How to Get Off the Hamster Wheel and Have a More Fulfilling Life

7 Secrets for Making Your Wishes Come True

“I’m being run ragged, yet I’m getting nowhere!”

Can you relate?

It’s easy to feel this way when you’re working hard. Getting up early to put out fires in a stress-filled work environment. Routinely heading home late, just to get up and do it all over again.

Meanwhile you wish things were different. Perhaps you want … more freedom, more fun, to take better care of yourself, to have more time to hang out with family or friends, or, to just do what feels good to you, instead of what’s important to everyone else, but you.

How do you put YOU back into your life and leave the never-ending hamster wheel existence behind?

In this post I will share seven essential keys for creating a more fulfilling life. Hopefully, you can apply them in your own life to make your wishes for greater fulfillment come true.

1. Escape That Blasted Hamster Wheel

When work and life are all consuming there’s often no time to stop and reflect on what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, it’s effect on you, and what you want to get out of it.

But to escape that blasted hamster wheel, some internal exploration is necessary.

Amy, a hard-working mom, was dedicated to providing her children a well-rounded existence. They were involved in sports and music lessons. She helped them with their homework. Between her work, their schooling, and extra-curricular activities, she was run ragged.

She had very little time for thinking, much less for contemplating her life. All she did was ride that hamster wheel and, as a result, she was getting more and more worn out.

She decided to do something about it when she saw a workshop I offered about how to have a more fulfilling life. As a participant, it didn’t take her long to decide she wanted to escape that blasted hamster wheel in favor of getting more sleep, more energy, and a couple of other things. She wanted less stress. More connection time with her husband and kids. Time for travel and she wanted to start painting landscapes again.

The more she allowed herself to explore what she wanted, the more she realized she was doing everything she didn’t want, and nothing she did want.

This honest assessment was the beginning of her journey to escaping that blasted hamster wheel.

How about you? Are you benefitting from the way you’re living your life right now? Are you where you want to be? Do you want more, or something different? Take a minute for an honest assessment.

“Rather than wishing for change, you first must be prepared to change.” — Catherine Pulsifer

2. What’s Behind Your Wish

It’s been said that wishes are desires unfulfilled. That wasn’t the case when it came to Amy. Once she got in touch with her wishes she was clear that she wanted to breathe new life into her very existence, which meant that she wished for more. She was after lasting change.

To be successful at creating lasting change, you have to really, really want it.

A “wish,” an “ought to,” or a “should” seldom provides the oomph! or the fuel needed to keep going when the going gets tough.

If you’ve ever worked hard to accomplish a goal, you know that hurdles are part of the journey. And, in order to make it over or through hurdles, it takes tapping power, energy, strength, and resolve you may not have realized you had.

What can make the difference between a wish and accomplishing lasting change? Knowing, at a deep level, why you are pursuing a change.

Knowing your why will propel you forward when the challenges come, so you don’t give up on your wishes or your dreams.

To find your ultimate why, start by considering how what you’re doing, or not doing, is affecting you and others around you.

Then ask yourself the “why” questions, like, why are you willing to embark upon this journey to greater fulfillment? Why do you really want to make a change?

When you get your first answer, it’s important to dig a little deeper so you can get to your ultimate why.

Focus on your answer and ask why again.

After each answer you come up with, ask why.

Do this for five or more times until you no longer can come up with an answer.

This will be your signal that you’ve reached your bottom-line reason, your ultimate why that will drive your ultimate success.

“He who has a why can endure any how.” — Frederick Nietzsche

3. Claim Your Crystal-Clear Desires

Once you know ultimately why you want to escape the blasted hamster wheel, deciding what you want instead is just as important.

If you don’t know what you want, situations, circumstances and/or people will step in and set your course and your future for you.

The act of deciding what you want is like making a claim. Putting a stake in the ground. Committing. Taking charge of the outcomes of your life.

Whether you realize it or not, nothing has ever happened or taken place that wasn’t the result of a decision. You made a decision to do something, or not to do something and that set the course of your history.

Decide what YOU want to help you get crystal clear about what’s next for you so you can go for it.

“There are few things more powerful than a life lived with passionate clarity.” — Erwin McManus

4. Believe Your Wishes Can Come True

Going for it means believing that your wishes can come true. Believing that something can be accomplished is a necessary ingredient for success.

