ONE DAILY HABIT YOU MUST GIVE UP TO BE HAPPIER
“The trouble is if you don’t spend your life yourself, other people spend it for you.”
Think about that quote for a moment, and ask yourself: What does my happiness feel like?
In several of our recent emails and blog posts, we’ve invited you to join us in examining the relationship between happiness and hardship. Hardship feels easy to define—a season of financial struggle, a time of personal loss, a period of life marked by troubles—as the source of ongoing frustration in our lives. But happiness? What exactly is the emotion we call happiness and why do we crave it so badly?
When trying to define happiness, it’s tempting to adopt the “I’ll know it when I see it” mindset. I have no doubt that you will—but Marc and I challenge you to dig a bit deeper. Take just a moment to write down between two and three specific (and simple) actions you know make you feel happy.
These are the actions I have written down: For me, my happiness comes primarily from scheduled time I dedicate to self-care (journaling, meditating, exercising, etc.), time spent with my loved ones, and time spent on work I deem important. Spending quality time on my own well-being, and then subsequently being present with Marc and Mac, brings me great joy. I also find that I am flush with happiness after I’ve conquered a long blog post or read a heartfelt email reply from one of our “Getting Back to Happy” course students.
But here’s the real secret to happiness: what makes me happy may not make you happy. Perhaps your true happiness comes from the smiles you provoke on the faces around you, or maybe you find happiness at the end of a long hike up a mountain. Where you find joy is not as important as understanding how you find it.
Once you have an idea about what generally makes you happy, challenge yourself to define the obstacles in your life—the struggles standing between you and happiness. Defining our obstacles gives them clarity, and it helps us chart the path to conquering them. And the same principle holds true for proactively creating more happiness too: in defining specific actions that drive our happiness, we learn to build those activities into our daily lives. That’s the key—determining the daily actions (rituals) that allow you to overcome the obstacles in your path.
In other words, when you know how to get to happiness one small step at a time, you can then ritualize it into your life and make it a regular part of each day.
So, if you’ve been making a daily habit of looking to others for what makes YOU happy, it’s time to give that up! Take time instead to define happiness for yourself, and figure out what’s getting in your way. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks should make you happy. I may find happiness in my writing, but that doesn’t mean that you need to be a writer to be happy. Shut out all the judgmental and well-meaning voices—and listen to yourself today. Don’t worry if your definition of happiness seems incomplete either—embracing happiness is an ongoing process.
But, as I’m sure you are aware, all of this is oftentimes much easier said than done.
Defining and building the right daily rituals to support your happiness takes guidance and practice.
And that’s why we made this process the foundation of our brand new book.
Truth be told, if I had read this book a decade ago it would have saved me from myself in countless ways. It absolutely would have saved me from intense periods of darkness that were born primarily from my subconscious assumption that I couldn’t be any happier—that it wasn’t in the cards for me. I learned the hard way, but YOU don’t have to.
Sincerely hoping you’re looking forward to the next step forward.