Life is a journey. We have no idea of the opportunities or challenges we will face. We set goals and plans, work towards them, achieve them, celebrate and then set more goals to start another cycle.
I love setting goals, it’s my thing. I feel that if it isn’t written down it simply won’t happen. In the past I would come up with a significant number of goals, only to become so preoccupied with achieving them that I wasn’t enjoying the day to day. On achieving each goal there wasn’t a huge celebration, instead I would immediately switch my focus on pursuing the next goal. The fascination with ticking items off the to-do list had taken over. I was living 100% for the future!
It’s so easy to get caught in this trap. We live in a culture of “wants”; never being satisfied even if “needs” our met. We are pushed to want more rather than being content with where we are. To avoid falling into this trap here’s what I recommend:
We have all achieved things in our life. Take time to celebrate them. We will have undoubtedly faced challenges and experienced failures. Don’t dwell on them, instead, understand the lesson from each experience. This increases your wisdom, which will only help you as you progress.
Set aside an hour in your schedule each week for this purpose. A time for you to focus without distractions and reflect on:
- how you are feeling
- where you are today versus where you started
- challenges you have overcome
- things you are grateful for
If an hour sounds like too much – try 15 minutes to start with. You will find that even in the most challenging weeks you can find many things to be thankful for.
Find time to enjoy yourself
I remember a time when I wasn’t doing this. Asked about my passions, my mind completely drew a blank – I’d forgotten what I enjoyed doing! Sounds crazy, but I had become so engrossed in the corporate grind that there was very little time for pursuing passions. I’d previously enjoyed cooking, reading, partying, attending music performance courses, volunteering for charity organisations, mentoring in schools and fitness activities. All of a sudden there was no time for that.
It’s essential to factor in time for these things to bring some kind of balance. Even if only once a week, it gives you something to look forward to. Where possible find ways to adjust your working pattern to incorporate the things you enjoy:
- Move your activities to before work (e.g. exercising)
- Make use of your lunch hour (for reading?)
- Adjust your start time
If you begin your day just an hour earlier you will have a head start before everyone else comes in and the requests start.
Make time for those closest to you
Most people in their last days wish they had spent more time on the things that mattered to them most (more often than not family/friends). I haven’t yet heard of anyone who wished they spent more time in the office! Having experienced some unexpected illnesses and losses within my own family I’ve learned not to take the time we have for granted. I want to live the best life I can and spend as much time as possible with those that I care about.
Admittedly, this isn’t always easy, particularly when you’re not yet in that position where you can choose whether you work or not. There will always be conflicting demands on your time, the key here is prioritisation. There are no right or wrong answers – it’s about what works for you.
As for me, after completing this post I’m going to do just that and go for a bike ride with the husband across the city and a round of family visits. Gotta make the most this of sunshine (not sure how long it’s going to last, particularly in Manchester). There will be work to do afterwards but I find it definitely helps to break things up.
Enjoy your day!
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