I don’t know what you’re waiting for, but I know I find myself waiting for a lot of things. In fact, I think I have spent most of my life waiting for something. I’ve been concentrating a lot of my energy, as I’ve moved past the school years of my life, on choosing to be content with where I am. I’ve found that when we make the choice to be content in the present, we take away from the negative power that stress and anxiety have over us.
What Does Intentional Contentment Mean?
To be intentional about something is to make a choice and take action. Therefore, intentional contentment is making the decision and taking action to be content with what you have going on in your life. The choice to be content goes against the culture we live in today. The “live your best life,” and “you only live once” mentality purposefully creates restlessness and a need to strive for a life that is just “more.” The problem is that none of us have really figured out what “more” means.
In my life, intentional contentment has been a challenge to defy our culture’s push for needing “more.” My focus is on living in the moment, enjoying the small things, and practicing patience and self-discipline. I always seem to find something to be waiting for, and as a result I am constantly working on making the choice to be content while I’m waiting.
Changing a “Need More” Mindset
Being excited for the future is one thing, but what if I am constantly in a state of trying to achieve my next “goal”? Right now, that goal is paying off student loans. Before that, it was getting married. Before that, it was finding a job after graduation. The list goes on and on, and as soon as I check off a goal I set a new one and start working towards it.
This “need more” mentality can cause us to feel like we never really arrive where we want to be, and leaves us constantly searching for something new to work towards.
3 Ways to Refresh Your Perspective
As I have pondered adapting my “need more” mentality, I have developed a short list of ways to reset and check my heart whenever I catch myself feeling anxious.
Consider Whether Anxiety is Driving Your Goal:
If I am concentrating too much on the uncertainty of the future, I start by looking at the root of the goal I’ve set, and instead focus on the healthy benefits of achieving that goal.
Sometimes I set a goal and it’s for all the right reasons. Maybe it’s saving up for an adventure to a new place I’ve always wanted to visit, or it’s losing weight to feel more fit and healthy.
Other times, I set goals that are based in anxiety about the future, and those tend to be the ones that lead to an unhealthy fixation. For example, our goal to pay off student loans is great, but sometimes I catch myself focusing on the fear of time passing too quickly, or needing to start a family before a certain age. When anxiety drives my goals, I lose my ability to enjoy life where I am.
Talk Through Your Goals With a Friend:
If I am starting to worry too much about achieving a certain goal, or what the future holds, I will always consult a close friend or family member. They can offer me perspective on whether my focus is healthy or whether I need to take a step back and reevaluate the reasons behind the goal I’ve set. Waiting patiently is good, but when all I am doing is thinking about the wait, I know something should change.
When I am feeling restless about my hopes and excitement for the future, I love discussing it with my husband or my mom. Both of these people are close to me and know my priorities. They each offer a different perspective on my goals, but are able to be honest if they feel like my “need more” mentality is getting out of hand.
Make a List of Goals You Have Already Achieved
Sometimes, I really push myself to achieve a goal with an unhealthy mindset. I’ll tell myself “you never finish anything,” or “you need to do this to prove you are worth something.” Even writing these down, I am disappointed that I often let these thoughts drive my motivation. However, if I take a moment to go through a list of the things I have accomplished over the last few years and how hard I have worked to get where I am, I begin to feel proud of myself.
It’s from that place of self-respect and excitement that we can make the healthiest goals and find positive motivation to achieve what we want in life. It might not mean we all end up with dream jobs, in a beautiful mansion, with a worry-free life, but setting healthy goals and focusing on choosing contentment where we are will both benefit our mindset and help us to live fully in the present.
Collecting Cozy Memories Along the Way
No matter what your goals are, or what you’re waiting for, there is always time to live with enthusiasm and drive. It might not be glamorous, but if you ask me, I’d tell you that most of our favorite cozy memories are made in surprisingly everyday moments.