Recently, I found myself in a rut.
I was constantly looking forward to the end of the working day and to the conclusion of my training sessions. I had nowhere to go and no plans, but I knew I didn't want to be at work or in the gym.
I know I'm not alone when it comes to these feelings. Social media is regularly flooded with announcements of "thank God it's Friday," as well as posts complaining about the grind at work.
Very rarely do I hear, "Man, I can't wait to get back to that 9 to 5 on Monday!" This is very concerning, given we dedicate a vast portion of our life to work and other endeavors close to our heart. Surely, it doesn't have to be this way.
When someone does discuss his or her love of work, I feel equally refreshed and envious. Well, maybe more envious.
As I reflected, it dawned on me that the initial reason I had selected my current profession and hobby was out of choice. The happiness, the challenge, and wanting to excel and better myself, had drawn me in. So what had changed?
The goals I had set and the resulting internal pressures were imprisoning me. I was no longer putting the effort and quality into my work, as I was too busy waiting for the end game and the accolades.
In training, my focus had shifted from mastering technique and slowly progressing, to clouded thoughts regarding pending competitions and the belief that I wasn't up to scratch or would embarrass myself.
At work, revenue, retention and profits had replaced optimal client wellbeing. My thought process had become muddled, and the way I functioned was almost robotic and emotionless. The tasks which had once made me content were now as menial and boring as scrubbing toilets.
Don't get me wrong; benchmarks are an important and necessary part of the workplace. They help to ensure viability of a given organization, which in turn, puts food on the table.
Also, competitions in sports provide a great platform to challenge yourself against other similar individuals, leading to growth and improvement.
However, goals consume the best of us, and when this happens, the process is lost. I'm sure many of you, upon reaching a goal, immediately set another or move the goal posts further away, making your current target more challenging.
This is because the human mind thrives on the journey; the destination is nice, but it is brief and intermittent.
So, what I'm asking of you all is to take a step back. Evaluate what you are currently doing in your life. Is it leading to fulfillment and enjoyment?
If not, take a look at what you would like to attain from a given pursuit and determine how you're going to get there. What steps are involved? Outline a plan and a process.
Use your goals as a guide, and don't let them become a burden. Every now and again, you'll fall back into bad habits. Hit the reset button; review your goals and enjoy the process.
As I write this, I'm beginning to climb out of the hazy woods of oppression and constraint. I understand it is difficult and demanding; though, it is also enjoyable.