“Once I have the right , then I’ll be happy.”
Have you ever heard yourself thinking this thought? Fill in the blanks with whatever it may be: job, spouse, body, wardrobe, house, car, etc.
I’m guilty of it too. I’ve always been a bit of an overachiever growing up, I was never satisfied no matter how good my grades were – there was always room for improvement. This same attitude has followed me into my adult life too. I have been telling myself, “Once Jesse and I get into a better neighborhood, then I’ll be happy.” A few weeks after moving into a better neighborhood and house, and I’m back to thinking something is missing, “Once I become an interior designer, then I’ll be happy.” Well I have had the official title of “interior designer” for a few months now and yet I’m still making a mental list of what all I still need to create my perfect life.
Does this mean we shouldn’t have goals?
Of course not! Goals are fundamental to keeping us motivated in life, to feel we can still work towards something that can improve an already great life. The point of all this is just to make sure you’re not getting so wrapped up in your goals and timelines that you don’t pay attention to how great life already is.
Material objects and success won’t bring you happiness.
Yeah we’ve all heard this before but just look at the examples of countless celebrities. From the outside we would all think they’ve got everything going on – they have wealth, attractive spouses, huge houses, expensive cars and yachts, private parties, vacation homes, designer wardrobes.. the list goes on! Yet many of them are still miserable. They cheat on their spouses, have alcohol or drug addictions, struggle with disorders, and can go completely off the deep end (ahem.. Joaquin Phoenix). These people have everything in life you could possibly want yet they still can’t find happiness. That’s because lasting happiness is something you choose every day.
So how do we “choose happiness” every day?
There’s a lot of different ways you can help yourself to choose happiness, here are a few that have helped me so far:
1. Gratitude Notebook
Every night before bed, I make a quick list of things I’m grateful for from that day. It doesn’t have to be detailed but just try to write down at least 10. They can be as meaningful as the relationships in your life or as silly (yet serious) as scoring the last piece of chocolate cake at work. Nom! The main thing is just to acknowledge all the blessings in your life and it will help you look for the good in the day.
Having a strong connection to a higher being helps me to remember that there’s more to life than just putting in my 40 hours a week. It makes me more aware of the people I come into contact with on a daily basis and how we all affect each other in one way or another. Prayer has helped me to not only give my gratitude to God but also give up my worries and let Him do His thang. This keeps stress and worries of life from getting in the way of my happiness.
Prayer is when I do all the talking. For me, mediation is when I do the listening. Life and my mind are always buzzing away and I need to consciously take the time to let my mind go quiet and just listen. Sometimes I feel a conviction to do something or another, other times I just enjoy the stillness of it all. Take the time to just simply be for at least 10 minutes a day.
4. Ban Negativity
Make a conscious effort to not speak about anything negative. This includes gossip, most sarcasm, complaining, telling your coworker about an annoying customer, etc. It’s really hard to do at first, especially if you’re surrounding by Debby Downers and Negative Neds, but eventually you’ll see it make a change for the good and your thoughts and attitude will become more positive too! I know sometimes it just feels good to rant but it’s really only hurting you in the end.
5. Find a Productive Hobby
Spend a few hours each week doing something you love that’s productive.. that means TV doesn’t count.. and shopping should probably be limited (guilty). I love DIY projects, baking, organizing my house, refinishing furniture, taking the dogs for a walk, etc. Need a little inspo? Look through your Pinterest boards for a fun activity or project to work on (or check out my boards here). The point is to find something that makes you feel productive in your life, outside of work!
6. Clean & Declutter Your Home
There is nothing worse than coming home from a stressful day at work and being surrounded by a messy and cluttered house. Take a few hours for the next few weeks and go through the house and declutter, organize, and get rid of any unnecessary junk! Btw my family can vouch that I am the world’s largest pack rat. Just last night I threw away about 30 cards from my high school graduation! Boy did it feel good to get rid of the clutter! Just remember, a clean home = a clear mind
I hope you’ll take some time over the next few weeks to try and implement these changes into your life. It may not happen all overnight but at least you will start to realize that life is about the journey, not the destination. As you start to enjoy the small things in life, you will create a lasting happiness that will attract even bigger and better things!
Let me know your thoughts!