Now this is probably a strange topic for a life coach to address... we are the ones who help people to strive to achieve their goals! However, there is also the other side: When is it time to stop pushing for more, more, more and to appreciate and enjoy what you already have?
My own attitude in this area amuses me. We bought a fantastic investment home to do up. Its potential was obvious, the views are magnificent… I was so positive about how this house would support our retirement investments. Well, we are into the second year of gradual renovations and I catch myself saying things like ‘AAAArgh, I’m over it! I just want a completed, tidy home…’ finding fault and being irritated at every turn. It’s gone from fantastic to driving me mad, even though we have made so many improvements already! It’s human nature to suffer from, what I call, the ‘I’ll Be Happy When Syndrome’.
This common ‘syndrome’, has a useful side: it creates movement, improvement and progress. On the other side, it can leave us with a constant feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction. It’s a bit like the goalposts to happiness are always shifting. Look how much more and how much ‘easier’ we have it compared to our parents. Consider how our kids experience the world compared to our childhood – and look at all the complaints and dissatisfaction. When is it enough?
Where do you stand at the moment in your life around this topic? How does one find the balance between being healthily driven; and being content and appreciative of what already is?
There are a few key guidelines, I believe. Practice daily gratitude for what you already have. Even formalise it by writing 5-10 things in a journal daily! Mentally, verbally or even in writing, take time to really acknowledge all accomplishments, privileges and people that enrich your life. Take nothing for granted.
Another aspect on which to focus, is to carefully choose your goals according to your values. It is important to choose goals that will truly enhance your quality of life. Too often we get caught up in autopilot achievements because of what society, the media or the neighbours may think. Sometimes we can work so hard to pay that massive mortgage that we don’t actually have time to enjoy the house!
Pay attention to pacing and enjoying the journey towards achieving the goal. It’s the actual journey that makes up your ‘everyday living’. Enjoying the process means you get to actually enjoy your life – not just the reward at the end.
When will it be enough for you?
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