I spent all of college pushing myself to the limit with everything; working multiple jobs, taking unnecessarily difficult classes full-time when I could have chosen easier routes, and now that I have graduated, life changed in a big way. I don't have any major goal, except maybe just "to be happy."
There are many things I thought would make me completely elated, like finishing college. I used to think, "If I only just got my Bachelor's, I'll start feeling happy". Yes, I am happy to a certain extent, but I didn't wake up and suddenly feel accomplished or different.
Back when I was a lonely middle school kid, I remember thinking; "I wish a boy would like me. Any boy. I just want someone to have a crush on me."
It seems like such a simple thing. "If only I had that, I would be happy like all those other girls." However, as any full grown adult knows, someone liking you is not always a good thing, especially if it's unrequited....Or if that person has binoculars looking through your window, and you need to file a restraining order.
I'm being dramatic, but hopefully you get my point. I believe that there are goals and wishes that indeed come with a price, and that includes "I wish I had a Bachelor's Degree". It seems like such a desirable thing, and sometimes, people get exactly what they want. That middle school boy who likes you grows up to be Brad Pitt. You graduate with a BA or a BS and get your dream job right away. The reality is, you very rarely get exactly what you wish for.
Recently, I've realized that it is more about perspective. It is much better to be intrinsically happy with what you do for yourself on a daily basis. These things must not be dream based. They must not be dependent on other people, either. I asked myself these questions, and you could do the same on your own;
- What do you wish you were doing with your life?
- What brings you the most joy?
- Out of those things, which ones are immediately attainable?
- What flaws do you need to improve on?
- How do you want to grow as a person?
I created a list for myself this week. They are very simple, easy-to-accomplish goals. I took a piece of card stock and drew out a graph. A lot of people would probably do an Excel spreadsheet, but I'm old fashioned. I fill in the boxes underneath the following categories:
My daily goals:
1. One hour of online lectures. (Either from Khan Academy, YouTube, iTunesU, etc.)
2. List $100 in inventory on my stores.
3. One hour of reading.
4. 30-1 hour of cleaning.
5. Write 2,000 words.
6. 30 minutes-1 hour of marketing and research.
So far, so good. Some of these goals can happen simultaneously. I can listen to an hour lecture on Khan Academy while I photograph my inventory and list it on Etsy. I can read while the laundry is drying. Not only is this list making me more focused on what need to be my new daily norm, but these are things that maybe, in the past, I accomplished all of them in one day, and yet at the end of the day, I felt terrible about myself, and thought, "I got nothing done today," because I failed to do something I had planned to do, and felt like a failure for it. As I mentioned earlier, it's about perspective.
Now, I can look at my chart, and say, "Look- you did something productive today." Obviously, there are things I do on a daily basis that are not on my chart, either. My goal is to make this list something that is so ingrained in me that it's like brushing my teeth in the morning. Some day, I can replace categories on my chart as needed, or even get rid of the chart all together when it finally sticks at my daily habits. (Apparently, it takes 21 days to form a habit.) It would get me closer to the person I want to be, and I am beginning to be a happier person in the process.