Having a relaxed and fun life while still reaching your goals sounds too good to be true, right? If you expect a goal-setting guide for lazy people now, we have to disappoint you. Achieving goals requires work and effort. On the other hand, it can be fun too.
What Is the Price?
Working on your goals can be fun, moreover, it should be fun. It cannot be fun all the time, of course. There are harder times when you face obstacles and setbacks. There are times when you need to work hard and when you have to make sacrifices.
Basically, it comes down to the following inequality:
Outcome of Your Goal > Effort and Sacrifices
The outcome of your goal must be greater than the sum of all your efforts and sacrifices to reach that goal. In other words, the price must not be too high. This sounds logical and reasonable and even too trivial to be mentioned.
However, think about the man who dreamed about travelling with the Trans-Siberian Railway all his life. He will do it when he retires he said to himself and he worked all his life with this dream in mind. Short after he has retired he got ill and could not walk anymore. Therefore, he could not do the long journey anymore and even if he could, he might not have enjoyed it as much as he had planned to before.
Or, think about a colleague who tells you that she has only ten more years to work before she will retire and then enjoy life.
Oh, and there is this lawyer who invested years in her studies and even more years in her carrier in the law firm only to wake up one morning to recognize that her life is not fulfilling. But, it is too late to do something else. Or, is it not?
Enjoy Life or Work on Your Goals?
There are two ends of the spectrum with two kinds of people.
Live for the Moment
There are the people that live for the moment with no concrete plan for the future. As soon as they get some money, they spend it and they certainly enjoy life. The downside, however, is that they do not achieve big goals because this requires some planning at least.
Wait for the Right Moment
On the other side, there are people who think they can only be happy and fulfilled when they reach a certain point, for example retirement. They are doing their job and enjoy life from time to time (weekends, vacations) but basically, they are just waiting for the right time to come. It is kind of like the guy who got this expensive bottle of Champagne, but he always wanted to spare it for the right moment. Then, after ten years the Champagne was spoiled, and he could only throw it away.
Find Your Balance
As so often, when there is a spectrum, it is best to get things in balance. Should you enjoy life or work on your goals is not the right question. Of course, you should do both. You should find your balance between enjoying your life and working on your goals. Even this wording is not quite correct. Ideally, there is no “between”. Ideally, you enjoy working on your goals.
It is a bit like this “work-life balance”, where it is important to understand that you are still alive when you are working. Sure, sometimes we work to finance our leisure activities. But, think about the price. Is it worth working in a job you hate just to finance your next vacation or your house? Your working hours including commute might well be most of your awake life.
Sure, most of us have to work for a living. But, we can still decide what kind of work we do and how we do it.
If someone offered you a two-week vacation for nine months of your life, would you do that? Basically, that is the deal when you hate your job. Are you willing to pay that price? If your answer is no, you might want to change your job, or you might want to make your job more enjoyable and purposeful. The latter might be easier than the former. Too many people change their job just to find themselves in the same situation again. You are in control, in more control than you think you are, even if you are not the CEO of your company.
Make Your Journey Enjoyable
The road towards your goal might be a bumpy one. There will be obstacles on the way.
Making hard decisions now, often leads to a more relaxed life later.
People usually fear loss more than they value possible gain. Even if you have invested years in your carrier it might still be a good idea to change it if your heart tells you, your life’s purpose is something else.
Sometimes you have to do something you just do not enjoy doing. That is fine (and necessary) if it does not take too long. In this case you can reward yourself with something you do enjoy after you are done with the hard work or at least reached a milestone.
And, do not be too hard on yourself. Sometimes having fun is fine even if it is not related to your goals. And, sometimes working through some tough tasks is important too, when if helps you reaching your goals.
The Journey Is the Reward
When working on your goals it is essential that you enjoy the journey. This has two main reasons. First, you are more likely to stick to your goals, which is not always the case with these New Year’s Resolutions as you might know. When you enjoy working on your goals it is motivating and you cannot wait to get out of your bed in the morning just to get things done. Second, it is fun. You achieve something, and you enjoy it at the same time. These are the best ingredients to live a fulfilled life.
Imagine your goal is to have a restaurant. How much fun would it be to plan it, to find a place, to prepare the menus, and so on.
If you plan to travel the world, planning the route and learning about the different cultures can be a virtual adventure by itself.
Goal setting is the journey. It is your journey. Enjoy it.
If you would like to learn more about goal setting please check out our free goal-setting eBook.