For those of you who have followed my blog for some time, you’ll know that I’ve been busy doing a ‘100 Things 2017’ challenge, the evidence if which I post in picture form to my Instagram account. The aim was to set myself 100 goals for the year, with each goal playing a part to enrich my life. The very first post of this blog encouraged you lovely readers to do the same and reap the benefits. Starting this blog was number 4 on that list and my golden aim for the year was ‘Happiness’; remembering that it is all about the journey and not the destination.
After a swift start to the year, I have somewhat slowed, having only just achieved goals 20 and 21 this weekend, which was having a Eurovision party and a boardgame session. As you can see, my goals aren’t necessarily massive, rather than a lot of smaller ones that make my life enjoyable. There’s no right or wrong type of goals, but as last year was a pretty dire point of my life, the majority of goals this year have been about doing things that remind me to enjoy life (with some more serious goals too 🙂 ) rather than get too caught up with work and being too serious.
I have tendencies with being very studious/academic. The issue of being this way inclined is that your life can so easily end up ONLY being about work. During one point of life a few years ago I realised that I didn’t know who I was without my work. It really was quite a terrifying situation to be in! If you face similar problems, my suggestion is to immediately make a list of things that you enjoy and to book the dates in and do those things. Being a workaholic means it’s highly likely you will place your fun to the back of the queue and forget your own needs. So I recommend booking some of your enjoyable dates in with friends, to make it less likely that you will cancel.
I started executing my list very swiftly, first doing all the things that could immediately be done. These included throwing away/donating old clothes, finding a good savings account, setting up monthly donations to Save The Children and Samaritans, making a reading list, sending handwritten letters, and starting a wellbeing blog (hurrah!).
The second part was booking in as many items on the list as possible so that I would already have things to look forward to during the year and be held to keeping the dates I’d made with friends. This part has gone pretty well, but also had some limitations in the sense that if something suddenly came up that I really would have liked to take part in, I probably couldn’t as I already had something booked in. However, it has led to many an interesting outing, including seeing Cirque du Soleil, my holiday to Sri Lanka, walking barefoot, seeing Moominland, Bob Dylan, Apocalyptica, going on a British Library Tour, the Museum of Brands, playing electronic darts and woodcarving. I still have many more an exciting event booked in this year and by having this pre-set, I find myself feeling a lot more positive overall.
One thing I became very aware of during this goal-setting however, was how easy it could be to spend every weekend not seeing your family, particularly if they have different interests! Thankfully I had pre-empted this, with one key goal being to spend more time with my other half. We have seen concerts together, gone on holiday and had meals out. It has been nice to spend quality time together and I really cherish these moments. It makes me realise how fleeting life can be and how our time with loved ones can never be enough. I find it incredibly important to have this time and feel very grateful for it.
Other items on the list are intended as things that need to be sustained until the end of the year. Examples include setting personal boundaries and keeping them, reading more historical non-fiction books (to geek up on my general knowledge), and exercising (I’m failing on this one 🙂 ).
Finally, with setting goals, I’ve learnt that I mustn’t be too rigid on completing something for completion’s sake. At some point a month ago, I got a bit stressed out that I was behind target with the goals. I had to remind myself that my main objective for the year was to be happy and that these goals were meant to help me do that. As long as I am happy, it doesn’t matter if I complete only one or all one hundred of them. I realised too that some no longer served purpose and it was fine to remove these instead of thinking it a challenge that I ought to complete. Once upon a time, I would have said, ‘Because I told myself I would do this, I MUST do it’. Nowadays I am able to reassess and not feel a sense of obligation to things that do not serve my ultimate purpose – being happy.
A bit of a rambling post today, but I hope this gives a view on setting life goals, a structure for completing them and making your life more fulfilling and happy 🙂
You can find my original post about the 100 Things Challenge here, with three tips on setting life goals (incidentally, it’s the very first post on the blog!): The First Post of Happiness