If I was to ask you how much of our day today you spent doing things that moved you towards your goals, could you answer?
How many things did you do today just because they made you happy? What about things that you did just because you wanted to?
On the other hand, how many things did you do today just because someone expected you to?
I won’t hold it against you if you were to say that you spent most of your day today doing things that you didn’t really enjoy. It is not your fault.
It is pretty common that we are encouraged from a young age to spend a large amount of our lives doing things just because we are expected to. As kids we do things because parents and teachers tell us to. As adults we go to work because we are supposed to.
Often, we even got the job because it is what people expected from us. It is just something that people do. Standard wisdom says to spend our days in some form of regular ‘nine to five’ type of employment. That was the way that many others before us did things. After all, that was what was told to them. That is the way that they know.
We are encouraged to do things just because that is “the way that things are done”.
I am not saying that this is wrong. I am not suggesting that you go and launch into some massive life change. I am suggesting though that however you choose to spend your time, it should be just that… Because you choose to!
Not because someone else tells you to. Not because you feel that it is what people expect from you. Because it is what you have decided is important to you.
Time is by far your most precious resource. This is because unlike almost everything else is your life, once you have spent it you will never get it back. Likewise, time that is spent on things that you don’t enjoy, or that don’t move you towards your goals, is time you won’t get back.
These goals don’t need to be financial or professional goals. They could be about spending more time with family and friends or even finishing a video game. As long as you are spending your time on something that is important to you!
How do you know what is really important to you though? Particularly if you are used to following the advice of people that mean well but still don’t have your personal perspective.
To know this, you will first need to spend the time to work out what resonates with you personally. What is it that makes you happy? What are you trying to achieve?
A great place to start is to look at where you want to be in the next 3-5 years. This is close enough that you can visualize achieving it. It is far enough away though that the idea of change itself can be inspiring and motivating.
You don’t even need to spend the time to really map out your ‘goals’ in any structured way. Although the activity of committing them in writing is especially strong, it is also ok if you are not interested in that much formality.
As long as you are aware where you are spending your time and what direction you are headed you will feel better. If you are moving in the direction of your own personal success, you are already on your way there.
With no direction, any way might seem like the right one. It is not until you get there though that you will realize that it is not the success that you were after.