I believe everyone should have goals in life, and I believe that once we meet our goals, we should set more. Striving to be better and do more has the potential to benefit us in numerous ways.
However, sometimes we don’t meet our goals. We don’t hit the deadlines we had for ourselves. We’re not where we wanted to be by a certain age or other life milestone.
When that happens, it’s easy to get down on ourselves and our lives in general. We want to wallow in our failure and focus on what could have been.
Maybe we didn’t get that promotion or new job. Maybe we didn’t get into the graduate school program we had our sights set on for years. Maybe we didn’t have a serious relationship, spouse or children by a certain age.
We think the is grass always greener on the other side. We have this idea that once we get where we want to go, life will be fuller, better, more vibrant.
But what if we spent that same energy we use missing what could have been — or even what will be — on enjoying the now?
What’s green in your life today, right this moment? Maybe you didn’t get a promotion, but what about your current role makes you happy? A promotion likely means more work and more stress, at least in the beginning, so focus on the balance you have right now. Same with a new job. Can you find something at your current workplace to appreciate and enjoy? It could be your co-workers, the work itself or the environment.
When it comes to being in a relationship, having a family, obtaining a degree or whatever else you believe you should have achieved, remember: You don’t need to be anywhere in life by a certain age, regardless of what your friends, family or society may say. True success comes from being content with where you are and confident that you’re doing your best to get where you want to go — and it starts with positivity, perhaps forced positivity.
Groan, I know. I hate when people say, “Be more positive!” But it’s true. One little positive thought can bloom into a world of happiness. It’s all about you frame your life.
Stop looking over the hill to see what’s on the other side. Re-frame your current situation and force yourself to see the good.
If you get too caught up planning for what’s to come, or fixating on what should have been, what’s happening right now will pass you by.
I am beyond guilty of not living in the moment. Some people find my goal-setting and work ethic admirable; others tell me that I’m young and still have my whole life ahead of me. “Slow down and breathe,” they say.
Both sets of people are correct. We must strike a balance between living in the moment and working toward the future. There’s something to be said for both.
The best advice I can offer you is this: Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the horizon as you do. Enjoy every moment you spend working toward your goals, and know that even if you fail to meet them, you will grow as a person in your attempts. Acknowledge your failures and allow yourself time to grieve, but don’t let your grief consume you. Set a new goal, adjust your expectations and keep your head held high, enjoying every minute of your life as you work your way toward what’s next. Sometimes, what’s next may be right in front of you, happening right now. Be willing to open your eyes and see it.