It is easy to get caught up in your journey towards larger goals such as a new job, relocating, beginning a new chapter in your life, or just making a big change.
A dedicated focus on a goal can be rewarding, challenging, and fulfilling. But having a focus that is too narrow means you miss out on so much that life has to offer.
The portions of your life that are not dedicated to a specific goal are not wasted time, they can be the parts that make us most content.
By slowing down and taking the time to focus on the small pieces that make up your everyday life you can find fulfillment along the way as you make your way towards your big goals.
The importance of long-term goals
Having goals to strive for in both your personal and professional life are a way to continuously grow as a person. Having something to work towards can keep you going and give you a sense of accomplishment as you hit milestones.
Long-term goals can help you get out of your comfort zone by learning new skills and encouraging you to push yourself to get where you want to go.
Goals give you a sense of direction and a way to feel grounded when life gets uncertain or hectic. Your goals can be an anchor of stability when you feel lost of don’t know what to do. The road to your goals is winding and will change over time, that’s perfectly normal and how it goes when you make goals over long periods of time.
Your long-term goals do not need to fit into any mold and should be unique to you. For some this may be writing a best-selling novel or buying a second home on the coast. For others it will be to become proficient at a hobby they enjoy or to get work in a field you are passionate about.
Don’t get so focused on your goals you miss everyday joys
Focusing too narrowly on big goals that are far in the future can mean you miss out on many of the small things that make life so amazing. Simple things happen everyday in your life that may not directly contribute to goals you have or things you need to get done, but add happiness and contentment.
Over time your goals may change, get accomplished, or be let go. As you work towards a longer-term goal make sure you don’t neglect the things that bring happiness to your everyday life.
As important as goals are, our life is not meant to be a set of goals trying to get us to a certain point in our life. Not everything in our life is meant to be a goal. We do not need to strive to get faster and faster at making dinner or work to get more efficient at spending our downtime.
You should make time to work towards your goals, but also realize that there are times when being in the moment and enjoying life is more important.
Do not sacrifice all your small moments of happiness to get closer towards your goals. Life is about compromise and balance. The balance between being disciplined to work on your goals and allowing yourself to live in the moment to enjoy the here and now.
Think of all the small things that make you smile
When you think about what makes you happy, your thoughts may first go to the bigger picture. The job you have worked to get, the house you have bought, the 5K race you recently ran, or the piece of art you finally finished. After running through the list of those larger items, think about the small things within each day that put you in a better mood, bring a sense of contentment, and lift your spirits.
These small joys aren’t things that get you towards a larger goal or accomplishment, but they make life a bit more enjoyable:
The smell of fresh baked cookies and the first bite when they come out of the oven
Hanging laundry outside on a warm day
Getting to bed early so you have time to read
Listening to a playlist that makes you want to get up and dance
Playing a board game with your partner or spouse
Watching the fireflies dance in the backyard at dusk
Watching the first snowfall of the season
Listening to the rain hit your windows
Take time for small joys
Recognizing the small joys that bring you happiness is the first step. The next part is to allow yourself the time to enjoy those things.
When you have goals and things you need to get done it can be hard to let yourself take time away from those to simply enjoy yourself.
If this describes you, consider adding into your schedule times to step away from what you are doing for five minutes. Spend that time finding things around you that make you content or take part in something that makes you happy.
When you recognize the happiness something is bringing you, give yourself the time to truly be in the moment and enjoying it.