Happiness and High Standards Actually Do Mix.
In Western culture, as well as many other cultures around the world, there is a prevailing dogma that being happy equals being content with your life and being content equals lack of progress towards achievement of your goals. There was a time in my life when I used to base my goals around what I was angry about and I used the anger to drive myself to achieve my goals, hoping to relieve myself of the anger. While most of the time, I was successful at achieving my goals, I felt more empty than happy after the goals were achieved.
First, you’ll need Big and Meaningful Goals
Now, forcing yourself to be happy all the time isn’t exactly the formula for a fulfilling life either. You must have difficult but meaningful goals that’ll inspire you going forward. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who believes in positive thinking as an end-all-be-all solution but I do think it’s a necessary but not sufficient ingredient needed for success.
Don’t come up with something dull and uninspiring like returning that library book on time or paying your credit card minimum payment this month. If you don’t think your current goals are big enough, then please read AND DO the exercise Tony Robbins prescribes here. If you think your goals are too far fetched, Tim Ferriss will probably beg to differ.
Once you have your goals, it’s time to break them down into manageable steps. I like to use Evernote to keep track of the individual steps rather than keep it all up in my head. I also like to set weekly goals every Sunday that’ll either bring myself a step or two closer to each of my long-term goals or to take care of important and urgent issues that have come up in life.
Your Personalized Happiness Plan
Everyone has a different way of achieving happiness so I can’t really tell you any straight-forward tactic to use like getting happy by pressing a button. So right now, I’d like for you to think of at least 10 ways you can feel happy including:
- What are some memories in your life that made you really happy? (i.e. graduation, wedding, some memorable vacation, etc.)
- What are some memories in your life that really made you laugh?
- What are some books, movies, TV shows, songs, Youtube clips, etc. that make you laugh or put in you an excellent mood?
Next, sign up for a Pinterest account if you don’t already have one. Create a board you shall designate as your “Happiness” board. You may make it a secret board if you feel it’s too personal to share publicly. Pin both pictures and/or Youtube videos of everything you’ve listed previously that makes you happy in that board. If the pictures of your wedding make you happy, put them in there. If there’s a song or a particular scene from your favorite TV show or movie that made you laugh or smile really hard, search for it on Youtube and send it to your “Happiness” Pinterest board using the share function.
Bookmark that board on your main computer and mobile phone so that you can bring it up immediately whenever you are feeling down. This is the closest thing you’ll find, at least in 2015 (and 2016) to a push-button solution to your happiness!
As of my writing, it’s less than a month away before 2016 so it’s not too early to start thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions next year. Don’t be like most other people who only start thinking about their resolutions on Jan 1 or even later; get a head start today so your momentum will already be in full force on January 1st. Happy Holidays and I wish you a happier and more fulfilling 2016!