The Question I Started Asking Myself In My Twenties
Since starting my own freelance business, I've been shifting my goals from short-term sprints to long-term impact. I'm constantly refining how I think about my work, health, and relationships and recently became aware of how unsustainable my habits and processes were. I time and time again worked so hard for a goal that I reached much faster than I thought possible, but always came back to this same lonely spot of burnout and confusion of where to go next.
A question I started asking myself throughout my week is, 'Could I still be doing this in five years?' This one question has transformed how I make decisions and set myself up for success. We are absorbing so much information daily through podcasts, books, social media, shows, co-workers, friends... It can be overwhelming and feel like we are being pulled in a million directions for how to be our best selves. We feel like every body around us is reaching their goals in a matter of weeks. I fell into this trap of trying to keep up, trying to do more, trying to be better, trying to be enough. But more and better never were enough.
When I'm feeling pressured to work faster and produce more, I've been pausing for a second to ask myself in the frantic hustle, "This way that I'm working - Could I still do it this way in five years?" Often the answer is simply, 'no,' I'm crashing into my work like a bulldozer rather than strategically planning out my steps for a more efficient, stress-free workflow. As I was re-branding my blog, I was deciding how often to post, and thought 'maybe I need to post every day!' but quickly realized that would probably last for a few months before I resented my blog and moved on to something new. I thought through each part of my blog and how I could engage in the same work process five years from now. Thinking of starting something new? Could you see yourself doing it in five years? Long term impact > short term success.
I love reading about health and listening to nutrition podcasts, but I go about my healthy lifestyle much more carefully these days than I have in the past. I used to watch a YouTube video about how Veganism is the only way to be fit and healthy and apply it to my life the next day. "Kayla Itsines has the best workout program for quick results? Let's start it tomorrow!" I put my body through so many cycles of harsh lifestyle changes based on one segment of studies I had been researching at that time. The benefit was learning what did and didn't work for my body (more on that in another post) or changing my body composition for a month or so, but I typically ended up back at square one of confusion after the program ended or the 'lifestyle' became too consuming. Before beginning a Keto diet, or setting a goal to go to the gym 7 days a week, think about yourself in five years and if that girl could still be happily practicing the same habits.
Not to say you never need a little reset button - a short time, set aside to work on a specific goal and be all in, is needed in certain circumstances. This is just where I am at in my goal setting, decision making, business development stage. I'm beginning to look towards the future and what mark I want my life to leave on this earth; avoiding the burnout and going for the long-term gains 💪🏼 What are your thoughts on short-term vs. long-term goals?