If you’re feeling dissatisfied, lost or even just ambivalent about your prospects (or your existence in general), it’s time to reclaim control of your life… and your destiny. Whether you realize it or not, it’s your job to find your own fulfillment – for the future and for the moment. And it’s not nearly as daunting as you think.
You can be excited about your future, but first you have to decide what you want it to be, from the inside out! The key to getting (and staying) amped about life is not found solely in achieving your goals… but in how you feel as you’re striving to meet them!
Time to align
It’s easy to let the day to day drag us down. Work responsibilities, family, friends, lovers… life itself can become so overwhelming (or conversely, routine) that we lose sight of the future – specifically forgetting ourselves and our goals. Clarity about how you got here and why you wanted this in the first place (if you actually did), often falls by the wayside in the effort of just getting by. But it doesn’t have to be this way! By grounding yourself in your own highest good and working from it, all the external responsibilities and relationships you have are more likely to bring satisfaction – and bear fruit.
Start by assessing where you are and where you’d like to be. That means shutting out the world for a little while (a few minutes, a few hours, a few days), to reconnect with yourself. How do you feel now? Why? How do you want to feel? In considering this, forget your external motivators or any touchstones dictated by society or circumstance. Happiness is not an external goal met, it’s a feeling of calm and overall well-being. Just ask anyone who has achieved their dreams but is still dissatisfied!
In other words, if you hate the way you’re spending your time, but are convinced that your experience will change when you meet your goal (a promotion, a proposal, a size six), think again. You don’t need the corner office, the ideal relationship, the perfect body in order to be fulfilled – you need your actions to be informed by your own highest good. That’s not saying you can’t or won’t achieve those things at some point down the road, but setting your goals should be an internal to external process, not the other way around!
Externalize the internal
Now that you know how you want to feel, consider how you can make that happen – now and in the future – by setting goals for the long and short term. Consider what activities you currently do that make you feel peaceful, excited or grounded (whatever it is you want to experience). If you can’t think of any, use your imagination! Maybe you can tell you’d feel great if you got organized at work or home, made time for your friends once a week or participated in a charity activity once a month.
Now envision a larger destination or achievement that would further those feelings (a job that utilizes your strengths and affords you more freedom, a relationship wherein you feel supported and equal, an energized existence where you feel balanced and fulfilled personally, professionally and creatively) and align your intentions with achieving that end. Your old plans may be obsolete – or just part of the picture. The difference is you’re now making decisions rooted in experience.
Whatever you choose to pursue, remember that one of your aims must be enjoying the experience of getting there. That means setting realistic achievable goals on the way to your bigger picture destination – and celebrating when you meet them. It also means being patient. What good is a long-term goal if you’re too exhausted to enjoy the spoils? In addition, you’ll want to be aware of mistakes you’ve made in the past, and make new, better-informed plans about how you’ll deal with roadblocks – before they come up. This way you don’t lose track of yourself when things aren’t smooth. If negative thinking has been your downfall, or you find yourself getting frustrated when things take too much time, give yourself a mantra (for instance “slowly but surely… I am creating my own future”). This will help you to stay excited and on point about where you’re headed.
Lastly, as you move ahead to a future of your own creation, it’s vital to appreciate where you actually are and what you already have. Finding gratitude in the present is a surefire way to maintain excitement for whatever awaits in your future. Goals will always change, but as long as your intention remains positive, your outlook will too!
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