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I keep lists of goals. I regularly read books and blog posts (here included), watch motivational speakers and keep up with the classics (Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, seth godin, Richard wiseman).
Something I've found is that when I make a big push at a goal and succeed, the feeling of accomplishment fades very rapidly, and to me it feels like that puts damage on my motivated state. I've tried keeping done lists and have an achievement board on my wall for when I hit a goal. I reward myself also with each victory.

So, how can I keep a more stable, lasting feeling of accomplishment?

Some things I feel may be having a negative impact are health, lack of sleep, and possibly just a genetic disposition to lethargy (I don't want to say depression!), could they be a part of it?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

You have asked a fantastic question that I will try to answer as best as I can because I've at times felt the same as you.

Sometimes it's better to look at your goal of self-fulfillment as an abstract rather than a metric. So many times, we tie our successes and failures to a specific activity or action and we forget why we did this activity or action in the first place. I believe you would benefit by creating a broad goal (i.e. achieving happiness) and start engaging in activities that will lead you to your ultimate goal. It may take a lifetime, it may take 10 years, 5 years, etc...

Personally, I set seemingly impossible goals. By doing so, I am constantly striving for something that isn't easily attainable. By challenging yourself on a daily basis, you will learn about skills and characteristics you never knew you had. Also, by setting unattainable goals, you're also setting a "standard." If you base your own accomplishments on others, it will be difficult to be content. Find out what YOU want and what drives YOU and focus your energies toward that goal.

I also tend to keep moving forward will setting new goals. I had an employer once use the phrase, "what have you done for me lately?" - there was some genius in this. He challenged me daily to accomplish bigger and better tasks because he knew I was capable. It's great to reward ourselves for our accomplishments, but it's even better to do something more impressive each time that works towards our ultimate goals.

Long story short, self-fulfillment in life is not immediate. It's a slow burn. Be humble and diligent in your day-to-day and take solace in the fact that you are so introspective.

Hope this helps!

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Life is a journey so analogies relating to navigation or travel are helpful. For thousands of years travelers have relied on physical markers to let them know they were headed in the right direction. Two of these are lodestars and milestones.

Guiding stars

Guiding stars are not ultimate destinations but they point you in the direction you want to go. . They can be a guiding principles, interests or an ambitions. These are the things that are important to you.

You can think of guiding stars as showing the way to your life's purpose, roles that you want to fulfill or simply things you'd like to be good at. They can be wildly fantastic or simply stages in your life that you see others achieving. The key is that lodestars are yours and nobody can take them away from you. They point the way to your success as only you can define it. You may not know how to get there but guiding stars give you something to focus your attention on while you figure out how to get there.

It helps to take some time and really think about what your guiding stars are. Think about the why behind whatever you do, then ask the why behind that reason. Commit your answers to paper. Put them away but review them once in a while. This can help you make choices about the things you spend your time on.

Are you following your guiding stars?


Having identified the guiding stars in your life is important. However they don’t mean much if you don’t use them to reach your ultimate destinations. But how do you know that despite all your efforts you are actually getting closer to your destination?

Milestones help you mark specific points in your development. Milestones tell you either how much farther you have to go or how much you have already gone past. If a milestone is aligned with your lodestar you know you are on the correct path.

Achieving a number of milestones in the direction of your guiding stars is what I think will give you a continuing sense of accomplishment

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Life is a process. There are no endpoints. The satisfaction comes from looking back on the progress you've made and seeing how far you have come. If you're looking for the feeling of accomplishment, I would suggest accomplishing things that help other people. Make every goal either a gift to yourself or someone you know.

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That doesn't really help. You've not given any detail specific to my question. I know that life is about progress, I'm asking ways to appreciate that progress more and maintain it. I'm not waiting till I'm 90 to discover if you're right or not. I'm looking for answers now – Alexander Troup May 5 '14 at 16:35
If you're looking for the feeling of accomplishment, I would suggest accomplishing things that help other people. Make every goal either a gift to yourself or someone you know. – Aaron May 5 '14 at 20:02
Thanks @Aaron, could you add that to your original answer, It'll save new readers from having to search comments :) – Alexander Troup May 7 '14 at 7:46

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