Article by Wendy McCance
Picture this: You have a goal to be successful in your career. You go to college, work long hours and put your career first in front of everything else in your life. You see the finish line, that place you ultimately want to end up and you work hard to get there.
Now think about this: You are nearing retirement. You’ve made it! After all of those years of working crazy hours and putting everything you had into that goal you set out to meet, you are finally standing at the finish line huffing and puffing and barely standing, but you are there.
Here’s the question: Now that you can relax if you choose, what do you want to do with your time?
It’s a scenario countless people play out in the course of their lifetime. Goals are great and achieving them is terrific. But, what did it take to get there?
- Were you able to have a family (if you wanted one)?
- Is that family still intact?
- Did you get enough time to spend with family and friends or do you now have regrets?
- Were you able to pursue a hobby?
- Do you feel you really know who you are, or were you so focused on your job that you didn’t take time for closer inspection?
- Do you feel like life flew by too quickly?
- Is your health poor because you worked so hard without much of a break that you wore your body down?
What would happen if you didn’t make it to the finish line? What if you passed away on your way to your goal, or made it to your goal only to pass away soon after? Could you feel satisfaction without meeting that final destination, that goal you are heading towards?
All of that hard work without taking the time to slow down and enjoy what is right in front of you. Was it worth it? Is that really the way to live out your days? Why does it seem that people are under the impression that becoming successful means giving up everything in life except your one goal if it is to be achieved? What is wrong with this scenario?
There are only so many hours in a day a person can work and be productive. After 10 or 12 hours, you might be moving, but your brain is exhausted. Mistakes are more easily made and judgement becomes poor. Without time to get adequate sleep or even to wind down, you are risking burning out and a host of health problems that you don’t need.
There are ways to get to the finish line without losing your life in the process. It’s working smart and respecting yourself that’s the key. That means, you get a good night’s sleep. You make time for family and friends. You are present when you aren’t working.
So let’s say you provide yourself with some goals so that you can improve the quality and enjoyment of your life.
Here are 5 suggestions:
1. Getting 7 hours of sleep most nights so you can be awake, productive and your creativity is at its best. You’ll carry out just as much if not more when you are alert enough to be on your game.
2. When you are away from work, be present. When you are at your child’s recital, pay attention to what’s in front of you. No daydreaming about what you still need to get done and put away your electronic devices (unless you are taking pictures or video of the performance).
3. Take some you time. Whether it’s some time to read, take a walk or even nap, you need time to slow down and take care of yourself.
4. Eat well. The better the food you put in your body, the better you perform. The better you perform, the quicker you will get to your goal.
5. Consider your interests and pick up a hobby or activity. Part of living a more satisfying life is to spend time doing things you enjoy for no other reason than it makes you happy.
Final thoughts: Picture what would make you feel most fulfilled after you have reached your goal and implement that into your life now. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy watching your kids grow up. Once they are grown, you can’t take it back. Make time for your family and friends. Who knows how long they will be around. You don’t want to regret not seeing them enough when you had the chance. Don’t wait until retirement to figure out who you are. You only get one life and you never know how long that life will be.
The most tragic thing that could ever happen is looking back and regretting how you spent your time getting to your goal and not if you achieved that goal. In the end, it’s how you live each day and not what that last day looks like that matters.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]