When you’re unfulfilled, it’s obvious. You don’t enjoy things the way you once did, and the idea of getting out of bed each morning is more exhausting than exciting. The job you once dreamed of doing is now just a grind and you find yourself counting down the minutes to the weekend.
Feeling unfulfilled is common — almost everyone feels bored or uninspired at some point — but nothing says you have to stay that way. You might think you’re being held back by a lack of time, money or skill, but there is almost always a way to make your dreams and goals come true.
If you think that you need to add more fulfillment to your life, start small and start making some changes. As you start to achieve these small goals, you may find yourself with the wherewithal to start tackling bigger dreams and living the life you want.
Work Up a Sweat
We’re not talking about anxiety-induced cold sweats here. Yes, it’s the same advice that you’ve heard for solving everything from weight gain to stress: exercise. Not only will exercise improve your overall health and appearance, it will help you feel better and have more energy, which you can then pour into the things that you really want to do.
Adjust Your Goals
Are you the same person that you were five years ago? No? Then why are you holding on to the same goals and aspirations that you had back then? As we grow and change, it only makes sense that our goals for life should change as well. There’s no rule saying you have to hold on to the same dreams throughout your life, so take stock of what’s on your “bucket list” periodically and make adjustments as necessary. If you’ve had the same goal for the last 15 years, but haven’t done anything about it, consider whether it’s time to let that one go. Add new goals (or adjust existing ones) to reflect where you are now and start working toward them.
Pursue Your Passions
It’s a familiar story: You enjoy art (or singing or dancing or wood carving) but life gets in the way. Work and family obligations take up so much time that you believe it’s impossible to devote any time to what really gets you going.
The longer you put your passions on the backburner, the more likely it is that you’ll feel unfulfilled. Spending day after day focused on the grind and activities you don’t really enjoy are only going to breed resentment and boredom. Make time to pursue your hobbies; maybe you turn off the silly reality show you’re not really paying attention to and write a few pages of the novel you’ve been thinking about for years. Turn in a little earlier on a Friday night so you can kick off the weekend with a short run in the park. The more you pursue your hobbies, the more it becomes a habit — and the more fulfilled you will be.
Get Out of Town
There’s a reason that companies offer paid time off: They want you to use it. If you keep your nose to the grindstone for months on end without a break, you are on a collision course with burnout. Taking time off — even if you just take a few days at home — helps you recharge your batteries and refresh your perspective.
Earn a Degree Online
Earning an advanced degree is one of the best ways to move ahead in your career. Combined with your experience, the new knowledge and skills you gain from seeking a degree can help you do more with your career — or even start down a new path. For example, explore an online MBA resource to determine whether seeking a specialized business degree can help you reach your goals. Even taking a few classes can provide new perspectives and information you can apply to your current job, making the daily grind a little less dull.
When you feel like your life is lacking fulfillment, the worst thing to do is sit back, waiting for opportunities and excitement to drop into your lap. You need to take charge of your life and make things happen for yourself. When you do, you’ll soon find the contented and fulfilling life that you want.
About the Author: Writer Emma Bourque blogs about work, psychology and finding happiness in the every day. She volunteers at the local animal shelter each week, partially fulfilling her childhood dream of being a zookeeper.