About a year ago, I realized that while I had made strides in my career, the "just for fun" things (or, in my case "so bad at it, but who cares because you're having fun" things) had completely fallen off my radar. My film camera sat untouched for two years. I hadn't made a scrapbook since college. I hadn't gone on an actual vacation in nearly seven years. I hadn't taken a class to learn something that wasn't in some way connected to my career in forever. And all of those things were super important to me! They just kind of fell by the wayside while I doggedly pursued other things. I was struggling with finding balance. As a result of this, I realized I wasn't a very well rounded person anymore, and that bothered me. So, I decided to start actively setting some attainable personal goals each season as a reminder to myself that the personal is just as important as the professional. I might not meet every one of these goals, but that's not the point. Every time I read over my list, I'm reminded of all of the things that can make me happy outside of work. Plus, who doesn't love making lists?
The list can really encompass whatever you want. Physical, mental, artistic, or psychological... Anything you think might contribute to your happiness, throw it on the list. On my summer 2016 list, some goals are harder than others (I'm looking at you, diving), but some goals are as simple as listening to audio books on the way to work instead of mindless morning radio. It makes my hour-long commute enjoyable and I feel like I'm absorbing something new. Win-win.
I think sometimes in today's world, it's easy to get swept away in deadlines and success and waking up early and staying up late. And I actually don't think there's anything wrong with that, to a certain extent. A large part of me definitely does thrive on those things. But I've finally admitted to myself that it's okay to have goals outside of my job. You're not "losing out on opportunity" if you decide to spend some free time gardening or crafting or baking or doing whatever it is that makes you happy. You're just enjoying yourself and the moment with no other goal in mind! And that's the biggest success of all.