7 Ways To Break The 'Achievement Junkie' Cycle

Break the intoxication of seeking validation from others.

Last updated on Nov 20, 2023

Woman embracing her own happiness Dean Drobot | Canva 

Maybe you've already experienced it. The misplaced sinking feeling shows up right after you hit a major goal or reach a milestone.

You worked so hard to reach the end, and somehow, now that you're there it doesn't feel like you thought it would. It's time to ask yourself why you wanted to reach that goal in the first place.

What if, after many years of impressing your boss, parents, friends, lovers, etc., you don't know what makes you happy? Truly, deeply happy?


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Here are 7 ways to break the 'achievement junkie' cycle.

1. Focus on the positive.

Push away all negative thoughts, self-doubts, worries, or anyone else's voice in your head. Stay in a confident mindset with only positive thoughts. When this is difficult to do on your own, read books that reinforce the message you want to live, listen to music, and watch shows that do the same.



2. Let your mind daydream.

Pay attention to what gives you a lift of energy, a surge of enthusiasm — even if just slightly. Consider when was the last time you did something where you had so much fun you forgot what time it was. (The best type of fun.)




3. Make time for play.

We often forget to play in our routines. Whether it's a softball game, frisbee, dancing, coloring, painting, board games, or something else — include play in your routine. Pets and kids are great excuses to get on the ground or floor to roll around or go to a playground.



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4. Spend time alone.

Allow time by yourself for ideas to percolate to the surface and provide room to settle in. Always being around other people doesn't give us the alone time our minds need to relax and process.



5. Try different things.

Just like spending time alone allows an opportunity for ideas, so does getting out and trying new things. If you've never tried scuba diving and always thought it looked fun, go to a dive center and find out more about upcoming classes. Explore the ideas that have come up in your alone time and experiment to see which you like.



6. Spend time with people who you feel good around.

Stop thinking about people you want to change for, and spend time with people you feel good around now. People that you like and who like you. Listen closely to what they say. Maybe one of the reasons you like them is because of some of their interests. You don't have to change to share interests. Refer to #5!




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7. Maintain healthy habits.

It's hard to feel good about yourself and set exciting goals when you are overtired or hungry. Take care of the basics — eat healthy food, sleep conscientiously, and take care of your household environment. We depend on the basics to move us forward to greater platforms!

Did you run that marathon so that someone else would be impressed, or did you want to finish it for your reasons?


In You Won't Find Happiness At The Finish Line, a University of San Francisco professor implies that we won't find happiness when we reach our goals if our purpose in achieving the goal is winning someone else's approval.

This makes sense for so many reasons. Just like we can change our minds and goals, the people we're trying to please can change theirs, too.

Before long, if all we do is work at making everyone else happy, we wind up senselessly spinning around, looking for direction in the changing wind. Who knows if some of the people we're trying to impress are even aware of all our hard efforts!


Why not focus, instead, on what makes you happy? Then, if you change your mind or direction, you do so because the new choice feels even more fulfilling.

By the time you get through at least a few of the lists above, you begin to get an idea of what makes you happy. At the very least, you'll be concentrating more on what makes you tick, and less on how to make someone think better of you! The more you impress yourself, the better you will feel.



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Jan L. Bowen is an author, keynote speaker, thought leader, and facilitator with over 25 years of successful corporate leadership who specializes in helping leaders find their balance.