Life is better with positive challenges. I have an inherent need to grow and develop, and I can do this by setting goals and moving beyond my comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of challenging things. Find reasons to do things that will help me grow. It doesn’t matter if it turns out perfectly, or if I fail or feel stupid. I can grow from it if I don’t back down.
These goals do not have to be super challenging: the purpose is not to overwhelm myself and stay busy in the rat race of life. I can get more joy over small victories: making a new fiend at the park, finally asking for a favor, finishing a video I wanted to create, or publishing an article.
I like to consider goals in the following categories: physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual. Having a healthy body, vibrant emotions, engaged mind, active social life, and purposeful spirit will ensure I am a well-balanced person.
The challenges I design for myself can be about anything, but there is a certain emotional power in two types of goals: relationships with others and creation. Improving my relationships will help me in the stability of my life, and brings great joy. Creating just about anything is a wonderful way to create beneficial challenges: it can be arts and crafts, but can also include writing, music, or anything new.
I like to create goals that are project oriented. Projects have an ending and tangible outcome. I enjoy projects because they are something I can really throw myself into and find passion for doing it. When I’m working on projects, I can engage in a state of flow: when I am totally engaged in the work I’m doing, and every though it is challenging, I push through and finish.
Often, I like to simply challenge myself with things I already enjoy. Which isn’t really helpful. I can be busy and accomplish a long to-do list; it’s a lot harder to sit still and to have things remain undone. I need to remember when I am setting goals and developing projects not just to focus on things I already can do, but to put in things that I really need to work on.
And I love thinking about goals as projects—concrete, with a concluding date, and something you can finish. I try to do somewhere around ten completed projects a month—obviously, some projects take more time, but when I break my life up into projects I feel more able to accomplish things and more satisfied with what I’ve done.
Through the goals and challenges, I engage in, I can create a life that I enjoy. The life that I create doesn’t have to be incredible, and it shouldn’t be unrealistic. Creating a life that I enjoy can be simple: recognizing the activities and hobbies that I love to do and doing more of them: eliminating the things I do out of obligation and can easily remove, and learning to keep a positive attitude.
Often, I am not realistic about what I enjoy. I might find myself doing an activity because people around me are doing it, not because I actually like it. I engage in actives out of perceived obligation instead of enjoyment and dedication. I can instead seek the things I truly enjoy and do more of them. Often, they are harder to do than many things I normally do. For instance, I might normally watch a movie at home but will find greater enjoyment going on a hike with my family. Lazy fallbacks easily become my primary source of enjoyment when I am overstressed, tired or worried.
The following table illustrates how I categorize many things in my daily life. I strive to increase the amount of time I spend on the essential and eliminate lazy fallbacks and obligations.
|Essential: True Enjoyment||Service, recreation with family, mediation, time outside, working on a goal|
|Needs to Get Done||Chores, exercise, employment, caregiving|
|Lazy Fall Backs||Fiction, social media, TV, eating out|
|Obligations||Some volunteer work, extra work, meetings|
Even as I strive to create a life I enjoy, there comes a point where I need to enjoy the life I have. Many tasks and even goals I have aren’t that enjoyable but are necessary. It’s often easy and better to enjoy right where I am instead of constantly trying to overhaul my life into something I might enjoy. Sometimes, life changes are necessary, but often, joy is found in what I already possess and the circumstances I’m already in. It’s far more powerful to learn to enjoy where I am at instead of always chasing an elusive state of happiness that might never come.
Learning to enjoy the life I have is founded on habits of mindfulness, gratitude, work, and integrity. Often it is simply paying attention to the good that is already inherent in my life. Even when I need to clean up yet another mess, deal with a family crisis, and just go through the daily chores of life, I can find joy within very mundane tasks.
Creating a life I enjoy, and also enjoying the life I have, should have a foundation of ideals and values. Creating a personal mission statement, and going through a goal program can help clarify the principles I want in my life and help me live up to those ideals.
Engaging in pleasurable and challenging experiences can be a great step to enhance my underlying state and create more moments of joy. Over time, positive experiences will happen more often, goals are reached, and relationships are strengthened.
Usually I, don’t enjoy my life when I sitting and worrying about it instead of getting up and doing things.
- Make a goal that is something essential and will bring you true enjoyment.
- Try to create a goal that will have a tangible outcome that you can easily control.
- Set a deadline and hold yourself accountable for getting it done.