I’ve been out of college for a few years now, and so are a lot of the people I know and talk to. We’re getting used to the real world and living on our own. There are a lot of benefits to this, and of course it’s the natural progression of life, eventually you need to move on from what is comfortable and embark on your own. A common thread I see with a lot of people both in my life and on social media, is that people are either very stressed or unsatisfied with the current state of their life (or at least certain areas of their life).
This could be for a lot of reasons, job, location, and social life come to mind, but really it could be a thousand things, but something just seems to be off. They feel stagnant.
Is this true for you? Do you wish things were different than the way they are?
I have struggled with this at times. It felt like life was happening to me and that I could barely keep up. I had to take some action and make some changes, because I couldn’t let life blow past me.
So I identified where I felt discontent or unhappy and identified where I could make changes.
At work I felt like each day was running me over and that I was constantly playing catch up, so now I’m working on getting organized and increasing efficiency.
In fitness I couldn’t consistently work out on my own, and this was really bothering me. Sports had always been a huge part of my life so I never really had to workout to stay fit, but that’s not the case anymore. I would get home after work and go for a run just to avoid gaining weight. This was a major sticking point in my life, and was causing a lot of frustration. So, I joined a gym and started going to classes, and the coaching and community with other people in class has paid huge dividends for me. I enjoy going because I enjoy being with other people and the feeling of good daily movement. Exercise used to be a stressor for me, and now it’s one of the best parts of my day.
For a large part of 2017 I felt off because I would read books and listen to podcasts from these great people who create great things that help people, and I wanted in on that. I felt a desire the create something and contribute to the world, even if it’s in a small way. I think this weighed on me a lot. Writing has always been my best creative outlet, so the natural thing for me to do to get going was start a blog. Since I launched mindfulsquad.com I have felt more fulfilled, and that has gone a long way to contributed to my overall happiness.
So what can you do if you feel unsettled or like your life could be better? Here are a few things that worked for me over a period of time. While I didn’t have the forethought to sit down and think about these things, I hope they will help you.
First: Identify Your Sticking Points
I think the important thing here is to identify what causes you to feel either unhappy or unsettled in your life. Is there something that is consistently causing you stress? Look at your life as a whole and think about where your stress comes through.
Second: Identify Changes You Could Make
Once you identify what is causing you to feel stressed or stuck, look for changes you could make that would alter or completely change those stressors.
Third: Take Action
This one is simple, but it’s also the hardest. I want to enjoy my life and I want others to do the same, but we have to act and make changes if we want to achieve that. So find the things that cause you stress, identify how you could change that, and take some action. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it. In the end, if you want something you really have to take it upon yourself to make it happen.
2 Examples From My Life
Sticking point: Feeling behind at work (which led to burnout)
Changes: Get organized and strategize
Why was this a solution?: Gave me a sense of control and accomplishment daily
Sticking point: Didn’t like traditional exercise
Changes: Join gym and go to classes with other people
Why was this a solution?: Loved the coaches and community with others
Over time it can take a toll to be unsatisfied. For some people, massive change is needed. Maybe you do need to change jobs or move to a different place. I think for most people though there are small changes you could make here and there that can make a big difference in your life right now.
If you want your life to be better or you want to be more satisfied, then take the steps needed to make that happen. No one is going to do it for you, and it probably won’t happen on it’s own. I understand the frustration, and not to be too flowery, but really if you want to be happy then go out there and do it. Your job doesn’t define your happiness, only you do. I know life is difficult at times, but do more of what you enjoy and spend time with people that put a smile on your face, and I think the joy and fulfillment will come. Happiness is often in the little things.
"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." -Annie Dillard