The Hamster Wheel of Achievement (and how to jump off!)

You are not defined by your achievements and you can, in fact, escape the premise that what you do defines who you are. This belief that your achievements define you is just that, a belief. One that has been there you’re entire life, but is no longer serving you in these times. Just like a hamster can get off the wheel at anytime, so can you.

In my recent blog, Goals are for Amateurs, I hash out why you feel like goals and achievements define you and how tapping into your intuitive powers is the new-age approach. But I keep hearing that you want more tangible ways to approach this beast.

So, let’s take a spin, shall we?

For one, you have to stop scrolling social.

No matter how many times you hear or KNOW it, when you scroll, you compare and it makes you feel like you’re not enough. The very essence of social media is made to make us see others through a lens that is not reality. I know it’s beating a dead horse, but when you scroll social media, you are seeing a highlight reel of someone else’s life.

Besides the content, we also get all caught up in how many followers or likes or comments someone else has. Making us feel superior, if we have more engagement, or inferior if we have less. Social media is a hamster wheel of it’s own. I suggest you take breaks and take them often.

Social media can and will cloud your true self by making you feel like you have to morph and transform to get more people to follow and engage with you. We are losing touch with the reality of our lives.

If you are going to scroll social for connection purposes, make sure you set an intention for why you on there before you start. And maybe set the timer on your phone. I would also suggest you mentally put a barrier around your energy so you do not let the toxicity sep into your ever-glowing light. 

To recap, if you are on social, don’t post to get likes or engagement. Post because it feels good to you. And when you catch yourself mindlessly comparing yourself to the alternate reality of Instagram life (because you will) have the courage to stop and break away.

Journal every damn day. (is that a hashtag?? See, I just did it, I got swooped into the social thumb scroll. Damn you IG!! Ok, YES, of course it’s hashtag…moving on!)

You have to write it out to work it out. If you want to know what this deeply ingrained belief (you are your achievements) is all about or where it comes from, you have to write about it… like every day. And no, not every other day or on the days you feel like it. EVERY FUCKING DAY.

Writing is how you listen to your soul. And day by day you will see this belief show up in many different forms. Writing will give you a deeper understanding about this belief, which will allow you to process through it, heal from it AND finally have the ovaries to let go of it.

To recap, when you write, you’ll start to figure some shit out.

Do more of what makes you happy.

I know this one is cliche AND hard AND seems unattainable at times. But nothing starts big, so start small. Fit in doing what you love in small chunks. For me, I love yoga (teaching and practicing) and I love writing. Neither of them pay me much…. YET. Nor do I have a ton of time to dedicate to them. But that doesn’t matter.

Here’s the crazy-hamster-wheel-belief manifesting in my own life…  I find excuses to skip my practice all the time, that’s why I am grateful I teach, it forces me to be there and do what I love. I also find reasons why I don’t have time to write or even journal. When we believe achievements define who we are, we sacrifice our true nature, we suffocate it really, to do the things that we think give us accolades for achievement.

To recap, our beliefs con us into replacing what brings us joy with what we think we should be doing in order to achieve X Y and Z. We have to recognize that behavior and start slowing reversing. REVERSE REVERSE (cha cha slide anyone?!)

Do the things you love just because you love them, not because you are expecting to get something out of it.

We have to learn to release our attachment to the outcome of our actions. Yes, I know you most likely own a business and want it to succeed. You are very attached to your success in that business. I get it. Why start a business if there is no success?? But if you look between the lines, that belief right there is the problem. Our culture is obsessed with business and making money. Finding the next big thing that is going to make us successful. What we need, are more businesses doing business because they are passionate about sharing their services and products while protecting and sustaining our Earth. Do it because you love it, not because of the outcome you are expecting on the other end.

And don’t forget that our expectations lead to tunnel vision with can lead to non-acceptance of failure. Failure is inevitable. When  you have no attachment to the outcome you also have no attachment to the failure.

To recap, the sooner you realize that your achievements make little difference, the sooner you will be able to show up as you, with no expectations on the other side. This is how you become authentically you.

Besides we are all made of stardust anyways.

I have this saying, ‘everything matters and nothing matters.’. It matters, but really it doesn’t. We are all made of stardust anyways.

Getting off the hamster wheel is much like jumping off a bridge or using duct tape to give yourself a Brazilian. You are basically sitting there saying HELL NO. It doesn’t even seem possible to start to do these things. Even after understanding the concept of releasing my attachment to the outcome, I still attach myself to an outcome. It’s insanity!

It takes time and I won’t lie, you’ll want to retreat back to your old ways, suckling the nipple of your long time cultural beliefs. But you know at your core they are no longer serving you and it’s time to peel them back, layer by layer. All you have to do is take the first step, skip or leap. Peel it back, let the tears flow, feel the pain surge through your body and LET IT GO!   

With each layer you peel back, you’ll find a new refreshed sense of self. But don’t let that trick you.. this will come back again and another layer will have to be peeled back. Just as the hamster goes round and round, so do we. But each time you revisit this same belief, you will have a new perspective and new experiences to help you see it in a different light, allowing yourself to dive deeper.

So when it shows up again, because it will, have grace and know that you are in a different place, processing it differently this time around. The sacred spiral of life is always ensuring we are going round and round in an upward direction. There is never a time when we are not evolving.

So, give it to me… what are you thinking after reading my words? Do these ideas and concepts feel like something you want to take for a test drive? Are you already experiencing these same things? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

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Sarah Try

Sarah Try

I am a mixed media mosaic artist based in Sturgeon Bay, WI. I love using a range of materials for my creations including but never limited to glass, ceramic, gemstones, vintage beads, acrylic paint, watercolor paint, concrete, metal and magazine images.

My work is guided by the energies of the chakras, the energies of the divine feminine principles and by the energies of the cosmos. The macro, the micro and everything in between.

To me, it is all interconnected, all coming from Source. You will see in my work that I am very inspired by color gradients to create an ombre effect.

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  1. Sarah Polcyn

    ????totally feeling all these concepts, especially doing what you love for the sake of love, not the outcome.. it’s not an simple task, but just bringing awareness to the attachment time and time again makes it easier. Thanks for the great perspective!!

    • Sarah

      Hi Sarah, with an H! <3 Thanks for your feedback, I am really happy these are hitting home for you! It really IS about awareness instead of judgement. The more we can become aware, the more we can change our beliefs. It's really amazing how attached we get to certain things, Right?!?

  2. Lacey

    This is friggen AWESOME!!! Especially the part about doing what I love just because I love it. I need to detach myself from the outcome of my actions with Beachbody Coaching. I love helping people. I need to just help them without caring if they continue on their journey. It’s their journey and it’s so hard for me when they quit on themselves.

    • Sarah

      Hi Lacey! I totally know how you feel. When I was coaching, my day rose and fell with the actions of others and it was exhausting!!! It’s more about creating the space for them to rise, instead of holding them accountable. I always heard the saying “my success depends on your success” and I lived by that statement for most of my coaching career. I think it’s harmful for both parties because when we hold ourselves to the actions of others, we do things that are out of character and may end up hurting the other person. I am really glad this resonating with you! Thank you for the comment and love!! XX

  3. Megan K Lundahl

    Really really really great stuff and I plan on reading it and sharing it over and over again ♡

    • Sarah

      Thank you for the feedback and love!! I appreciate it!!


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