Posted: 17 Apr 2012 07:40 AM PDT
Post written by Leo Babauta.
There is something about my mind, and many people’s minds, that is overly optimistic.
We think we can do so much each day, and so we overplan. We fill our plans with so much, confident we can do it all, ignoring the evidence of the past when most plans didn’t get done and most things didn’t get crossed off as hoped.
We believe that, sure, we might have failed to meet our expectations in the past, but this time will be different! This time, we will do better. This time, we will be disciplined and productive and get more done.
Yes, that’s an excellent plan. Let me know how that works out.
Hint: It never works out for me. I’ll give you a good recent example.
What I Learned on Vacation
As I said last week, my family and I recently went on a short vacation to sunny and sublime San Diego for four days. As usual, I had lots of goals and expectations (I can’t seem to help it):
Guess how much of that got done? I did read a fair amount, but only about half the book. I didn’t even open the plastic wrapping on the yoga DVDs. I did almost no work. I ran for maybe 10 minutes at the beach once. We did a lot of walking and exploring and eating, and hung out at the beach a fair amount, but little else.
I overplanned. I was overly optimistic. I had lots of goals and expectations.
Yes, I’ve been mostly going without goals for awhile now, but I slip into my old habits frequently.
Not Overplanning in Real Life
Sure, many experienced travelers know that I made a basic traveling mistake — overplanning is common among travelers, and the best of us plan very little on most trips. I know this, and usually follow that advice. I guess the plans above were subconscious plans and goals that my mind was making without me really trying. It was only during the middle of the trip that I realized I’d had high expectations of myself for the trip, and had set goals without realizing it.
But here’s the thing: travelers know we should travel without goals and too many plans … but what about in the rest of our lives?
Most people who travel with few plans and goals ignore this wisdom in regular, daily life.
In our daily personal and work lives, we overload ourselves and overplan. We are overly optimistic about what we can do, despite past evidence. We set too many goals and have too high expectations.
Here’s what I’ve learned from my vacation (and the last couple years) that can help with overplanning and goal setting in our daily lives:
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