To get into the mindset of feeling passionate about anything in your life, you should do a little detective work on yourself.
Here are 5 tips to get you started:
Befriend your inner child. Just because you are now all grown up with adult responsibilities does not mean you should ignore the child that is still in you. Acknowledge it, and ask what it wants to be when it grows up.
What to do:
- Write down at least 5 things your inner child tells you.
- Look over your list, and pick items that still speak to you that you may have forgotten. Did you have big plans to be a writer, a painter, or a basketball player? When was the last time you did any of those things? How did you feel when you were doing them?
- Make a plan for the following month to devote some time at least two evenings each week (1–2 hours) to do one of the items you’ve selected from the list. If it’s painting, buy a sketch pad and some watercolors and start with a basic drawing. If you picked a sport, go to the gym and work on getting more fit.
Do something that really makes you feel good. Do you feel like your life as an adult is all work and no play? If so, try this for a change: create a ritual you can follow every day that gives you pleasure.
What to do:
- If you’re an avid reader, make the time to go to the library to pick a novel and read it for 30 minutes each evening before going to sleep.
- If you love music, learn how to play guitar or drums or the harmonica when you’ve finished with your daily responsibilities.
- If you love to write, make it a priority to write one page in your journal either early in the morning before getting ready or later at night when it’s quiet and you have the time to organize your thoughts while enjoying a cup of tea and listening to some relaxing music.
Create more space to let happiness into your life. It goes with the territory of being an adult: as we have more responsibilities and our lives get busier and busier, we often forget to focus on what’s important and instead we get distracted by obstacles we see in front of us. As a result, we become more critical of ourselves, impatient when we don’t perform well, even judgmental when we evaluate our skills, our achievements, and our intelligence.
What to do:
- Change your attitude about yourself by practicing a little self-compassion. Forgive yourself for mistakes that you made in the past. Learn from them, but don’t hold on to them. This applies to your relationships, your career, your education, and other areas of your life in which you feel you have underperformed.
- Actively look for what you can do to become happier. One of Harvard University’s most popular lecturers, Tal Ben-Shahar, wrote a book called Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Happiness. He focuses on positive psychology and how to apply the concept of happiness to daily life, for example in school, the workplace, and in our personal relationships.
Always have a personal goal to aspire to. As you build a career, don’t neglect your personal development. Ask yourself: Where do you want to be 1, 5, 10 years from now? Who do you want to become? What is a dream scenario for you: a life in a specific city, having a partner to share your life journey with, being surrounded by smart and interesting people who contribute to your personal growth, being fluent in another language? Get specific.
What to do: Set aside an hour or two this weekend to do the following.
- Write down your top 3 personal goals.
- Under each, write down 3 things you would need to do on a consistent basis to get you closer to each goal.
- Then, create a schedule for the week ahead so that you can devote blocks of time to making progress in the areas you’ve identified.
- The following Sunday, when you’ve followed your schedule for a whole week, do an assessment of the progress you made. Did some activities take more time than you anticipated? What could you have done better? Then make adjustments for the following week.
Motivate yourself by jumpstarting your mornings. To give yourself some extra time to pursue the things you’ve identified as your passions, consider creating a morning routine customized to your needs, your work schedule, and your personal goals. I recommend listening to a podcast calledwhich is hosted by Hal Elrod, the author of a book called The Miracle Morning. It is a useful guide to structuring your mornings so that you have more time to do what makes you feel happier and gets you closer towards your personal goals.