Last updated on December 17th, 2018 at 11:07 pm
Till the age of 18 I had a plan. I was going to school, getting good grades, making my family proud.
Then at 18 I was free.
Something I always dreamed of – free to choose what I want to do with my life.
I followed a path that society and my parents told me to follow – I went to university.
At that time in my life it didn’t even occur to me that anything else was an option back then.
So I decided I needed to study something that’s hard, something I’m interested in and will for sure be very profitable in the future.
Biochemistry it is then.
I didn’t know what biochemistry was, I didn’t understand what biochemists do, I just knew I liked chemistry from school and it sounded like something that will make me good money in the future. At least, there were articles everywhere how there’s a shortage of biochemists and biologists, so I decided to go with it. I owed this to my future self and my parents.
And I hated every single minute of it.
The work in the laboratory, the constant struggle to make or save money to support myself while doing this, the long hours studying.
I hated every part of the process, even though I am now grateful for every single thing I learned during that time about our biology and life around us.
But the fact is – during that time I didn’t learn ANYTHING about myself. I thought I was shy and don’t want to be around people. I thought that things needed to be hard to be “worth it”. To me if you enjoyed what you did – you’re not doing enough.
Well at the end I got my Masters in something I never wanted, something I didn’t want to pursue further and felt lost and like life just doesn’t make sense.
But life did make sense, I just was too afraid to trust and see it.
I thought that choosing something that’s secure and highly appreciated by others was what I should be doing.
My belief was that if I do something that’s easy, I’m not doing something worthwhile.
And while I can say I’ve outgrown this for the most part, till this day I catch myself trying to overcomplicate even the most simple things to make them seem worthwhile. To make them good enough for others and myself.
However, since that time I’ve grown a lot and learned a lot.
I learned that taking the easy (for you) way, the one that’s most enjoyable – even if it’s not that profitable at the beginning – is always the right way.
Note I’m not saying take the easiest way and play the lottery until you win it. Or fill out surveys to get gift cards. To me, doing this is not the most enjoyable way to spend your time and therefore not the right way. But when I create something I 100% stand behind and love – that’s the biggest reward of all.
So here are a few steps I noticed help me to set the goals I actually want and achieve them.
How To Achieve What You Actually Want, Not What You Should
1. Open your mind and notice opportunities
In order to know what you want to do with your life, you need to be open and curious about opportunities. Opportunities are all around us, if we’re just willing to see them.
Starting my blog was one of the most rewarding and therapeutic experiences in my life. It’s a place I get to be who I am and help others by doing so.
But it wasn’t something I would’ve thought of 7 years ago. My friend always joked I should write a recipe book once I finish studying, because I loved cooking so much. I thought, yeah, yeah. Like that was too easy. Making recipes? It’s not worth it. Nobody needs recipes, people can figure it out themselves.
Then one day, I actually wanted to make brownies. But I had never made brownies and I didn’t know how to. So I googled a recipe for healthy brownies. I am not sure, but I think the Oh She Glows blog came up first in the results. I looked around that website and loved every single recipe there. And shortly after, I realized that this website was created by one human being only. It was a girl from Canada that took (BEAUTIFUL) pictures of the meals she made at home.
She wasn’t part of a huge corporation or a magazine – she was just her and this was her space to share her passion with the world.
Something inside me felt it. I could do that and I actually want to do it. This was the moment I opened my mind and noticed this new opportunity. It had never crossed my mind before.
2. Let yourself do the easy thing
So even though I noticed this new opportunity and it was just right there for me to grab it (I simply had to buy hosting and start writing) – it took me 3 years to finally start my blog.
Somehow my mind couldn’t let this happen. It was too easy.
I struggled with how simple it was and how many people were already doing it.
It felt like I wouldn’t be anything special.
Like I would be a nobody.
But I did it anyway and contrary to all my beliefs: creating and MAINTAINING a blog wasn’t easy at all. It was hard work and I learned A LOT about all parts of life and about myself.
What I was also wrong about was that nobody would care about my blog and that there are way too many out there for someone to come to mine.
But people did, they came and kept coming.
I had many other “businesses” that seemed easy before I attempted doing them. But the difference was – I didn’t get any reward out of them. Besides making some money, I didn’t feel like I had done something worthwhile. And I could’ve made more money doing something I enjoyed more.
So if you feel like something’s a good idea, but it doesn’t seem too challenging or like it’s gonna be worth it – try anyway. That’s the only way to know for sure.
3. Do things for you, not others.
This might seem selfish, but when you really think about it – you’re doing everyone around you a favor.
People you love don’t want to see you miserable just because they think something’s better for you.
What stopped me many times from doing the things that actually made me happy was this very question:
“What would they think if they find out?”
Now, I didn’t want to do any porn, sell drugs or something like that – we’re talking about working in sales or writing a blog.
But without ever voicing it, I knew that I don’t live my life because others approve it.
Others might not approve me staying at home when I’m sick – should I not do it?
