Leo on zenhabits:
Most people look at goal setting as picking a destination, then figuring out a path to get there. That assumes you’re walking on land that will change very little, and that while you will have unforeseen obstacles, you’ll be on stable ground and the destination won’t move. That’s not at all true — life is more like the sea, ever changing with no fixed paths or destinations, with swells and currents and waves that change everything at every moment. The ultimate skill, then, isn’t setting a destination (goal) or a path (plan), but surfing. In surfing, you take whatever waves come, learn to judge the waves as they come, learn to ride the wave as it changes, not as you planned. It’s going with the flow (literally), and changing what you do depending on how the flow changes.
Being good at editing makes surfing easier and more enjoyable. By removing plans, hopes, and activities that you always say you’ll do but are lying to yourself about, and focusing on the basics of what you love to do, you can find pleasure without plans.
I’ll often take a train to some new part of the city, not really knowing where I’m going or what I’ll do. My only expectation is to explore a new place. But I know that I love to hang out in a great café and write so if all else fails and I find nothing new to do, I can still enjoy myself.
Whether it’s vacation or everyday life, editing down to some basic principles, activities, and expectations will help you navigate—surf—and enjoy the wave.