Prompt: What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Author: Tara Sophia Mohr)
Earlier this year, everyone in my office took a personality assessment for some team-building workshops. Based on our answers, everyone received a list of their top five "strengths." My number one strength was Achiever:
Your Achiever theme helps explain your drive. Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself … After each accomplishment is reached, the fire dwindles for a moment, but very soon it rekindles itself, forcing you toward the next accomplishment. Your relentless need for achievement might not be logical. It might not even be focused. But it will always be with you.
And so on and so forth. Now that I read the description, it kind of terrifies me. It makes me sound like a workaholic weirdo who doesn't know how to have a good time. That's not true. But this does describe me really well. I just met a couple college friends for breakfast last weekend and was telling them how I didn't feel like I had achieved anything in the past year. "BETSY YOU GOT A JOB," Lauren the ever positive, said. "THAT IS AMAZING!!" (yes Lauren speaks in all caps). But that was eight months ago. For an Achiever, eight months is a long time to go without achieving a lots more things.
Of course I have things I would like to do in 2011. I would like to do a triathlon, touch my toes and do a handstand. I would like to speak more French. I would like to read more books. I would like to write more. I would like to take a couple more trips. I would like to find more meaningful volunteer work. I would like to save more money with coupons. I would like to be better at thrifting. There isn't one thing I would like to achieve the most. I want it all.
And, if I were to accomplish every single thing on my list, I know exactly how I would feel: incomplete and eager to find something else to achieve. It sounds pathetic, that I am never able to appreciate my successes because I always have to move to the next thing. Do I strive to achieve things simply for the sake of achievement? Or are these things I actually want to achieve?
So maybe I should work on NOT achieving things this year. But I know that won't happen. It would be a waste of a year of my life. Instead of ten thoughts I shall try to concentrate on one, and that will be to feel satisfied with all that I've accomplished.