They might think it’s disgusting to eat a salad for lunch – should I eat a steak with French fries instead? No.
You do what you feel is best for you. When you know, you know. This is very important when you’re on a journey that doesn’t repay you instantly.
My mom, my sister, my dad – everyone around me asked me for years why I’m doing this blog and wasting my time. But I kept doing it and I believed in it.
Other people will always have their opinions, but the only opinion that matters is yours.
Now it doesn’t mean you should share everything you do with them – in fact if you think they’d discourage you in the beginning – don’t. Work on whatever you’re doing until you have the trust and confidence and then share it. If people find out, they find out – not the end of the world.
4. Know and remember your why
This is huge when setting goals, and it actually should be the one of the first steps.
Know why you’re actually doing something. Get informed.
This would’ve saved me the years I spent studying biochemistry. If I knew what I was doing and what I was hoping to do with my life in 5 years, I would’ve probably done something entirely different.
I always wanted to travel, impact people all over the world and to have enough money to support myself and my family. I wanted to not ever worry about money. Not to be wasteful with money, but when I had the opportunity to do something I wanted – to be able to afford it.
Now, where does biochemistry fit here?
I needed to study at least 8 years to start making good money (because you need a PhD) and I was going to work in a laboratory or at a desk somewhere consulting companies.
I could’ve made the same money studying something like, I don’t know, business or marketing in just 3-4 years and my chances of business travel would’ve been much higher.
But I wouldn’t really be impacting anyone with both of these.
Now with blogging I have the opportunity to do all three. I’m not quite there yet, but I see growth and potential and that’s all that matters.
And to stay motivated (and sane) I keep reminding myself of my why periodically.
5. How will this change you?
One thing I ask myself when new opportunities come is: How will this change me?
Not my life, not my situation, but me. Will I be happier? Will it make me grow and learn? Will it make me like & trust myself more? What new skill will I learn?
For example working in sales made me more outgoing and confident when talking to strangers.
This is HUGE. It’s something I never planned and was in fact the scariest thing about sales for me. I was always shy and took a lot of time to warm up to strangers.
But here’s the thing: when you do something you’re scared of, despite the fear – you become confident. And motivated. And you might actually discover something new about yourself, you just might surprise yourself.
This is what happened for me. I got to know many new, awesome people thanks to this scary opportunity and it did shape me into a person I like and trust more.
6. Plant, then let go & grow
Okay, so when you do have your goal, the most important step is: DO.
Do whatever you need to do and then do it again and again and again.
Don’t follow things around and try to fix them all the time.
Wait for what you planted to grow.
Sometimes we want something to happen so much, that we think we need to give it a push. But somehow that push is not in the right direction.
For example, sometimes I feel like I’ve written a great piece of content and it just has to get out there and get really famous. So I push.
But. Sometimes it doesn’t happen – you can’t really influence these things.
All you can and need to do is plant your seed, let go and grow.
Then you have more time to plant new healthy seeds and let them grow as well.
Whenever I do this – I see the best results.
7. Enjoy the ride
So not everything about your road to the goal will be sunshine and blue skies.
There are days I just don’t feel like doing anything.
But I do my best and I make sure to enjoy the time, because when I don’t, whenever I try to push through I end up not wanting to do ANYTHING for weeks.
And as we know, consistency is the most important part of achieving a goal.
I found the only way to be consistent is to give myself breaks and to not think of myself as a machine, but as a human.
8. Focus on the main result, don’t obsess over milestones
With so much NOISE out there, it’s tough to stay focused on your goal.
We set all these mile stones that we think we need to achieve in order to achieve our goals, but I found they only stress me out and make me do things I don’t really want to do.
So for example if I want to make $500 blogging, why do I obsess over how many followers I have on Instagram? These have nothing to do with each other.
If 2 months ago I wanted to fit in a dress and now this dress fits perfectly already, why do I feel like I have to lose 4 more pounds?
Even though I like the way I look. Because I thought I needed to when I started?
Adjust your goals as you go and don’t obsess with numbers that don’t really matter.
Work on the main result you need to achieve – again keep an open mind for new opportunities and let go of things that don’t serve you.
Alright so now a recap:
- Open your mind to see a new opportunity or recognize an old one. What can you do that can potentially make you more successful or happier?
- Know your why. Why would you want to achieve this? How will it change your life?
- What’s something easy you can and want to do? Let yourself do it. Doing something that’s easy for you won’t be underwhelming don’t worry – there’s always something to learn.
- Forget what others are going to say.
- Will this easy thing change you? Will you learn new skills that will benefit you further in life? How will you grow as a person? Will this make you trust and like yourself more?
- Do it and do it over and over again.
- Not as easy as you thought? Maybe you need a break, so you can stay consistent.
- What was your goal again? Remember it and don’t obsess over unimportant numbers.
Okay guys, I know I talked a lot about myself here. Still, I hope you can relate and find something helpful in these words. Something that will give you that final push to make the decision you really want to make and not one that you feel obligated to make.