Why You Lose Steam On Your Goals In Your Thirties
Lately I’ve been feeling a little disenchanted, disillusioned, unenthusiastic, and just a bit…blah…about my career dreams. I don’t really know how to feel about it, especially because I don’t really mind. Should I attempt to turn things around? Should I meditate and get to the bottom of why this is happening so I can address it and get back on that enthusiasm train? Should I charge ahead, still working just as hard towards those goals (even though I don’t feel nearly as excited about them as I did in my twenties) and just hope the thrill comes back? Maybe it’s just a phase, right? Well, I’ve been chatting with other friends who are about my age and it seems they all have gone—or currently are going—through this phase. And, yes, it’s a phase. Here are reasons you may lose steam on your goals and dreams in your thirties.
You’re aware of the competition
The longer you’ve been at this dream-chasing thing, the more aware you’ve become of the competition. If you are, for example, an aspiring novelist, you’ve become aware of the fact that publishing houses receive literally thousands of queries a week.
But the competition can be deceiving
The numbers aren’t really what they seem. Yes, there may be apparently lots of competition, but are they really your competition? Don’t forget how many naïve individuals go after something with absolutely no knowledge, wisdom, experience, or skillset. If you have those things, then the people who don’t are not your competition. Your real competition is likely much smaller.
This isn’t where you thought you’d be
When you were in your teens or even in college, you thought that for sure by age 30 you’d be a CEO or even own your own successful business. You did not think that you would be middle management, or even just starting out at the bottom of the ladder at your fifth job.
But you know now your timeline was ambitious
Don’t worry about letting down teenage-you. Adult you knows how unrealistic her timeline was. You look around and you see that actually almost nobody makes CEO or has a booming business by age 30. You see now that those things tend to happen more in one’s forties or fifties.
There have been many setbacks
You’ve experience quite a few setbacks by now. There have been disappointments, rejections, and sometimes total devastation. Naturally, it can be hard to remain hopeful after years of that.
Those setbacks made you stronger
The truth is that those setbacks have made you stronger. You learned something important each time and when your time comes, you’ll be more ready due to those setbacks. You’ll also be far more appreciative of what you achieve and work harder to hold onto it.
You see that free time is valuable
The clock on life is ticking, and you’re starting to realize just how precious free time is. Maybe you’d rather just be home by 5:30 every night to make dinner with your partner and watch Netflix for three hours instead of working late or pursuing your real passion after-hours. You worry that the pursuit of your goals gets in the way of your relationship.
You may sacrifice free time later
If you give up that zest for success, you may give up free time later aka you may not retire when you thought you would. You have the energy to work now, so go after your dreams. If you don’t, you may have to work a job you don’t like well into your seventies when you don’t have the energy to work. Oh, and as for your relationship, any good partner will love that you’re chasing your dreams.
You have many friends who’ve settled
You see a lot of people around you who gave up on their dreams and they seem content. You’re often jealous of them. They get to go to happy hour during the week. They can afford little vacations now, while you’re hoarding your pennies to invest in your business.
Their joy may be false
Don’t let the smiles of those who settled fool you. There is likely a sadness lurking beneath. It’s nearly impossible for someone to just hand over their life to mediocrity, and not feel some regret.
The work is feeling repetitive
The actual work you must put into your dreams is starting to feel repetitive. It may be the same tasks—or nature of tasks—day in and day out. That monotony alone is putting you off.
So try a different approach
You always have the option to try a different approach. If you’ve, for example, just been sending your manuscript into publishing house after publishing house every week for years, why don’t you just start social media accounts and a blog sharing little blurbs from your book and gathering a following?
You’re aware of injustices
You’ve seen the way things work and they’re not always fair. There is nepotism, sexism, and questionable politics. You wonder if you’ll ever be able to surmount these.
So be the power that changes those
Here’s what I’ll say: there comes a point when you are so good at what you do, that all of the unjust systems at work can’t stand in your way anymore. It becomes uncomfortable and embarrassing for the industry to continue to ignore you when you’re that good. Continuing to ignore you would be to bring their unjust systems to light and expose them to questioning. Continue to focus on being good, so you can be in power, and, one day, change those injustices.
This is actually the best time to charge ahead
Truly, this is the best time to charge ahead. Maybe the glamour and naiveté of your twenties is gone and, yes, you’re a little tired, but you gained something in the process of exhausting yourself. Now you have wisdom. Now you have clarity. Now you have conviction. Now you have experience.