Going with the flow is extremely difficult for some people. It means relinquishing control and letting life happen, it means living in the moment.
It doesn’t mean you can’t be successful or you can’t make plans. In fact, research supports that having a written plan is valuable and leads to success in many areas.
This post was not written to discourage you from making important life plans.
Instead, it was written to remind you that on the way to your goals, life is still happening and the present moment deserves your attention.
You can have a plan AND go with the flow.
Here is what you need to know to make it happen.
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HOW TO GO WITH THE FLOW AND BE SUCCESSFUL
1. Be thankful
Many of us have a plan to get from point A to point B on a path of least resistance. For many years my plan was to go from broke college student (point A) to successful adult (point B). Every class I took and every job I accepted was about getting to that goal. I was focused but sometimes I got so caught up in getting to the next opportunity that I forgot to express gratitude for what I had.
No matter where you are in your journey, express thanks and gratitude because where you are today is preparing you for your future.
2. Be flexible
It’s okay to make changes to your plans. Do you remember being asked in middle, high school, and college what you wanted to be when you grew up? If you are like me, it probably kept changing. I’m a huge advocate for having goals and written plans but sometimes plans change and that is okay.
Overtime, the vision for our lives change and our plans have to change. Relax. Breathe. Rework that written plan to fit your new path.
3. Adjust to life changes
Some unexpected life changes (desirable and undesirable) may happen on the way to your goals. These changes will often come unexpectedly and make you have to work more intentionally at reaching your goals. This happens to all of us.
Repeat. We all deal with unexpected changes that aren’t always predictable. The most successful people find ways to adjust and continue moving forward, even if it’s at a slower pace.
4. Get to know yourself
We spend lots of time introducing ourselves to other people but fail to re-introduce ourselves to ourselves. Who you are when you first begin a journey isn’t who you are in the middle of your journey or at the end of your journey.
When we spend time getting to know ourselves, we are more likely to know what things motivate and inspire us. And when we are motivated and inspired, we need less outside forces to push us forward towards our goals.
5. Surround yourself with goal-oriented people
It’s easier to go with the flow when we are surrounded with like-minded and goal-oriented people.This doesn’t mean everyone is of the same political and religious beliefs. It means that the people we choose to spend our time with have goals, aspirations, and positive mindsets. It means that some of the people are able to have a supportive role and others may can serve as mentors.
You are more likely to be relaxed knowing the people in your circle wouldn’t support you failing or giving up.
6. Read quality material often
I’m a fan of Warren Buffet and other highly successful entrepreneurs and they all recommend reading. The media that we consume influences our thoughts and even our goals. When we read motivational, educational, and inspiration text, we are building a framework for success. So, skip the social media scrolling and grab a book.
Books have a way of pulling us out of our own heads and being catalyst for new ideas. The right books inspire and educate.
7. Avoid comparison
Whether you do old-school social media (Facebook, Tumblr, MySpace) or new-school social media (Instagram, LinkedIn), it’s critical to be sensitive to why you follow the people you follow and how it makes you feel.
Sometimes, following people is a strategic part of growing a business platform but other times it’s about making comparisons and that can be dangerous.
We don’t see the real life behind social media feeds and if we compare ourselves to unrealistic images of success or beauty it can be damaging to our self-esteem. It’s hard to go with the flow and be successful if we lack confidence.
8. Find a hobby
When we are consumed with reaching a goal, it can overtake our entire lives. Having a hobby can break up the monotony in our lives can be a creative outlet. There are tons of things you can do like pottery, paining, photography, hiking, kickball (yes, there are intramural kickball groups), and the list goes on.
Taking up a hobby is a chance to explore other talents and it’s a great way to meet people who have other interests that aren’t related to your work.
9. Make your mental health a priority
It’s extremely difficult to go with the flow if we aren’t taking care of our mental health. This can be tough because mental health isn’t visible and it can be easier to hide mental challenges for long periods of time.
Health is one of our most valuable assets. Any mental illness concern, no matter how small, should be addressed as soon as possible. When we are well inside and out we are better able to cope with anxiety and other mental concerns that don’t let us relax and enjoy life.
10. Don’t plan every moment
Every minute doesn’t need to be assigned a task. Instead, leave room in your plans for life to just happen. Those are the minutes, hours, and days that you can use to be spontaneous.
No one knows what’s in store in the next five or ten years, so it makes sense to make the most of the moments that we have right now. It’s time to go with the flow without sacrificing meaningful life plans.
I hope these tips help you feel more comfortable making the necessary plans for your life while also leaving space for low-stress and unplanned adventurous living.
Do you find it hard to go with the flow sometimes? What helps you relax and enjoy each moment?