“I’ll be happy when I get a promotion.” “I’ll be happy when I’m in a relationship.” “I’ll be happy when I lose 10 pounds.” “I’ll be happy when…” you fill in the rest. It happens to all of us at some point. We are told to set goals and to work hard towards them. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t set goals. You absolutely should have a big scary goal out on the horizon. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy now.
I can already hear some people, “Kyle is this going to be another article where you tell us to just be happy all the time?” well… Kind of. What I have noticed, in myself and in people around me, is that when we are striving for greatness, we can miss the beautiful road we are on that’s taking us there. We all want to improve. Whether that is in the gym or in our personal or business lives, most of us want to be better. But there’s an issue with this.
When we set out our goals, very often we will tie our happiness to that goal. We all have those thoughts that I listed above, “I’ll be happy when…” Now I’m not saying that achieving goals won’t help you get closer to a feeling of happiness. But when we think that we will only be happy once we reach those goals we can leave ourselves in an unhappy, dissatisfied state.
Will it make you happy?
When we set goals, we believe achieving them will make us happy. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t waste all of our time and effort in achieving them. This doesn’t just pertain to achievements, this can also be the case for physical items. But will they truly make you happy?
I have found that most material items offer shallow happiness. Yes, it feels great when we get a new car or that new outfit, but before long we become bored with something we pined over for so long. This has happened to me multiple times. We put certain items on a pedestal. It can be a certain pair of shoes, a designer handbag or a new car. While these are nice and can be a lot of fun, they hardly make us truly happy.
What is happiness
The Oxford dictionary defines “happiness” as “the state of being happy.” which doesn’t really help. But the definition of “Happy” is “feeling or showing pleasure or contentment”. That’s better. In my opinion, happiness is a feeling of ease and peace in your life. When I have felt happiest is when I have a feeling of excitement and overall lightness in my life.
It should be pointed out that “Happy” is a state. It is not a trait that we are born with. Which mean that just because you may not be happy right now, that you can’t become happy.
Why wait to be happy
Here is my biggest question for you, do you have to wait to be happy? Some people focusing on the future so much, they miss the present. While the thought of reaching our goals be a great motivator to keep moving forward, we don’t want to miss the journey. Just because we believe that we will be happier in the future that does not mean we cannot be happy now.
Now I’m not saying that everything should always be sunshine, rainbows and unicorn kisses. There will be times in your life where you will be sad, maybe even depressed. We all have off days and all experience stress that can affect our mood and mindset. The key here is to know that it is okay and perfectly normal to have these off days. Now I am NOT A DOCTOR OR PSYCHOLOGIST, if you feel that you are feeling down most of the time I would suggest speaking with a licensed professional.
What I am saying is that no matter what you are going through, or how bad of a day you are having, there is something that you can be happy about.
You can be happy now
This week I challenge you to take a step back and ask yourself, “Am I postponing my happiness?” If so, what can you be happy about now?
- Are you healthy?
- Do you like what you do for work?
- Do you have friends that support you?
- Do you have a hobby you enjoy?
- Do you have the ability to read this?
The last question may seem a little off but people tend to forget, there are people that can’t read. There are also people that can’t see. There are people that aren’t able to take the time to read a newspaper or a blog post. While I’m not saying that you should be happy because someone has it worse off than you. What I am saying, is I want you to stop and appreciate the things that you do have.
We focus on the negative A LOT. When was that last time you were healthy and thought about how easy it was to breathe? Probably never. How about appreciating that fact that you don’t have a headache? Think about the last time you were sick. Did you have a hard time breathing? It was terrible, right? But since you got better, have you taken a second to think about that fact that now you can breathe with ease? Probably not.
So take a deep breath and ask yourself, “What can you be happy about now?”