Your mindset, what you believe and how you think, can be the difference between moving forward, or staying stuck where you don’t want to be.

Dr. Carol S. Dweck, the author of Mindset (Ballentine, 2008), teaches that fulfilling your potential comes down to having a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that your basic qualities, talents and abilities, can be cultivated by applying yourself and through your experiences.

A growth mindset might sound like, “I need to try harder, or try a different way.” A growth mindset shows a passion for stretching yourself, even when things aren’t going well.

A fixed mindset, on the other hand, believes that your qualities are carved in stone, meaning you either can, or can’t achieve something.

Having a fixed mindset might sound like, “I can’t” “I’m a total failure,” I’m a reject” and can have you working hard to prove yourself over and over again.

Successful changes are driven by a mindset that is always open to seeing and feeling new possibilities, and, realizing that changing both your mindset and behavior is what unlocks your potential to achieve something different.

If you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.” — Cinderella

5. Shatter the Obstacles

Do you believe your wishes can come true? If so, what’s stopping you?

Sometimes we block our own success without realizing it. We may let a fear, like what others will think of us become an obstacle.

Remember the story of Amy above? She may be afraid if she starts putting herself first, in front of the needs of her children, she’ll be perceived as selfish. When in reality, like the instructions in an airplane to put the oxygen mask on first before you help others, it’s important for her to take care of her own health so she has the energy, stamina, and ability to take care of others.

One way to identify potential obstacles is to ask yourself “what-if.” What if I did spend time in the morning exercising and meditating?

It will help you see what comes up for you. Maybe you’ll discover there’s a fear of the unfamiliar, of stepping out of your comfort zone, and that’s what is getting in the way.

The more you can identify obstacles that are likely to keep you from moving forward, the greater chance you have of defeating them.

Another common obstacle that people have is not believing they are worthy of putting themselves first. There can be many reasons for these beliefs from how you are wired, to how you grew up and your family belief system or culture, to your impressions of what others will or won’t think of you.

To claim your desires, you have to be able to let go of making another’s needs and desires more important than your own.

One way to do this is to look at your past patterns of success and failure. You can also ask yourself what has stopped you before. What has made you successful in the past?

“Real self-worth can’t be earned. Real self-worth comes from understanding the truth about who you are and understanding that your value is infinite and absolute no matter what…” — Kimberly Giles

Another way to overcome obstacles is to change your habits.

6. Get Yourself a Brand-New Habit

Let’s face it a habit is a routine.

Routines are important in life because they add structure, make you more efficient, and eliminate the need for unnecessary thinking and making decisions. That helps us be efficient.

That’s also how you can get stuck on a hamster wheel without wanting to be there.

According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit (Random House, 2012), “When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard or diverting focus to other tasks. So, unless you deliberately fight a habit — unless you find new routines — the pattern will unfold automatically… Your brain can’t tell the difference between a good and bad habits.”

So, it takes a concerted effort to consciously change a habit.

But you can change a habit like being stuck on a hamster wheel that isn’t serving you.

An easy way to break a habit is by creating a new habit in its place. There’s a TV commercial about a woman who successfully quits smoking. She did it by taking up running instead. Amy, mentioned above, decided to change her habit of sleeping in until 7 am. She chose instead to start a new habit of hitting the gym at 6 am. This helped her meet her goal of getting more exercise to keep her energized during the day.

What habits do you need to consider changing to get off the hamster wheel and make your wishes come true?

“Not being clear about what you want and making other people’s needs and desires more important than your own is simply a habit. You can break it by practicing the opposite habit.” — Jack Canfield

7. Get Going

It’s never too late to make a change. Get into action and before you know it you’ll be getting different results.

Let’s face it. Wishes are desires unfulfilled. The first step to making a wish come true is having one, then admitting that you want something more than a hamster wheel existence.

Once you decide that creating the life you want is important, doing some deep exploration, and affirming that you’re willing to “go for it,” the motivation comes in to remove the obstacles that can keep you stuck where you don’t want to be.

By seriously engaging the seven secrets above, you’ll soon be stepping off a worn-out hamster wheel and will be well on your way to making your dreams, for a more fulfilling life, come true.


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