Over the next few weeks, I will present a 5 part series of articles about aspirations, interests, and goals and their effect on our health. They come from a chapter that I took out my book Reality Acceptance: For Happier and Healthier Lives. I removed them only to reduce the word count of the book, but am glad I can present them in this series of articles. If you enjoy them, please sign up for the Reality Acceptance newsletter here.
Having aspirations is important to your health. You are not taking an active role in your life if you do not aspire to future goals and interests. Just living life will not lead to a satisfying life. Many people regret not living true to themselves at the end of their life. Instead of pursuing interests, goals, or aspirations of their own, they allowed others to dictate how they lived their lives. Aspirations are just as important as any other healthy choices you make. A lack of aspirations will lower the quality of your life.
We ask kids what they want to do when they grow up. Most people forget these aspirational goals in adulthood. Our aspirations will change throughout our lives, but we should never stop having them. Becoming an adult does not mean the end of pursuing our interests and goals. We may need to change them to allow others to pursue their own aspirations, but we should never give up on them. Adults who abandon their aspirations are not just abandoning their childhoods, they are abandoning a happy and healthy life.
Many people confuse needing something with wanting something. A need for something implies an untold consequence will befall you if you do not get it. A want is something you desire, but it will only disappoint you to not have it. Breathing is a need, but ice cream is a want. You will not lose weight unless you tell yourself you need to lose weight. There is no weight loss fairy to grant your weight loss wishes. You must turn your wants to needs and accept the reality of what you need to do. We do not want to pursue our aspirations; we need to pursue them.