We’ve all heard the saying “If you have a job you truly love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” While that sentiment is true in many cases, it’s unfortunately not the reality for most people. In fact, surveys reveal that 52% of Americans are unhappy with their work.

Even if you don’t spring from your bed ready to take on the day and clock in, you can find happiness and fulfillment from within your workplace. You can also find ways to make it through the day with a positive attitude rather than waiting impatiently for closing time to strike.

Today, we’re sharing five ways you can reach within and propel yourself to these heights. Whether you’re just starting a new position or you’re nearing retirement, it’s never too late to learn these tips. After all, if you’re going to spend roughly eight hours a day at a gig, you might as well have an enjoyable time while you’re there.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.

1. Create your own vision statement.

Yes, there are defined tasks that you must complete as part of your official job description. No, you cannot slack off and stare out the window all day, as ideal as that might sound. Yet, you don’t have to let your company’s value and mission statement become yours.

Instead, create your own, unique mission to give definition and meaning to your days. For instance, yours might be “I want to be the person who uplifts others when they’re down.” Or, you might write, “I seek to be the most willing to help, in any circumstance, and to always be a light of hope to those around me.”

As you go about your day, whether you’re in a corner office or a factory line, repeat that mantra to yourself and seek to apply it in every circumstance you come across. This might mean extending kindness to a co-worker, diffusing an argument, helping someone in need or offering your expertise to another department. As you implement your personal goals at work, you’ll find meaning in even the smallest actions.

2. Write down your goals.

Think you can keep an accurate list of your goals in your head? Don’t risk it. Write them down, either in an old-fashioned notebook or on your smartphone’s list app. Then, check back in on a daily basis to see how you’re doing in your pursuit of them.

As you create this list, look at both the short-term future and the long term. Set timelines for your goals and make sure they’re all SMART, meaning that they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. What do you want to be doing or working on in one month? What about one year? 10 years?

Setting goals automatically gives you a sense of purpose and something to strive for. While you don’t need to make every single one work-related, strive to include a healthy portion of ones that center around your professional pursuits, even if that means looking outside of your current job. For instance, you may be in a lower-level rank at a hospital right now, with your sights set on one day becoming a Registered Nurse.

3. Prioritize self-improvement.

As you search for fulfillment at work, use any downtime you have to improve your inner self. Now, this doesn’t mean taking hours of the day to leave the office and indulge in retail therapy. Rather, it means using your lunch break to study for an upcoming test, go for a jog on the track near your workplace or simply listen to a meditation app on your smartphone.

When you let your mind become bogged down with due dates and deliverables, you can easily lose sight of what’s most important. While it’s critical that you give 100% to your job, you don’t have to let it overwhelm you and where possible, seek to improve your mindset and physical well-being. Then, the positive results will flow into every area of your life, including your work.

4. Remember to be thankful.

There’s a reason grateful people are some of the happiest ones on the block. When we practice a spirit of thankfulness, even the most mundane, difficult tasks become a little easier to bear. Remember that even on your worst day, when co-workers are spiteful and the hours are long and the project you’ve devoted yourself to fails, that there’s someone out there dealing with circumstances far worse.

Gratitude breeds fulfillment and if you find yourself second-guessing your professional path, take the time to take a closer look at it. Chances are, you can find something to smile about. It may be a coworker’s cheerful attitude, a boss who believes in you or even just a hot pot of coffee in the breakroom. Focus in on those happy aspects and the rest will seem minimal in comparison.

5. Circumvent boredom through learning.

Want more initiative to go into work every day? Try to reach out, take initiative and learn something new! You don’t have to strive to climb the corporate ladder if that isn’t what you’re after, but you can invest in professional growth. Even if you’d rather be in a different field or career altogether, learn as much as you can about the role you’ve been given. If the opportunity arises, pursue advanced certifications and secondary education until you’re sure of your next path.

As you do so, you’ll not only put yourself ahead of the game at your office. You’ll also make yourself an all-around more valuable employee. No one can take away your education and your skill set, so reaching for these new goals is always a win-win.

Find Growth and Fulfillment at Work and Beyond

You don’t have to be a rockstar at work to achieve a sense of personal fulfillment there. The truth is, these kinds of emotions originate from within. When we practice gratitude, focus on self-improvement and set actionable goals for ourselves, we’re already acing the game.

If you find yourself stuck in a rut professionally, know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can renew your sense of joy and relight that spark. It all starts with adjusting your mindset and realigning your vision for yourself. When you do so, you’ll be able to clock out with a smile on your face, ready to take on whatever tomorrow has to offer.

Author's Bio: 

Courtney is a freelance writer and editor with more than 15 years' experience covering business trends, freelance tips and self-help guides.