Like most, I grew up with the notion that anytime I wasn’t in school or at work, that was considered free time. Time I could use to do everything I wanted to but couldn’t when I was on the clock or dealing with other responsibilities. When the clock hit 4:30pm I was happy to clock out and meet a friend for Happy Hour. We would drone on about how dissatisfying our jobs were and when I came home I occupied my evening binge watching Netflix.
Growing dissatisfied with the routine of life I would plan as many trips as I could afford, go out every weekend, and feel discouraged over the unhealthy romantic relationships I seemed to fall into. This seemed like the norm so I continued this cycle month after month. Becoming wary of the little progress I was making towards my real goals in life.
However, what I didn’t realize was that because I spent so much of my time scheduling in “fun,” I left no time for myself to grow, learn something new, or just to sit down and really think about the kind of life I wanted for myself. I was happy with most things in my life but there were still a lot of things that were causing prolonged disappointment.
Social media, family, and cultural expectations can all be barriers to finding what your true purpose. It’s hard to ignore the glossy advertisements and instagram posts that all paint this story of what we need to buy or do to become the popular thing of the moment. Even harder, family members who have decided what they believe your future should look like and either praise or reprimand you when you are simply trying to experiment and find your role in this world. However, sometimes it can even be ourselves. We believe we aren’t worthy enough to achieve the life we’ve always wanted for ourselves. That we don’t deserve to be prosperous and happy.
Ask yourself. What do you truly need in this life to be happy? What does fulfillment look like to you? Is it backpacking solo through Europe or having a happy home full of children and love? Is it being closer to nature, smelling pine needles, and being able to actually see the glittering stars in the sky? Only you know that answer. That’s why we are so often dissatisfied once we start to follow another persons’ path instead of our own.
Make a List
Now you know what you want or at least have a starting place. That’s really the hardest part! On a piece of paper, begin to map out small bite sized steps that will help you reach your goals. Maybe you want increase your skills in a certain area or get outside your comfort zone. This can be as easy as enrolling in a new course or reassessing new strategies with your manager.
Schedule Your Time
There’s no need to feel deprived or guilty when you’re having fun! Schedule out blocks of time for you to work on knocking things off your list. Time blocking is an effective way to ensure you’re using your most attentive and productive times of the day efficiently. Sometimes, I even like to set a timer for 45 minutes to keep me focused and then I’ll take a break. You can start with 15 minutes and work your way up. This will ensure you’re properly focused and not scrolling through social media since it’s time sensitive.
Build a Community
This step can make or break you. Either your environment can help or hinder you. You need others with similar goals or who are doing things you want to because this will encourage you to keep going. It’s hard to fuel yourself alone! Make sure to build a strong and supportive support system around yourself.