What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.
That saying by the famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar is one that I’ve determined to live my life by. Sometime we get so caught up in physical rewards that we forget that the intangibles are where we truly get the most value and will certainly last with us the longest. For example, you finally complete a marathon that you trained for months on; sure that finisher’s medal at the end is great, however you undoubtedly will get the most pleasure from knowing that you had the self-will, discipline and determination to train and power through the race. That feeling of achievement will carry you so many more places that just the medal will.
Another example that many of us have experienced is when we finally get our college degree. At the end of the day, it’s just a piece of paper – however the qualities and traits that I picked up while getting a college degree has made me who I am today. I’ve said this a lot and many might disagree with me but the educational component wasn’t what I gained the most from while in college – it was picking up social skills (3:1 female ratio means no time to be shy), learning how to network (Butler forces you to find two internships before you graduate – both of mine were through recommendations from friends), thriving under pressure (who hasn’t completed a 5 page paper the night before), and learning self-discipline (even though the kegger on a Thursday night sounds great, you stay in to prepare for an 8am mid-term). My point overall – we become who we are through our experiences; the tangible rewards you get out of them mean nothing if you don’t gain any true life lessons. So think about all the goals you want to achieve in the next 5 years – there might be a tangible reward that comes out of each. As you cross them one by one off your list, think of the lessons you learned on your way to achieving each. I promise you’ll get far more pleasure and meaning out of all your accomplishments!