Change Your Life In 2018-October Challenge: Find Happiness Today

My husband and I live on a patch of land that is under an acre on the outskirts of town.  We have a neighbor we can see behind us and one fairly close to one side of us.  It can be frustrating.  Although the neighbors are fine, we still prefer to not be so close, and we dream of a larger plot of land where we can do more with it (more animals, larger garden, etc.).

I spent a couple of years longing so much for a larger and different property that I lost any ability to see the positive aspects of where we are now.  I told myself that I would be happy once we were able to move.

If you’re just joining in, the “Change Your Life In 2018” series is my quest to make some small changes this year.  Rather than setting easily forgotten resolutions I wanted to focus on 12 changes that would help me learn and grow as a person.  I’ve chosen to focus on one change per month so that it could not only become a more manageable goal, but I have a better chance at making these new habits as well.  I hope you’ll join me in the challenge!

And I likely will be happier, in some respects, when we move.  But the problem comes with not finding happiness where I am today and enjoying my life, smaller property and all, today.  If I make my happiness contingent on getting something then I'm at risk of my happiness coming and going if that thing changes.  I'm also at risk of never finding happiness, because there will always be something I'm longing for.

While this example is quite simple, if you think about your own life, can you identify where you've wished for something to change in order to be happy?  I can think of it with companies I've worked for, financial situations (when I make X amount then all of my problems will be solved), and weight/fitness goals (when I'm X size then I'll be happy).

Constantly living for something that you don't currently have in order to be "happy" is such a disservice to your life.  You're wasting all of that time longing for something that may never even materialize.

Please don't misinterpret this into not striving for more.  I think it's very healthy and empowering to do so.  But finding conscious happiness where we are, at all times, makes striving for more not only a healthy desire but also a more realistic expectation.

Because like attracts like.

Conscious happiness is a choice you make and comes from an internal source, not from external things (i.e. that larger property, a new job, a smaller pant size, a new pair of shoes, etc.).

We have to change our inner dialogue.  If you are naturally pessimistic or negative, it may take a bit more effort, but it's absolutely possible to change.  Additionally, it can be incredibly challenging if you're currently going through a tough time.  But again, happiness is a choice and you can choose to find some level of happiness.

A few small helpful habits are listed below:

  1. Consciously change your thoughts to being positive.  No matter what happens in your day, focus on finding something good in it.  It may sound corny, but thoughts are very strong and once you begin changing negative into positive it makes it much easier to find more positivity and happiness.
  2. Find gratitude.   Every morning I start with a gratitude mantra where I go through things I'm currently grateful for.  It truly puts things in perspective for me.  It reminds me of all of the good I have in my life.  Make a list, post it where you can see it regularly, and visit it daily.
  3. Identify the problem.  If you hate your job, you likely don't hate every aspect of it.  Identify what, specifically, is causing you angst and see if you can focus on changing that.  If you can't change it, can you find anything positive to focus on?
  4. Worry is noise that gets in the way of happiness.  Sometimes it's difficult to watch the news because of all of the negative stories shown.  It's very easy to fall into worry and not even realize it.  Almost always there is nothing you can do about what you worry about.  This means that there is absolutely nothing good that will come from it.  Worry also blocks out your ability to be positive and happy.
  5. Work on creating/nurturing relationships.  Studies show that engaging in healthy and positive relationships with others helps maintain our happiness as well as our overall health.  Connection with people is incredibly powerful, just make sure it's the right people you are connecting with.
  6. Do you.  So often we work to meet other's expectations or try to emulate others in hopes of finding the same success.  That's a lot of pressure!  Instead, start focusing on being you.  Accept yourself, get to know your strengths and weaknesses, and search for ways to be comfortable in your own skin.

Here are also a few happiness un-truths:
  • Owning things doesn't make you happy.
  • Being successful doesn't make you happy.
  • Losing weight doesn't make you happy.
  • You can't find happiness in other people (no one can make you happy).
  • You can't make someone else happy.
It's not that any of the above-listed items wouldn't be a positive change and would bring some happiness to your life.  But the reality is, there will always be something else that you need or you need to change in order to truly be happy if you focus on finding happiness externally.

To sum it up, the only person we can change is ourselves.  You hold the keys to your own happiness.  No one else does.  And you deserve to be happy.

Now it's your turn!  Are you consciously happy?  What are some of the stumbling blocks you've encountered on your journey to finding true happiness?  What are some things that have worked for you?

Next month’s topic is: Make Kindness A Habit

Find the introduction to the series here: 12 Things You Can Do To Change Your Life In 2018
Find January's challenge here:  Letting Go Of Regrets

Find February's challenge here: Figure Out What To Do With Your Life
Find March's challenge here: Setting Goals & Chunking Them Down
Find April's challenge here: Change Your Routine
Find May's challenge here: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Find June's Challenge here: Simplify Your Life & Find Your "Why"

Find July's Challenge here: Your Thoughts Are Your Reality 
Find August's Challenge here: Take Care Of Yourself
Find September's Challenge here: Be The CEO Of Your Life

1 comment

  1. Hmmm...This is something I've thought about quite a bit in my life. I agree with beliefs being powerful. In fact, you are what you believe. I hold myself accountable for the state of my life, because it's my choices that have put me here. I do struggle with regrets from time to time, but understand that there really is no reason to feel regretful. It's all working out the way it is supposed to. I don't know that I'd say I'm happy most of the time, but I've reached a state of blissful contentment for the most part. And that's enough for me.


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