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Saturday, April 06, 2013


I Relaxed and Assessed My Way to a More Rewarding Life

by Crystal Otto

I lost sight of my goals. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but sometime between college and 2012 I became so busy doing what I had always done, because I had always done it, that I created a life that was totally the opposite of my dream. My novel sat with 27,256 words, my children knew their nanny more intimately than they knew me, and I had to drag myself out of bed every day. The fun had been drained from my life and I hadn’t even noticed.

I’ve learned from my past and now I relax and assess my life. I do this often (daily, in fact) to ensure that I haven’t lost focus on what is important. I have a goal to blog three times a week, work on my novel, be involved in the community, volunteer at my children’s schools, and cultivate a healthy relationship with my spouse. When I relax and assess, I can see that there are things getting in the way of these goals. I then need to decide how to eliminate the distractions. Is an organization no longer aligned with my goals? Have I taken on too many volunteer opportunities? Do I have a friend who is monopolizing my time and sucking the life out of me? I ask myself these questions and then act accordingly.

I know I am nearing the ‘danger zone’ (reverting back to the previous me) when I am doing things just for the sake of doing them. My right brain is saying “this isn’t fun” and my left brain is responding with “but you’ve always done it, so just keep doing it” and that is when I know it’s time to sit down with a tall glass of water or short glass of wine and assess what and who is taking up my time and talents. When I assess and make the necessary changes I reach my goals more quickly and find that life is so much more rewarding.

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Blogger Unknown said...

I love this post, maybe because it speaks to so much where I'm at in life right now. After a long career and raising kids, I did something similar and made a major life change to be more on track with my goals. I have to admit, being able to give this kind of thought to me, my life, is a luxury I can afford now as I near 50. There were seasons in life where that kind of focus wasn't as possible, and I'm grateful to be in this one now.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Sioux Roslawski said...

Your post, Crystal, along with Julie's comment, reminded me: There ARE different seasons for different things, and when what we're doing no longer brings us joy, we have to do some "spring cleaning" and get rid of the clutter. If we beat ourselves up because our kids are small and take up too many of our waking hours, rendering us too exhausted to write as much as we'd like, we need to forgive ourselves...and know that for every thing, there is a season...

11:44 AM  
Blogger Susie - Walking Butterfly said...

There is a whole lot of wisdom packed in this post! It is so easy to slowly slip off "the path" and we do not even notice what is taking up our time and life. Good for you to reassess before it is too late.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

I also love this post, Crystal, but I'm wondering if we really have to have a short glass of wine or a tall glass of water. I'm thinking a tall glass of wine. . .:)

4:41 PM  
Blogger Crystal Otto said...

I am beaming as I read your post. I'm glad you've created the life you deserve!

5:17 PM  
Blogger Crystal Otto said...

I love your spring cleaning reference! Here in Wisconsin it rings true on multiple levels. Thank you for your comments :)

5:18 PM  
Blogger Crystal Otto said...

Thank you Susie! Glad you enjoyed the post and comments!

5:19 PM  
Blogger Crystal Otto said...

My mother is my biggest fan, so trust me ... there was definitely an edit and lots of thought that went into choosing a short glass of wine, but feel free to refill often (wink wink)

5:21 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

My goal is to get to know myself well enough to move forward with the things I really love. So what does one do when they've taken all those distractions out of their life, leaving only a list of necessities (like cooking, cleaning, in my case fundraising, etc.) and the goal is still out of reach?

5:56 PM  
Blogger Crystal Otto said...

That's a great question. Start small (maybe just a few minutes each week) then slowly increase the time. Like weightless or any goal, make sure it's: specific, attainable, and measurable!

6:17 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Crystal,

Your post really has touched on the reassessment I have done in my life just recently. When I graduated from college in September my focus was on getting a job in my field and start making a decent income that would help support my family. Instead I ended up with a job in my field that had me working long, draining hours in a toxic work environment that took me away from what is the most precious thing in my life, my daughter and husband. Your words "ensuring that I haven't lost focus of what is most important" and "deciding to eliminate the distractions" is exactly what I did. After having a job offer presented to me twice in 6 months, I knew that the good Lord was telling me "this is where you are supposed to be". I reassessed my life and focused on the most important thing and decided to leave the organization I thought I would retire from and chose to pursue a rewarding career that would allow me to still work in my field and have quality time with my family and friends. Your blog is truly inspiring and it reminds us that life is too short to not focus on what is most important. God Bless!

7:36 PM  
Blogger Crystal Otto said...

Thank you & congratulations to you Shannon!

7:45 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

When people talk about goals, they often mention career goals and financial goals. Your post really highlights the fact that goals are for every part of our lives. If we only focus on the career and financial goals, we can end up leading very unfulfilling lives. While there are times we need to do things that aren't all that fun, we shouldn't be doing them if there isn't a purpose to them and they don't help us toward our goals of living fulfilling lives.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Crystal Otto said...

Well said Bugmom!!!

12:40 PM  
Blogger MP said...

I think so many of us become so busy doing what we have always done, because we have always done it, as you described. I like your strategy to "relax and assess." A great reminder, thanks.

9:01 AM  

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