Inside: Learn how to be content with what you have while still pursuing what you want in life.

Many of us are constantly chasing new goals and pursuing our ambitions. It’s what we’ve been taught to do – and it’s what brings us a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.

But it can also leave us feeling discontent, uneasy, and frustrated with our lives – despite the fact that we’ve already achieved some pretty incredible things.

We have so much to be grateful for, but it’s all too easy to overlook this in our quest for more. 

Figuring out how to be content with what you have in life while still pursuing what you want can feel hard – but it isn’t out of reach.

Keep reading to learn how you can find a balance between being thankful and content while still striving to improve. 

how to be content with what you have

How to Be Content With What You Have – While Still Pursuing What You Want

Jim Rohn said, “Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.”

There’s nothing wrong with always wanting to achieve new goals and reach new heights. In fact, it’s encouraged. We should never stop learning, growing, and striving for more.

But we shouldn’t get so wrapped up in those desires that we lose sight of how far we’ve already come and how blessed we already are. 

It is possible to both be grateful while also working to achieve your goals. Being content doesn’t have to mean getting lazy or apathetic.

If you struggle to balance your desire for more with an appreciation and gratitude for what you’ve already got, try incorporating some of these following techniques and strategies into your daily routine.

how to be content with what you have

5 Ways to Be Content With What You Have

It is possible to be content without getting complacent. Here are a few ways to be happy with what you have while still pursuing your goals.

1. Stop comparing yourself to others.

You’ve heard the saying – comparison is the thief of joy.

And it couldn’t be more true.

When we’re laser-focused on achieving our goals, it’s easy to look around at others and compare ourselves against those who have already achieved the things we aspire to.

With social media making it easier than ever to broadcast every facet of your life, it’s almost impossible to avoid stumbling upon friends or strangers who have done what you hope to do.

And they make it look so easy

That’s the beauty of it, though. It wasn’t easy. It never is. But when we control our own narratives and share only what we want people to see, it’s easy to minimize the trials and tribulations we went to in order to achieve our goals – and instead, focus on the success we’ve attained. 

By focusing on your own journey and the progress you’re making without comparing that against others, you can more easily recognize your growth, celebrate your wins, and move forward toward what you desire. 

gratitude journal

2. Incorporate a gratitude practice into your life.

A great way to be more content with what you already have is to embrace a gratitude practice.

Many of us navigate our days without taking a moment to pause and appreciate what we’ve already achieved, the blessings that surround us, and the beauty that already exists within our lives.

By being more intentional about gratitude and dedicating time and energy to cultivating that sense of appreciation, you’ll be amazed to see the mental shift that can happen as a result.

Gratitude practices can look a little bit different for everyone. Some people prefer to sit down with a journal and spend a few minutes making a list to capture everything they’re grateful for, or digging deep into one particular area of life and really exploring why it’s so great.

Others prefer to practice gratitude on the go. You can think about three things you’re grateful for each morning and evening while you brush your teeth, while you’re waiting for a red light to change, or while you’re walking the dog.

It can be as simple as noticing the simple joys around you each day.

It doesn’t matter how you incorporate gratitude into your life. But by making it a priority and a habit, you’ll find it much easier to appreciate everything you already have – instead of feeling disappointed by what you have not yet achieved. 

setting smart goals

3. Make sure your goals are realistic. 

Another key to happiness when it comes to balancing what you have and want you want?

A healthy dose of realism.

It’s easy to set pie-in-the-sky goals that are difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

And when we hold ourselves to totally unattainable standards, it’s easy to fall into a pit of despair and disappointment over our lack of progress.

By approaching your goals with a critical eye and making sure they are realistic things you can attain, you’ll set yourself up for future success – and make it easier to appreciate what you have as you pursue more. 

One easy way to do this is to set SMART goals – goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. This goal-setting strategy helps you avoid ambiguity and keeps your ambitions in check. 

how to be content with what you have

4. Learn how to live in the moment. 

Lots of people are stuck living in the future – always focused on what they will become or what they hope to achieve.

Others are focused on the past, dwelling on mistakes and missteps they made that they feel are currently holding them back.

If that’s you?

Focus on living in the present instead. Living in the past or in the future makes it difficult, if not impossible, to appreciate the journey we’ve already been on and the blessings we already have in our lives. 

By focusing on the present moment, you can recognize all of the things that are going well for you right now.

By pursuing things that bring you joy today and creating mindful habits, you can raise your awareness of your present state, stop stressing out about things that haven’t happened, and find contentment with the things you already have. 

5. Reevaluate your identity.

Many of us focus on becoming that person we want to be – the one who’s done it all, who has achieved their goals and achieved success.

But tying our entire identity to a goal or ambition isn’t healthy. And it isn’t going to make you any happier.

Instead, take a step back and reflect on who you are. Maybe you’re a friend. A mother. A published – or aspiring – writer. A professional. A comedian. A really good baker. A protector. A creative. A free spirit.

Get a pen and paper and make a list. Put it all out on the page – don’t hold back. And when you’re done, pause and reflect on what you see.

Chances are, you’ll find there’s so much more to who you are than the singular goal you’re focused on achieving.

By celebrating who you are now and recognizing the fact that your identity is so multi-faceted, it can be easier to distance yourself from the disappointment that may come with making slower progress toward your goals than desired.

Instead, you can focus on all of the things you already are – and the things you’re already doing so well.

Remember that you get to define what success looks like in your life. It’s worth revisiting what you’re pursuing and what really matters to you.

How do you strive to be content with what you have while going after what you want? Leave a comment and let me know!

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