the world; people who drift through life only to wake up one day and discover that their dreams have died a silent death, leaving them trapped wherever they happen to have landed. Setting goals early in life can avoid this problem altogether. However, performing this activity later in life can give a person new enthusiasm, new choices.
 The first step in setting goals is to take charge of your own life. This is a quiet, internal process, performed in the privacy of thoughts. Perhaps nothing changes right away, but inside, the simple determination to begin directing your own activities can bring a revolution of resourcefulness. Once that revolution begins, you will ask yourself useful questions which will help you achieve a desired outcome. "Where am I now?" "What change would I like to have?" "What 'resources' (internal pictures, sounds or feelings which represent past experiences in which you were successful in some way) do I have to help me get there?" "What do I need that isn't there yet in order to be able to accomplish the desired change?" "How can I set out to accomplish that part?"
 These powerful goal-directed questions may not generate anything recognizable at first. Be patient. Move on to some other activity but pay exquisite attention to any ideas or changes which may occur to you. Perhaps sorting goals in terms of categories may be useful for you: Work, social life, family life, leisure time, and so forth. It may be possible to re-train for a new job, or at least modify your present one. Furthermore, you can involve yourself in new hobbies and interests, thus attracting similarly-minded people who will broaden your social contacts. Or perhaps you might decide to reduce social contexts and spend more time in home activities, if that is a more suitable outcome. If childless, you may wish to first evaluate the addition of children and the attendant mothering responsibilities into your current life. You may likely weigh the emotional aspect of this decision in terms of the extent to which you believe something is missing from your life that would otherwise fulfill you; create a dimension of incomparable happiness.
 Additionally, you would need to consider how you could balance child rearing with an independent career or other work-related necessity. Goals for existing family situations can be modified to be happier for children and parents alike. "Should I encourage more joint family activities such as discussions, family outings, dinner-time conversation, frequent visits to relatives-- or should I encourage more independence and growth among members (i.e., seeking out friends, solitary activity in which to derive pleasure and knowledge)?" There is no one road map for any goal-setting activities. Each of us has his own "map of reality"; and no one's map entirely captures all of the territory. The specific decisions regarding the development and importance of goals are yours. However, once you make the leap into taking charge and accessing resourceful states of consciousness, you can begin generating ideas that may surprise you. If during the course of these activities, you believe the process of deciding to be difficult, consider but for the pain of insecurity that might occur, you will be paid in the highest coin of any realm... satisfaction.