When I was in my early 20s I went sky diving with 2 friends. It was a spontaneous decision, as many things are at that age. We were trying to think of something to do & somehow came up with jumping out of a plane.
We looked up a place, got ourselves totally psyched up, made a video to leave for our families in case things went awry (again, young adult minds). We sped our way to our destination with the windows down & music blasting like a scene out of a movie.
The whole thing was just as exhilarating as you might imagine. And we were high on adrenaline sharing the details of our individual experiences when we were done.
But then the adrenaline wore off.
We went out to a bar that night but instead of continuing to celebrate, we were pondering the question, “What now?” What could we possibly do that would beat—or even just match—that?
What had gotten us so excited turned into a downer.
We set goals to try to regain that feeling of excitement: marathons, adventure races, professional goals, places to travel. As soon as we achieved one, we were looking to the next, with hardly any time to revel in what we had just done.
Nothing could keep us excited for an extended period of time. It was depressing.
That’s the problem with chasing goals to make us feel better. The excitement they provide doesn’t last. Long-term fulfillment is an inside job. It takes work, but once you master it, you’ll love your life regardless of what your next goal is.