What did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher? An astronaut? Maybe a Doctor? A lucky few are able to pursue these dreams, but for most people, their career goals take the backseat in life. Too often, talented people end up being underemployed. They have the passion and the education, but for some reason just can’t land their dream job. The biggest factor is of course money. Money is the driving force, especially if you have a family to provide for. If money isn’t an issue, there may be a number of other reasons, such as lack of work, stiff competition for jobs, or other personal circumstances. As a result, you may find yourself crawling out of bed and counting down the minutes until you can punch out. While following your dreams is always encouraged, there are things that you can do in the meantime to feel more fulfilled in life.

Find a hobby

What are you passionate about? It could be animals, fitness, food, sports, etc. Take what excites you and find a way to do it after work or on your days off. Do you love music? Try taking lessons to learn an instrument. Maybe you love baking. Try baking something new each week!  The possibilities are endless and you can put as little or as much time into your hobbies as you’d like. If money is an issue, there are plenty of free hobbies, like reading, writing, hiking, and of course, volunteering! There are other hobbies that will cost you little money, like gardening or origami. If you have kids and don’t have a lot of solo time, you can involve the kids as well. Take them with you to the library or on a hike!

Make time for yourself

Work takes up a big chunk of your life- 40 hours per week or more to be exact. But what about the other 128 hours in the week? After cleaning and sleeping and caring for your kids, what’s left for you? Even if you only have one hour at the beginning or end of the day to spare, do something just for you in that hour. Read a book, take a bubble bath, do some yoga or hit a punching bag- just make the time and do it for you.

Make a goal

Write down your dream and some steps you could take towards it. Congratulations, you now have a goal! Let’s say your goal is to earn your MBA so you have more income opportunities. You’ll need to find a school, register, and start learning. Soon enough, you’ll have reached your goal. It’s okay to start with smaller goals too. Maybe you just want to learn how to make breakfast for your family- besides pouring a bowl of cereal. The days will go by a bit easier when you have something to work towards and look forward to.

Express gratitude

Life usually doesn’t go as we planned it, and that’s okay! If at this moment your life isn’t what you’d like, remember that you always have the power to change it. Most importantly though, make sure to express gratitude for what you do have.  A little gratitude will go a long way.

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