Fall is in full swing in Colorado. I love this time of year, but it can be stressful. The holidays add pressure. In addition to our regular, busy lives, we add decorating, cooking, parties, and shopping. All the Halloween decorations in my neighborhood, and the work it takes to get them up, have me thinking about an area of life that people don’t talk about enough; accomplishment.
Accomplishment is important. When I talk to people about the four areas of life I believe are crucial for happiness, accomplishment is the one that gets the most questions. If people have pleasure, accomplishment, connection and exercise, properly balanced for their own needs, life tends to be fulfilling. And while everyone can related to needing pleasure, connection and exercise, the what, why and how much of accomplishment can be more confusing. This week’s podcast is all about the importance of accomplishment and how to figure out the right amount to maximize your happiness.
Accomplishment is that sense that something has been completed or achieved. We got through our “to do” list. We finished that report for school. We gave a presentation and it went well. When we accomplish something big, there is a sense of satisfaction and pride that sinks in. Our self-esteem gets a boost. There is nothing like the feeling that comes from taking a goal from the idea stage all the way through to completion.
The difficulty with accomplishment is that most people have either too much or too little. I work with corporate people, who can barely make it to therapy a few times a month given their intense schedules. They often feel that they work all the time with no reprieve. I also work with people who have lots of free time but don’t feel like they are accomplishing anything meaningful. While these people are at opposite ends of the accomplishment spectrum, they have the same issue to address. How do I feel like I’m achieving goals in my life, while still finding time for all the other important things? I can tell you, it isn’t easy. Simply understanding the importance of accomplishment is the first step to solving the problem.
Many people think that the ultimate life would involve wealth and freedom. We have all seen the images of celebrities taking their private planes and vacationing in some tropical paradise surrounded by beaches and friends. Now imagine that it is you on the vacation and the vacation never ends. You wake up every day and go to the beach. You have another nap and another big dinner, on and on forever. If you imagine the never ending vacation, it loses its specialness and appeal. Vacations are amazing because they give us a break from our busy lives. However, without our accomplishments, our pleasure isn’t as pleasurable.
This week I talk through some client cases I’ve seen over the years that illustrate the price you pay for too much and too little accomplishment. If this is an area you struggle with, please listen in. I’ll give tips for adjusting your life to have better balance with your accomplishment levels.
You can listen to me talk through this in the podcast by clicking ‘play’ below or in the following places:
Shannon Connery, Ph.D.