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I got distracted and stopped writing for a couple of months. Really I got pregnant, which made me sick and distracted, but it all amounts to the same thing.
I stopped writing.
I’m not even sure why I stopped writing. At first, it was because I was sick in the evenings. When I got home from work, my only goal in life was to stay horizontal to keep my stomach in line.
By the time I got beyond the first trimester, I was out of the habit of writing. I kept meaning to get back to writing but kept putting it off. I knew I needed to write, but kept finding excuses to avoid the extra work – yes I really am that lazy.
I recently started writing on my personal blog again. As soon as I started writing my whole outlook on life changed. I was back to constantly reading about personal finance, social marketing, politics, parenting . . . . the list goes on and on.
I felt engaged with the things I loved again.
When I stopped writing, I stopped caring as much about bettering myself and moving forward.
It wasn’t that I had stopped reading and learning stuff. I have done a lot of research about pregnancy and childbirth, but that was out of necessity. However, I wasn’t doing it for the pure pleasure of learning.
Once I started blogging again, I got curious again. Learning became pleasurable again.
I’m a better person when I have an outlet for my creativity.
As I came to this realization over the weekend it really got me to thinking about the choices that I make in my life.
When I’m at my best emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally it is when I have an attitude of learning. If I want to write thought provoking articles, I have to be constantly reading and learning.
When there is a purpose behind my search for knowledge I always learn more, spend more time researching and retain more knowledge.
I learned something valuable about myself over the last couple of months, I need to have a purpose on a personal level. Yes, being a good employee, a good parent, a good church member all motivate me, but it isn’t enough.
I need to have a personal reason for going that extra mile.
It got me to thinking about what motivates people to do more and be better.
Obviously my definition of “being better” may be different than someone else, but I’ve noticed that when I’ve striving to be a better person it is because I am focusing on the following things.
1. Long Term Goals
For the last couple of months, while I got sidetracked with baby fever, everything was about the here and now. I’m not saying that is a bad thing at all. It is okay to take some time to just enjoy the good moments in life, but you can’t completely shift your focus without some negative consequences to your long term goals.
One of the long terms goals I’ve been working towards is making this blog a secondary money stream. It is pretty hard to accomplish that goal when I stop writing for three months.
Without long-term goals, it is easy to loose site of the big picture. We become rudderless and tend to drift from thing to thing in our lives.
2. Short Term Goals
This is kind of an obvious one since we already talked about goals, but your short term goals are typically tied into your long term goals. When you stop focusing on one you will invariably lose track of the other.
To accomplish my long term goals I set specific short-term goals.
Some of my short term goals included writing a specific number of posts each week and reading corresponding articles that would increase my knowledge base.
Obviously, I failed miserably.
Short term goals help provide the day to day framework of our lives. They keep us anchored while looking towards the future.
3. Live for the moment.
I know this sounds like a total contradiction to what I just wrote, but when you only focus on your goals it is easy to forget to stop and smell the roses.
The little happy moments in my life are what make me what to work towards the long and short terms goals I have set for myself.
The trick to overcoming both of these obstacles is to take the time to live in the here and now. Don’t get so caught up in the little moments that you forget about the big moments that will occur as you attain your goals.
So ultimately it all comes down to balance.
The goal in life is to be constantly learning and growing. When we work towards specific goals while enjoying the little moments, the balance and happiness we achieve make it all worthwhile.
So what does all this have to do with self-expression?
Life is crazy, I’ve got so much stuff going on that at times I don’t know if I’m coming or going. It is so easy to get caught up in the “must do’s” on my list that I stop taking time for myself. This may work on a short-term basis, but our long-term needs are critical as well.
Ultimately it comes down to finding happiness in the little ways we find to express ourselves.
In the long term, everyone needs a way to share a piece of them self with the world. Everyone wants to leave their mark.
It doesn’t matter what mark you choose to leave, the important thing is to find something you love and take the time to do it.
Develop your hobbies, learn, grow . . . . expand your horizons. You will never regret the time you have spent expressing yourself.
***Editors note: If you are interested in goal setting, check out this SMART Goals Resource Guide. This is one of my work projects and there is a free downloadable SMART goals worksheet that rocks.***
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