Now is the time to take action in creating a happy life that brings you joy! Don’t sit back at a job you hate going to every day and just complain about your situation. Don’t wish you had more time to travel and let opportunities slip away. Don’t hope to find a deep and meaningful relationship with someone and never take action.
Nobody is ever “ready” to make big changes in life. If we all waited until we were really “ready”, we would probably not accomplish very much!
“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”
– Hugh Laurie
Once we’ve accomplished the basic needs (such as food, water, sleep, shelter, etc.), there’s a deeper level of self-actualization to master that includes things like creativity, problem-solving, intimate connection, and spontaneity. It’s also important to consider that the things that society tells us will make us happy (a big house, a lot of expensive belongings, a high-paying job, etc.) don’t necessarily bring fulfillment.
So how do we figure out what truly makes us excited to be alive, and ultimately happy? One way to take steps towards finding that, is to use a Happiness Journal. Here’s how to use it:
List what doesn’t make you happy, and why.
Often, writing down the negatives lead us closer towards the positive.
Write down everything that interests you.
No matter how silly that interest may seem! Types of movies you like watching, books you enjoy reading, events you like to attend, places you like to go, hobbies (games, puzzles, crafts), creative outlets (painting, sculpting, writing, playing music), etc.
Create a list of any type of action you like to do regularly.
This includes being outside, lifting heavy things, building, reading, exercising, writing, dancing, etc.
Make a Perfect Week Calendar, and list your activities day by day.
Take seven pages, and list everything you’d do each day as part of your “perfect week”. This is not a free pass to write “sit on a beach all day”, but use it as an exercise to really think about what each day would entail. Consider these items:
- How you’ll get around (walk, bike, public transit, drive).
- What types of meals you’ll eat.
- Who you’ll be spending time with.
- What you will spend your time doing.
- How you will make money, ideally.
- Where your home will be.
Take a look at these lists, and really understand what they tell you.
Often the answer is right in front of us, but we simply can’t see past our own doubts. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Have you really tried?
And we mean really, really tried to make that idea / goal / life-change work.
- Do you have a good support group?
These are people that will support your choices, and help you get back on your feet if you fail.
- Why are you afraid?
Because you think you’ll fail? Or because you need to shift your focus to what your life would be like if you succeed?
- Do you enjoy doing many things, or just one?
Some people thrive doing many different tasks, and others in focusing on one. We’re all different, and our individual strengths benefit the world in many different ways.
- Are you depending on other things or people to make you happy, rather than yourself?
Others will balance and support you, but ultimately it’s your decisions and personal drive that will change your life for the better.
- Are you only seeing the end-goal and not the journey?
We all know the old adage: “It’s about the journey, not the destination.” Although happiness is something we strive for, it’s not something we eventually meet face-to-face. It’s a continuous balance of maintaining, creating, and enjoying the path you’re on while it’s happening.
Here are some lessons we’ve learned in the past that could be helpful with getting you started. We know you can do this, so take the first step!
[Credit: Basile, Lisa Marie. “I Used a Happiness Planner for 100 Days and This is What Happened.” Greatist.]