“You cannot can go back and start a new beginning, but you can start today and make a new ending.”
C S Lewis
And it has been pointed out, frequently, by the writers of Star Trek and in the ‘Back to the Future’ series, that if you could go back, and did go back, then there would be an extremely high probability that everything would go horribly wrong and you would most likely cease to exist ‘in a puff of smoke’.
Once something has begun it’s done, it’s over and it can’t be undone. Whatever it is, a thought, an idea, a physical entity, it exists, it’s been created and it can’t be ‘uncreated’.
Even if I decide to delete this sentence – it still ‘exists’. It’s been created and it may have been ‘destroyed’ but it’s not been ‘uncreated’. It’s still there, ‘somewhere’.
And even though time is not exactly linear in that it goes at different speeds (and those of us who are getting ‘older’ feel that every day!), it only goes in one direction.
Even if that direction is not a straight line it doesn’t turn around and go back the way it came like rewinding a movie or a TV programme. (Except of course in Science Fiction stories.)
But you and I know that from time to time we reach a point in our lives when, looking back on the path we’ve taken, we feel that maybe, maybe we’re not going in quite the right direction.
But you and I can’t ‘rewind’ or ‘scroll back’ to the turning we ‘should have taken’.
And sometimes you and I get to a destination, often a destination we were actually aiming for and realise ‘OK, I’ve done that, I’ve achieved that objective. What next?’
And sometimes you and I get to a place where we don’t actually want to be and, without recriminations, ask the same question. “What next?”
This is the point where you and I have the opportunity to ‘start again’ and create a ‘new ending’.
But what is that ‘new ending’ going to be?
And also ‘when’ and maybe ‘where’ or even ‘who’ is it going to be?
Most importantly of course ‘why’ this particular new ending.
The only thing you and I don’t really have to consider is the ‘how’, that will unfold as we go along.
There is a massive amount of literature around about ‘goal setting’ and there seem to be just as many courses and coaching programmes to help people discover where they want to go and identify what they want to be, do and have, when they get there.
But the majority of these programmes have one thing in common.
“Where do you want to be in 5 years’ time”, maybe 10, is usually the furthest forward people are encouraged to consider.
Other programmes look 1, 2 or 3 years into the future and some systems of goal setting cut the timescale down to as little as 90 days (personally I’d call that setting ‘targets’ rather than goals)
There’s also something of a language problem around all this with overlapping and inconsistent definitions of ‘goal’, ‘vision’, ‘dream’, ‘target’ and so on usually resulting from cultural and continental variance, and the same problems occur in languages other than English.
The one thing that seems to be consistent is that however far ahead you and I are looking there has to be a ‘plan’ and there have to be ‘actions’ within that plan.
Setting a plan for the next 90 days and carrying out the actions required to complete it is something that most people are able to do; and 90 days seems to be a sort of ‘magic number’ with which most people are comfortable.
You and I can ‘see clearly’ for the next 90 days. Beyond that things can become a bit hazy or cloudy and we can’t be quite sure what happens the other side of the 90 day hill.
In his book ‘The 25-Year Framework’ Dan Sullivan comes up with a great idea.
Let’s not restrict our dream-building or vision quest to just a few years. Instead why not give ourselves a much longer period to achieve those things that we want to be, do and have.
Let’s you and I give ourselves an ‘abundance of time’.
And even those of us approaching 70 or so can certainly still reckon on another 25 years at least. There are lots of fully functional and highly active people around now who are in their mid-nineties and still going strong.
The thing is
We have the time
We just have to recognize that and seize the day, grasp the opportunity, and ‘spend’ the next 25 years not just moving towards our goals and dreams but living them as we go along.
90 days at a time
What will you have achieved by December 6th?
Have a great 90 days