When it comes to happiness, many people search for it in things that are outside of them. They think of personal fulfillment and happiness as something just down the path. They feel that they’ll be happy as soon as they get the new car, house, or mate.
It is a type of thinking that can and does affect many of us.
There’s a problem with this mindset. This constant desire can drive us to work longer and harder as we pursue and, hopefully, accumulate more. Again, this is a result of us being convinced that personal achievement is always on the horizon as soon as we acquire the next (fill in the blank).
Studies have shown that this compulsion to pursue and acquire more can lead to us experience high levels of anxiety and stress. It can also lead to feelings of inadequacy and, eventually, cause us to feel depressed.
But does personal achievement need to involve this constant urge to strive for more?
Let’s check out some of the alternatives.
The Problem with Looking for Fulfillment Outside Ourselves
Have you ever found yourself so caught up with chasing after something, whether it’s money, fame, or status, that you’ve lost sight of what you’re chasing?
I know I have.
There was a time in my life where I thought if I could just make a certain income then all my problems would be solved. Of course, when I finally started making the income that I thought would be my salvation, I found not only it wasn’t my deliverance, it was taking me away from becoming the person I wanted to be.
You Don’t Have to Stop Looking for Fulfillment
There are some people who say that to achieve personal fulfillment, we have to stop chasing after the things we think might make us feel fulfilled. But there are a couple of problems with this.
First, we live in a society where we do need to strive, at least at some level, just to survive. I often give the example of taking a job for a large company when my kids were young because they didn’t like living under a bridge.
To tell the truth, I really don’t want to live under a bridge either.
Here’s the point. It can be very hard to live today without striving at least a little.
The second reason has more to do with our social environment. If you, like me, have grown up in a culture that promotes having “more,” it can be hard to break free from this mentality.
While it is hard, there are things you can do to help you get a much better idea of what really matters to you so you can live a life that is more in alignment with what you truly value.
Small Steps You Can Take Each Day to Help you Achieve Personal Fulfillment
1. Determine your core values.
Think of your core values as your priorities. These are the things that really matter most to you. They make you feel complete and worthwhile as a person. These are the things that you’re most passionate about and that you believe firmly in.
For example, if honesty is one of your core values, living a life of integrity would be necessary.
This would mean you would want to live a life free from lying, cheating, or stealing. It might even mean making a personal choice of not gossiping or spreading rumors.
Determining your core values helps you achieve personal fulfillment by aligning your behaviors and actions with what matters most to you.
2. Find ways to grow every day.
Ray Kroc is most famous for having turned McDonald’s into a worldwide restaurant chain. Something he once said has stuck with me for the past 40 years or so, which is, “When you’re green, you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.”
He’s so right.
We humans have a need to constantly grow, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Either we are evolving, changing, and improving, or we die, if not physically, then mentally.
When you find yourself procrastinating or avoiding doing something good for yourself, make yourself do it.
Getting healthy, for example, can be very challenging, but, as you already know, the benefits are well worth it.
Remind yourself that you are worth these benefits and then force yourself to do it. You can also find compelling reasons, like being around for your kids or grandkids.
Choose to open yourself up to new hobbies or activities or to increase the scope of your old ones. As you make this a habit you will start to see many positive changes in your life.
3. Vividly visualize success.
Personal fulfillment or your success, is in the future. This can make it seem very abstract.
But, by using visualization, you can create a clear idea of what success will mean to you when you get there. This vivid image can help you overcome your resistance.
For example, instead of saying that “I’m going to lose weight,” create an image of you at your desired weight. Perhaps its 5, 10 or even 30 pounds lighter.
See yourself at that new weight. You can even add the date you want to be your new weight.
Add an affirmation. Tell yourself “I weigh (weight goal in pounds) on (date) of (year).”
Visualizing a concrete goal for what you want to achieve will help to motivate you to take the action you need to take to get there.
Interestingly, you can find many stories about how successful people today use visualization to help them achieve their goals. You can follow the same path to attain your sense of personal fulfillment.
4. Make a list of your hopes and ambitions.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
While, when we were younger, we all have dreams and things we have hoped for in our lives, they can become buried after years of resistance and denial.
You are going to have to do a little digging to rediscover them. Set aside some time to think about what there are.
You can even use visualization to help you learn more about your desires and dreams. This will allow you to tap into your true potential.
Here’s some questions you can ask yourself to help you clarify what you want. As you think though these questions, pretend that money isn’t part of the equation.
What types of things would you like to do?
What sort of work would you like to do?
What kind of people would you like to associate with?
By writing down your answers to these questions, you can begin to understand what you desire and what. This will help you create a plan to achieve it.
Your answers will help you develop a map that will guide you to find true personal fulfillment.
Personal Fulfillment is Within Your Reach
As you go through these steps, remember, authentic personal fulfillment comes from within. It doesn’t come from chasing after things outside of you that you don’t truly want or need.
You can change your life simply by choosing to figure out and follow your plan. Use these tips so you can start creating your path to personal fulfillment today.