Five Worthy Life Goals
When I was young, I had a clear vision in mind for the way my life would play out. Large, lofty goals filled my teenage mind when thinking of the future - goals of changing the world, falling in love, successful careers and traveling the world.
What has actually happened in my life is far different than anything I planned, but I wouldn't change it for the world. I have noticed along the way, however, that it is easy for life to pass us by quickly and to wake up ten years later not having accomplished anything we thought we would. This got me remembering an important homework assignment I completed during my pre-marriage counseling. The pastor had us fill out a list of 50 things we wanted to do before we die. We each filled out a separate list, and our homework assignment for our marriage was to help each other accomplish as much on that list as we possibly could throughout our life together.
I dug out my list the other day and surprisingly, I have fulfilled a lot more of what was on that list than I remembered. I have had children, seen the ocean, performed with my husband, been published, snowboarded, gone on a mission trip, and more. While most of the things on my list were still relevant, some were outdated and my desires have changed through the years. Now, I have added some other goals for my life, and would like to share some I feel most people could benefit from.
Take Care of Your Body
This is a very broad goal so let me get a little more specific and realistic. Eating right and exercising are the best things you can do for yourself. Taking proper care of your body ensures you will feel your best both physically and emotionally every day you are alive. I had no idea how much my diet made a difference in the way I felt during the day. When I eat well-balanced meals with a small measure of protein, a larger portion of fruits and vegetables and some carbs, my digestive system thrives. I have energy and do not have bloating or other digestive issues. Fried foods and sugary foods really have no place in our daily diet, except as an occasional treat if you must. And exercise has been proven to have all kinds of benefits including cancer prevention, weight loss and mood elevation. I have found it also wards off menstrual cramps and helps me sleep better at night.
Let me now stress something key that is so messed up in the American society right now. We are all different - especially as females. We are SUPPOSED to have different shapes and sizes. What is healthy for me will not neccesarily be healthy for you. To find out what your healthy weight should be, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/Index.html.
Obviously if you are diabetic, a healthy diet looks totally different for you than someone else. If your body tends to have high cholesterol, research diets specifically for lowering cholesterol. If colon cancer runs in your family, research diets for healthy colons. There are so many resources out there including Mayo Clinic, the Food Pyramid and countless recipe websites tailored to any person's needs.
Taking care of your body will ensure a happier, potentially longer life. It is definitely a worthy goal to have.
Visit Another Country
Your life is never the same once you have seen another country. It broadens your views on everything and in many cases develops a sense of gratitude for what you have. It also strengthens your identity as a member of the country you are from and shows you how your country could be better. I have had the priveledge of visiting three other countries before: China, Austria and Bulgaria. I know these experiences have influenced my life in a profound way, especially as a teenager. If you have children, I feel that taking them to another country is one of the best things you can do for them, to help their maturing minds. All of a sudden, they have a worldview, instead of a "me" view. I know some people that have lived in one place their whole lives and never even left that area. Though I love and respected those people, there were just some things they couldn't understand because of the lack of experience. Things like compassion, gratitude, social motivation and maturity grow when a person visits a foreign country. And it doesn't have to be a country halfway around the world. Visiting the country just next door to your borders will accomplish the same purpose.
Read Some Literary Classics
In the same way visiting another country can expand your horizons, so can reading some of the timeless literary classics. Obviously, determining what is a literary classic is subjective, but there are some surefire reads that have been dubbed timeless. This past year, I made it my goal to read the books I had always heard of but never read. Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Tale of Two Cities, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, War and Peace, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Grapes of Wrath and Frankenstein were a few of my selections. I never knew there were such thrilling stories I was missing out on until I decided to do this. Brilliant authors have weaved stories that spark feelings and thoughts you would never have if not for their books. This goal is pretty subjective on my part but it can be tailored to the reader in whatever form of media they enjoy. If they hate to read but enjoy watching movies, then movie classics can serve the same purpose. For a list of some literary classics, view: http://www.modernlibrary.com/top-100/100-best-novels/. For a list of movie classics, view: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls055592025/.
Accept Yourself For Who You Are
I don't know if most people have struggled with this one as much as I have, but it has taken me thirty years to realize I am who I am and that's okay. I have always strived to be more like other people. I want to be talented, confident, beautiful and successful in ways that just aren't my style. I am quiet, sweet, kind and intelligent, not highly talented in anything, but with the gifts of communication and compassion. I have curly hair, crazy feet and scars from chicken pox. But I'm starting to like that person. And the more I start to like that person, the more successful I become at being "me." So what if I am not a world-class musician and it terrifies me to preform in front of other people? My family enjoys the music I play for them at home. So what if I don't look like every other American female with stick straight hair and tan skin? Maybe that makes me special. I like the way I look when I'm not trying to look like someone else. I like writing, reading, napping with my cats and hiking through the woods. So what if I'm not incredibly beautiful or famous or rich. Beauty is fleeting, fame seems pretty hard to deal with and I am rich in ways I would prefer over money anyway.
Learn who you are by relaxing and enjoying the things you natually enjoy. Here is a great personality test that helps you determine your strengths and weaknesses: http://www.heartbridgeusa.com/devo/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/2008_personality_test1.pdf.
There are also tests online for what careers and hobbies would suit you if you have never found anything you enjoyed. A strong note I have for females: quit trying to look like everybody else. Just be healthy. Your poor hair can only stand to be styled so much. If your hair is curly, let it be curly. If you like your hair short, but that's not "in" these days, cut it short! Don't limit yourself by society's standards. Forget buying clothes that are in style. Pick clothes that are your style. And how about ditching the overabundance of makeup. It would be better for your skin to ease up a little and go with a more natural look. Maybe our goal should not be to hide or change our flaws, but to enhance what is natually beautiful about ourselves. Just a thought.
What Personality Type Are You?
Support A Cause You Believe In
If our whole lives are lived for ourselves, we can end up feeling pretty empty. If, however, we give some of our time or money to support a cause we feel strongly about, then we can feel good about how we used our time while we are alive. There are millions of charities and groups out there supporting everything from endangered species to orphaned children. To determine what issues matter most to you, think about what makes you the most frustrated. Is it when children are abused? Is it when people misuse the environment? Is it that people are starving in some countries while there is an overabundance of food in others? Giving time or money to a cause is never time or money wasted. It gives you a feeling of satisfaction like nothing else can. In your own small way, you are changing the world for the better. And if you don't have extra money, become an advocate for the organization. Here is a list of some great legitimate charities:
For Children In Poverty: Compassion International
For Endangered Species: World Wildlife Fund
For Saving The Environment: JustGive.org
For World Hunger: Action Against Hunger
For a list of more charities, visit: http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/public/Accredited.aspx?bureauID=9999.