Work hard and follow your dreams but don’t forget to live fully and connect. These four simple practices will help you pursue your passions without missing out on the sweetness of life.
“We are so busy watching out for what is ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.” – Calvin & Hobbes
Being a workaholic, to me, is not the same thing as being passionate about your work. Rather than being driven by a love for what one does, workaholics seem to be pushed by an internal pressure to work. It’s as if the work is never done.
If you’re a recovering workaholic (like me), then you understand the nagging sense that (1) you’re never getting enough done and (2) you’re missing out on life in the meantime. If you’re passionate about following your dreams, that’s wonderful! Just make sure you’re not giving so much energy to your work that there’s not enough for everything else that matters.
The following four practices can be contributed to the amazing Marie Forleo, a multi-passionate entrepreneur herself. I’m sharing them with you because I love the simplicity and purpose behind this message; we should all be able to enjoy life as much as possible.
These practices will help you follow your dreams and stay true to your desire to create without falling into an unhealthy work addiction that prevents you from living a full life.
4 Ways to Follow Your Dreams and Live a Full Life
1. Meditate on the regular.
Mediation is a powerful combatant for the constant sense that we’re rushing. When life feels like it’s speeding past you, meditate. You only need as little as five minutes of meditation to help you ease out of a state of stress and hurry.
If you have dreams, please listen to and honor their calls, but please don’t forget to live in the beauty of this moment.
Here are a few simple mindfulness practices that I love:
2. Rocks first, sand last.
This fantastic analogy is attributed to Dr. Stephen Covey, American educator, author, and businessman.
Here’s how the story goes…
As one of his lessons, Covey pulled out a big mason jar and filled it all the way to the top with rocks. He then asked his students if the jar was full, and they answered, “Yes!”
Covey pulled out smaller pebbles and began dumping these into the jar, and they trickled in around the bigger rocks. Again, he asked his students if the jar was full and they answered with a resounding, “Yes!”
Not quite finished yet, he takes a bag of sand and pours it into the jar, and the sand filled in every nook and cranny. He asked the classroom if the jar was full now, and they replied, “Yes!”
Continuing with his lesson, Covey empties the jar and starts to fill it back up again, except this time he starts with the sand. The sand took up so much of the jar that the big rocks and pebbles couldn’t fit in.
Covey says to his students, “This is your life.” The big rocks are the huge important things that make life worth living. You’ve got to know what they are and put them in first. Next are the pebbles, which represent the things that matter to you and the things that you have to do, the things you must fit in. The sand is all the minutiae of life, the stuff that will fill up your life and take over your days if you let it, so you have to wait and put that in last after you add in everything else.
What are your big rocks? My big rocks are my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my health, this blog, and adventure.
What are your big rocks? What relationships and experiences are ultra important to you that you want to prioritize?
3. Make time off predictable and required.
To make sure you take more time off and don’t rush through life glued to your work, make sure you take time off. Yes, it’s as simple as that.
You need to make time off predictable and required, meaning it’s set in advance and it’s non-negotiable. You must be strict about relaxing, especially if you’re prone to working non-stop.
Take time off to make those important experiences come to life. Take time off to connect with those important people. Make it a habit, a predictable and required one.
4. Change your choices.
Rather than thinking you need to make this big life change, you can transform your life one tiny change at a time. Over time, changing your day changes your life.
So many of us are on autopilot, trying to fit in just one more thing. Stay mindful of your thoughts and behaviors, and ask yourself:
“What can I change in my day to cherish life just a little bit more right now?”
Here are a few ideas:
- Talk to your kids in the car instead of putting on a movie.
- Grab a book or put on music instead of spending time on social media.
- Go out to dinner or cook with your significant other instead of ordering in and watching television.
- Take a walk and connect with nature just for a few minutes, and leave your phone at home (or put it on silent so it’s not dinging in your pocket).
Mentally go through your day and examine your habits. Take an inventory of what you do every day and make a list of a few little choices you can change today.
- What are your priorities, your big rocks?
- Do you meditate or practice mindfulness throughout the day?
- What changes could you make so that you feel like you’re truly living your life?
Please share your positive practices, relaxation tips, lessons, and experiences with me in the comments.
Share these words of wisdom with someone who might need to hear them.
And as fellow happiness writer Gretchen Rubin says, “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” Follow your dreams and stay close to everything that matters to you.