How can we motivate ourselves when we are happy and unfulfilled?

Goals and a sense of purpose

Sometimes we can have too many goals, not enough goals, big goals, small goals, goals we achieve, goals we never achieve and goals which seem more like a dream than a reality we can ever achieve. We may want to change our lives, change careers, relationships, find a new hobby or gain a new skill. But quite often we can confuse what we want with what we do not want, think we need to be always striving and achieving, and sometimes we do not know how to move forward, where to go and what to do. We constantly put back our goals for another year or two, citing that now is not the time. We say we will act when we have enough money, enough time, when things feel right. Maybe we already have what we want and we are happy with the way our lives are and we do not think we need to change anything in the short, medium, or long-term. Or maybe we feel burnt out with constantly chasing our goals, achieving things and feel a sense of dissatisfaction and de-sensitisation.

So what do we do if we need more fulfilment and we want to achieve something but we do not know what to do, or that we set ourselves challenges or things to pursue but nothing ever comes to fruition? How can we motivate ourselves if we are happy and unfulfilled? And how can we find a balance between striving for a better life without needing to constantly change and achieve things? Ultimately, what we do or do not want, and how we get there is in our hands. We can start with assessing our lives, how happy we are and how we want things to change. We can then set small goals, things that are not too challenging, to give us the confidence to move onto the bigger things. Having a purpose, something to aim for, can be good for our mental health and can keep us motivated. When we achieve a goal we have been striving for it can boost our self-confidence, our self-esteem and give us a sense of purpose. We all need things that fulfil us and give us purpose and a sense of meaning.  As poet, Langston Hughes said: “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly”.

We do not have to have to achieve goal after goal to find this sense of purpose and meaning, but accomplishing a small goal or a long desired outcome may be all you need in the short-term. We need to be mindful of our fast-paced lives and the messages that society gives us to be constantly achieving, so that setting goals does not become another tick box exercise, another thing to do, and that we do not become desensitised to our achievements and our accomplishments. As Bob Marley said: The day you stop racing, is the day you win the race”.

So let’s strike the right balance between resisting the urge to set too many goals, rushing to get to where we want to be and finding our sense of purpose, fulfilment and celebrating our achievements.

What is your purpose, goal, dream?

Article Written by:
Cheryl Aalit
Transformative Coach