This is part 3 of a 4-part series on how to be happy more often in your life. If you’d like to start at the beginning, you can read all about how reminders of past misfortunes might be keeping you stuck in unhappiness in part 1 here, and all about how you can start collecting more happy moments starting today in part 2 here.
To be happy in the future we must know NOW where we’re going
If we want to get somewhere, what do we do?
First, we check where that “somewhere” is!
How many times have you googled an address of a place you want to go to?
In order to get anywhere, you need to know where you’re going.
Otherwise, your chances of getting there are slim.
Imagine wanting to go to a coffee shop you’ve never been to, to meet a friend.
How hard would it be to meet your friend if you didn’t know where that place was? If you’d just drive around or walk around aimlessly, looking around each corner in hope that maybe, maybe, you’ll come across what you need?
Nobody does that!
We all check the address, find out the quickest route and then LEAVE THE HOUSE.
Yet, when it comes to people wanting to be happy, how often do we clarify with ourselves where it is that we want to go (aka what does happiness really mean to us)?
Not limited by any notions like “this is impossible” or “I should be realistic”, how often do you actually think about – if you had no limitations – what would make you happy today?
I know I certainly don’t do that often enough – at least these days. But we can change it together starting today!
Design your own happiness
If you’ve worked through your past experiences in order to be happy more often in the now, should you even be planning the future of your happiness? Isn’t that exactly the opposite of being happy in the now?
If you’ve read the first two parts of this series, this is a natural question to ask. If we shouldn’t spend all our time reminiscing or planning, so that not to miss out on the happiness that is happening right in front of our eyes right now, then how does knowing where you want to go fit into this?
There are two perspectives to take on in here. While in one, shorter-term view, we want to make sure we’re there to experience and appreciate all the goodness that’s happening around us, in the longer-term view, we still have to plan a route for where we want to go. Without it, we might collect a lot of happy moments from everyday life, but still feel the yearning for something more, something bigger, that can leave us feeling like something’s missing.
This bigger, longer-term view is usually attached to life ambitions and what you feel you want to do with your life while you’re on this planet. Those are the bigger life-questions of:
– where you want to live,
– who you want to be with,
– what you want to be doing,
– and why do you want to do it.
And while collecting happy memories every day is a definite must if we want to enjoy the ride (and btw: we should want to enjoy the ride, sacrificing years of your life for some deferred potential happiness much later is no way to go), it’s still important to make sure our journey ultimately leads us towards the life that we want.
Just like with getting to a coffee shop you’ve never been to requires you checking on the map where it’s located, you need to check-in with yourself as to where you want to go in order to be happy and fulfilled every day.
Our idea of our own destination is something that can, of course, change over time, but if you commit to a practice of clarifying your needs and desires regularly (and looking at why you think you want what you want), you’re going to start seeing an overall direction of what matters to you most and where you really want to go, so that you can start choosing the actions and experiences that will get you closer to your destination… thus designing your own happiness.
Write your own story
But how do you go about clarifying what it is you want? It seems both such a vast AND vague task.
Luckily, there is a simple exercise that, if done regularly, will show you exactly what you keep yearning for and which goals or ideas are just temporary cravings.
Take a piece of paper, open up a new document on your computer or a new note on your phone and start writing about 3 answers to each of those questions:
– Who do I want to BE?:
– What do I want to DO?:
– What do I want to HAVE?:
Three simple questions about who you want to BE, what you want to DO and what you want to HAVE, are one of the easiest ways to see what it is that you really desire.
If you do this a couple of times a week (which is what I’m re-committing to here right now – I used to do it each Wednesday and Sunday, so I’m setting myself a reminder again for those days not to forget), and if you do it in a way where you can look through your past responses over time, in a few weeks you’re going to have a much better clarity about what it is that you want your life to look like.
Having that destination is the first step to getting where you want to go.
So, are you with me? Set a reminder for 2 days a week to write down your own BE-DO-HAVE’s and let’s get started. (It’ll only take you a couple of minutes each time and it’s really worth it!)
As a beautiful stationery addict I have a special notebook for this purpose only, so if you’re like me you can grab one too, and let’s get writing, so that we can write our own story into existence.
After all, clarity is king. It helps you sieve through millions of choices to take actions that matter to you most.
Leave a comment below and let me know if you’re in and, for extra brownie points, share a few examples of your own BE-DO-HAVE’s. I will leave mine in the comments too, so we can all keep growing into more of who we want to be.
And if you’ve enjoyed this article, I would be grateful if you could share it with some of your friends with one of the social media buttons. Thank freakin’ goodness that happiness is an unlimited resource, so sharing it (OR how to get more of it) with others will never ever take anything away from yourself, but might help someone else.
I can’t wait to hear from you in the comments and I’ll see you again in the 4th – final part of the series.
All my love,