A Different Type of Goal

Matthew Gray |

Tell me about your financial goals.

Chances are, if I ask you this question, I will get some version of the following.

“I’d like to be able to retire in my early 60s."

“We’d love to build our dream house in five years.”

“It’s our hope to pay for our kids’ college expenses so they graduate debt free.”

“We want to travel in retirement.”

These are great things to shoot for and common in the conversations I have.

However, I’ve noticed they all have something in common. They all are focused on the future.

It may seem natural to aim for things you want to accomplish years from now. After all, most goals are out in front of us, far off from what feels attainable in the moment.

In fact, I think these are all great goals to have.

The difficulty comes when we are so locked in on what is ahead, that we forget to realize the importance of the moment we are in.

Looking solely at what we might obtain or accomplish in the future can distract us from what is significant now.

I’ve recently found my goals shifting toward what I am hoping to accomplish in the present. Here’s a few for example.

  • I want to instill in my son a healthy view of finances.
  • I desire to not place my fulfillment in things I can buy but instead in people I can impact positively.
  • I strive to live out of a heart of generosity and not scarcity.
  • I hope to have a healthy relationship with money especially in conversations and decisions with my wife.

All of these goals are based in the present. While they do have a “future” component in that I hope I will be better at them as time passes, they are all things I can at least partially achieve moment by moment.

The best part is, they aren’t all or nothing.

Whereas with the other “future-based” goals there is a good chance life doesn’t work out as I hope, the “present-based” goals are things I can start fresh with each and every day.

Both types of goals are worth pursuing, but I would encourage you to ponder the second type a bit more as they often get overlooked.