Setting The Next Big Challenge: Follow Up

July 27, 2015


At the beginning of July, I wrote a post on setting your next big challenge. It was part of the posts I write about my monthly intentions but this one meant a little more because earlier this month I turned 29.  Having accomplished a number of my ‘before 30’ goals before turning 28 I had things I needed to look at. Some of the life goals that I’ve had for the past eight years no longer mean anything. I’ve out grown them, my interests have changed and this new direction called for new and clearer goals. In doing this I’ve learnt a few things:

The ‘big’ things are just as important and difficult as the ‘small’ things. How is it that I can consistently stay up all night working but struggle to wake up by 7.30am? Even if I have an early night. How is it that I could write 100,000 words on complex social issues but still can’t drive? I tackled the ‘bigger’ things early on and now that they’re done and dusted it’s the ‘smaller’ things that remain. The thing is if you keep treating them as small and thinking about them in comparison to other things you’ll never accomplish them. So here, after years of stating this, I’m finally committing to getting my learners permit before I turn 30! Now, whether I feel comfortable behind the wheel, or if I even pass, is a completely different story  but I’m going to give it a go!

You can instantly feel and be more successful once you let the old ideas go. Earlier in the month I made one of the biggest decisions I’ve felt I’ve had to make in years – I’ve given up on the academic path I always wanted and which I thought would bring me much happiness. I truly enjoyed teaching and the university environment when I was in it. The more I engage in research work and all the opportunities that blogging has brought my way I’ve realised that academia isn’t where I want to be. Being professional staff in a university environment and working with students to teach academic skills I could see myself doing in the future and haven’t ruled that out. But it’s a definite no to academia and I feel so much happier. Saying it to myself and to Patrick instantly made me feel lighter and successful! Give yourself the permission you need to let go of the goals and ideals that you’ve grown out of. I think this can be likened to the career dreams we had as children and how many of us adjusted those as we grew older (I wanted to be a lawyer at one point and later a model!).

Defining the new ‘success’. I’ve come clean about what I need to learn and where I want to go and with that came the realisation that I need to redefine success for myself and re-look at the indicators I’m going to use for measuring success. In professions like academia your indicators are handed to you but as a blogger and a consultant it can be trickier. Sure finances and money are an important indicator but what are the other indicators? A big indicator for me is the time I spend working (I certainly don’t want to be working 40 hours a week) and the hours of free time I have to put towards passions and relationships (I’d like to see this increase). It may seem largely about working less, but for me it’s about working on fewer projects that are reasonably paid but leave me time rich.

While they’re not really goals and they won’t fit in a 30 before 30 list, they are things that I’m working towards.

Have you made any re-adjustments to your life plans and goals? Are any of the lessons I’ve mentioned here similar to what you’ve discovered? I’d love to hear your experience. 

1 comment

  • Kristian

    One of the things that really resonated with me with this post was the idea that the “small” goals need to be treated as important too. The other day I noticed that on my Facebook (yes, yes, I realize how silly that sounds to start a sentence using an example from Facebook) my feed had changed subtly over the past year or so. Instead of marriages and graduates from college, I’m seeing things like friends running 5K etc. So many of the people I follow there (often colleges) s are at that same place where they’ve done the “big” things and these “smaller” goals are what the challenges and that they are no less meaningful/important to dedicate time too (not that running a 5K isn’t cool or hard. Just that I generally wouldn’t put it in the same category as getting married in terms of how many people have that in a future plan).

    Plus, the smaller goals might seem easier, but as with anything, what gets done is what we put intention and effort into.

    I also really liked what you said about changing goals and pathways. I did finally get a job I really loved this past year, but the year before, marrying and realizing my careers were limited somewhat by geography really forced me to look into what would make me happy in terms of challenges and satisfaction from a job. Figuring out how to go “off plan” or to readjust a plan to fit your changing self is an important lesson of adulthood, I think.

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