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The Importance of Writing Down Your Life Goals

I can’t remember now where I first read this but I do remember reading the advice that one should put their goals in written form to help ensure the goals will be met. This idea in its simplest form would be the “To Do List.” I have regularly written down long-term and short-term goals. Indeed, it’s an ongoing process for me. The short-term goals are more like “to-do” items that support movement toward the long-term goal. I’ve been doing this for at least 45 years. Setting long-term goals requires dreaming, thinking, and considering what you really want to do or accomplish. I have removed some long-term goals from my list over the years when I realized I wasn’t really that interested in doing that, or perhaps I realized that dream did not fit my talents and capabilities.


Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters

I spent 44 years working in Higher Education. When I was promoted to “full professor” at age 41, I asked myself, “Okay, now what?” I ended up doing a fairly exhaustive self-study and came up with a list of medium to long-term goals, most of which I eventually accomplished. One of those goals was to assemble a large jazz band for which I would write compositions and arrangements and record under my own name. I did put a band together in Los Angeles in the early nineties that rehearsed regularly, played a few concerts and even recorded three of my compositions as a demo recording. I was moving toward that goal of recording the record (or CD) that was part of that big long-term goal. However, pursuing one or two of my other long-term goals put that on a back burner for a number of years.


I finally achieved the goal of producing a CD of my compositions with a band that

I conducted twenty-four years later. ENTER AUTUMN, released in 2015 was that CD. The success and pleasure of doing that album lead to producing and releasing a second album by the David Caffey Jazz Orchestra in 2018 titled ALL IN ONE. This album was more widely recognized than the first one, receiving several positive reviews including a 4½ star review on All About Jazz, and it received a significant amount of radio play. Based on this last CD, the DCJO was invited to perform at the 2020 Jazz Education Network National Conference in New Orleans. I now have another short-term goal to produce a third CD. (The older you get, the shorter the long-term goals get!)


Sometime a long-term goal takes 25 or more years to achieve. But if you don’t dream it, think about it, and make a plan for how you will achieve that goal, it probably will never happen.

Update your goals today! And be bold!

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