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Goal Setting 101: Begin with the end in mind

I am currently supervising student nurses in a long term care facility.  Today was our clinical day on a large unit of beautiful elderly people. It's an environment that I am unexpectedly finding to be conducive to the personal goal-setting process that I'm in the midst of.

I talked with one elderly gentleman in particular today who sits by the nurses station, talks with anyone who goes by and is really very pleasant and friendly. While his strength is failing, his mind is completely intact. Today after we had talked a bit I asked him if he had ever been married. He said he had and then became emotional when he went on to tell me that his wife had died after 50 years of marriage.  I said,
"That must have left a big hole in your life."
 He agreed and went on to say, "Now I just sit and wait."
"For what?", I asked.
"For the next thing. For whatever happens next."

Watching these precious elderly folks, and listening to them, makes me reflect quite a bit on what I want the end of my life to look like.  Of course none of us really know what's ahead and many people end up in places and situations that might have occurred only in their worst nightmares but I do think there is some wisdom in at least attempting to look ahead and envision what perhaps could be in those final years.  I think that if we don't, we may end up just waiting for the next thing to define the moment, the day, the week, the year for us.  As Stephen Covey says, "Begin with the end in mind."  In other words, what do I want the end of my life to look like and then back up from there to know what I need to be doing  now to get there.

Even in old age [the godly] will still produce fruit.  They will remain vital and green. Psalm 92:14

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