There is a very interesting mystery surrounding the concept of "being happy" and the importance of accomplishment.
We all have things that we "desire."
We all understand that if we accomplish desires that align with our values, we will be happy.
We all understand that to accomplish the steps to meet our desires, we have to take certain steps.
We all understand that these steps aren't always that complicated. Oftentimes, it's as simple as leaving work 15 minutes early to spend more time with a loved one; or choosing a salad instead of a cheeseburger to take care of ourselves physically.
Okay--so the above facts aren't rocket science. So the question of the hour is this:
If we all understand these basic 4 principles. Why do we so often make a choice that doesn't help us in any of them?
Why do we choose to berate ourselves instead of think positively? Why do we choose the cheeseburger? Why do we stay up too late so we are tired or grumpy the next day? Why do we stay at work too late? Why do we make a laundry load more important than one-on-one time with our child if we haven't seen them all day? If we know getting up 10 minutes earlier to say "good morning" would be good for our mental health, why don't we bother? Why do we get mad at a customer service person who has no part of the origin of our problem? Why do we spend so much time doing the things that don't make us happy and don't lead us anywhere?
Good questions, aren't they?
Well, before I give you what I perceive to be the answer, I want you to join me in unraveling this mystery in your own life. Grab a notepad--you get to play detective this week. Each time you find yourself making a choice that weighs more on the negative side of the scale than the positive- STOP. Write down what is going on in your mind and what is going on around you. See if you notice any trends or connect any dots.
As always, actually doing this exercise will put you miles ahead of those who don't.
In order to truly understand this exercise, I need you to take a moment and think about the last 90 days of your life. Write down the times you were the happiest--and what caused them.
Most people end up with a list that contains things like this:
A heart-to-heart moment with a significant other
Time spent with a child
Laughing at a funny movie with a girlfriend
Taking some time and learning something new about myself
Experiencing a spiritual connection
Most people do not end up with these things on their list:
Working late at the office
Almost getting to my next promotion
Buying that new car
Cleaning the lint out of the grate below my fridge
Spending $1000 on the perfect outfit
So here is why it is important to look at these things. Most of the actions we take, and the decisions we make, move us toward the second list. These are items we "think" will make us happy. Why? There are many reasons from marketing to commercialization that could fill a book.
In summary, we have internalized that true happiness--because it would be so wonderful--must require we move mountains. In reality, true happiness only requires we sit on the mountain and look around and truly see. Instead of looking for happiness tomorrow - we grab the "moment of today" and live our happiness now.
So we live in this paradox--we run around trying to do all the things we think will make us happy, and while we do this, we lose all the chances to engage in what truly makes us happy.
Add to this the quote we discussed on the message board this week, "You are what you repeatedly do." This type of thinking becomes habitual and engrained and difficult to alter. We must be proactive, concentrated, and focused if we wish to change.
Using the 3 Step Daily Action List is one way to hone in on what does matter, and what will move us forward.
Affirmations, like those used in the Good Morning program (visit www.changeyourlifechallenge.com/news.htm) are another powerful tool in reprogramming our thinking.
Your Challenge for the Week:
Go on a happiness hunt. Observe your habits and your choices. Create your own moments that matter. Try to have at least 20 on your list by the end of the week.