We all want to be happy. That’s our number one priority in life. TV, magazines, billboards, the internet – everywhere I look I see big bright ads selling me products that will make me happier. How do I know that these will make me happier? All the gorgeous people in these ads have gigantic grins on their suspiciously white teeth. So it’s agreed then…everyone’s number one goal in life is to be happy…right?
I’m not so sure. You see, life is a wonderful thing but it is often complicated and there are challenges at every turn. I have a 14 month old daughter and she is a simple creature. She points at things she wants. When she gets what she wants – be it toys, games, food, milk – she giggles incessantly and she’s happy out. When she doesn’t get what she wants…the less said the better. So we’ve established that when we arrive, happiness is definitely our goal. But at some point, that changes.
Everyone has their journey
But somewhere along the way we’ve all tackled some of life’s problems – death, infidelity, unemployment, PRSI/PAYE/USC/whatever the latest tax is they’re sticking on us. And it’s my theory that somewhere along the way, the goal shifts. Where once we wanted happiness, now we just want to get by. No term has ever struck me so hard as when I asked someone how their relationship with their husband was and she told me “we get by”. Is this really the best we can hope for?
These problems we tackle leave their mark. Some people have issues with trust, some with insecurities, some with anxiety, some with a little of each, and some with any one of a hundred others. At that point, life becomes about coping – be that by never trusting anyone, masking the insecurity, escaping the anxiety, etc, etc.
I’ll be the first to admit that I deal with myself on a daily basis! I am not perfect and have issues no different than anyone else. But I make the effort to move my life toward what fulfills me and I work with others on doing the same. And it’s truly amazing to see the shift in people when they start to focus on what they actually want and need to put a smile on their face and honour who they are.
So that brings me to you
Yes, YOU! What are you going to do today to make sure that you are moving toward happiness and fulfillment, and not just getting by. I know, I know, you have to do the washing/clean the dishes/empty the rubbish and time is tight, but surely there’s room in your day to do just one thing for you?
There are a million and one ways to make yourself happier. A very simple one is this: smile. We’ve all heard the oft repeated line about how smiling releases endorphins, but if you don’t believe it – try it. Bet you get a little rush of joy to the brain. Ok good, now you’ve started, what next?
Movement is good for the body and mind, and it comes in many forms – what one do you like? Walking is fine by me, particularly in this weather. Maybe you like jogging, or the gym, or TRX, or dancing. Dancing is my favourite. Go home and put on the most cheesy, upbeat, happy pop song you like, then dance around the room like a crazy person (and do it in private so you’re not inhibited.) I bet that’ll get you smiling. Whoo, more endorphins! You could get used to this happiness thing yet, eh!?
I could go on and on listing ways and means of being happy, but it’s an entirely personal process so ask yourself – what makes you happy? Forget the bigger picture for a second, let’s look at quick wins – things you can do in under an hour. Do one each day. You’d be amazed at how that little window of joy impacts on your confidence and energy. That way, when life does dish out its lemons, you can make lemon juice (and put sugar in it, if you’re not into the whole sour thing).
In the longer term there is a bigger picture. Sit down and be honest with yourself. What would you need to make you feel happy and fulfilled in the longer term? How do you get there? Write it down, start planning. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. But if you make the choice to focus on your happiness then all it takes is making the first step to get the ball rolling.
The Choice is Yours
It comes down to making a conscious decision. Deciding to focus on what you want, and not on all those things that are stopping you getting there, or the things that make you unhappy in the moment. The choice is yours. There will be roadblocks on any journey that’s worth taking but trust me when I tell you, the most important thing you can do is ensure your mental and physical energy is always directed toward whatever it is you decide will make you happy.
Choose happiness and see where it takes you.
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