Last year I set a goal for myself that affected me deeply. I was behind schedule with starting my masters thesis, which I had originally hoped to get off the ground in late 2013. This ate away at me to no extent, and I suffered from a constant feeling of not being aligned with where I wanted to be in life. I had a job, but I wasn't able to focus on it because of the looming sense of unfulfilment.
Naturally, I exclaimed to myself that 2014 would be the year I got it done. The short story is that I got it done. The long story is that the process blocked my ability to feel a lasting sense of happiness and content. So I stand here, just having passed the gates into the year of 2015 … and I've taken a hard look at what I think the components are for rebuilding my ability of feeling happy and content.
It comes down to two, perhaps simple, things.
- Creating and maintaing the essential preconditions for feeling awesome
- Regularly achieving meaningful goals
Let me explain the purpose of each.
The essential preconditions for feeling awesome
Throughout the past few years I've experienced going from consistently seeing the positive in most everything, to having a hard time getting out of bed. I've had to become familiar with emotions I didn't know how to properly deal with—doubt, fear, and deep anxiety. What fascinates me about the experience is that when I followed a schedule or routine, ate well, exercised, and socialized regularly … I felt better.
It never failed.
In a period of depression, doing this made me feel less depressed—at least there was something I didn't have to feel down about. And the effect it had when I was already happy felt unbelievable—I literally felt like I could take on anything. It was awesome.
So, for me, the most important priorities of 2015 is keeping a schedule, eating well, exercising, and regularly getting my dose of valuable time with friends. The essential conditions for feeling awesome.
In practice this will take on the form of shaping good habits and dropping bad ones, throughout the year.
I have a deep desire to achieve meaningful goals. Seeing people perform things I appreciate well is inspiring, and makes me want to become better myself. Last year, my goal was set by external forces—the university. Fulfilling their requirements for a masters thesis wasn't something that was desirable to me, other than getting it off my back. It took tremendous effort and was emotionally taxing, as I've explained.
This year, the goals I set will be rooted in what I find to be deeply meaningful. In other words, I'm going to do stuff that I think is cool.
In order to make the most of the year, I vow to complete 12 projects this year. With these 12 projects I aim to increase skill in various areas of interest, thus building a solid foundation for reaching even more meaningful goals in 2016.
Wish me luck.