How would you react, if your seven year old daughter declared that she would like to be an airline pilot? Would you immediately order a registration form from the national airline? Move close to the airport so that the daughter could visit it frequently later on? – Probably not. You would certainly be pleased that your daughter has this objective, but you would also explain that she will still have to go to school for a few more years.
And if ten years later your daughter decides upon a course in physics, or training as a gardner, would you be disappointed? – No. Your daughter has developed in the meantime. Perhaps she has even developed thanks to her objective of being a pilot. She knew that «If I want to be a pilot I will have to be attentive at school». She had thus become engaged, and in her own interests – without external pressure – had learned from it.
The goal of being a pilot had helped her to develop, although in reality she hadn‘t realized this goal. In everyday life this is frequently the case: Objectives serve as the motivating force for us to do something. A long-term goal is best divided into intermediate goals which can be achieved more quickly. The feeling of success when we achieve these intermediate goals can additionally act as a motivating force.
An objective can also serve as a signpost for us during particular stages in our lives, without actually having to achieve it. It is therefore necessary to look at our goals periodically to see if they are still valid for us or whether we wish to adapt them.