If you ever thought that true happiness is something for the future, this post is for you. In case you are wondering, no, it has nothing to do with hiking. Luckily, you are not alone because I too thought happiness was something to be sought. I thought happiness came after success and being liked, rich and famous. Jim Carrey said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see it is not the answer”. Those words were an eye opener that whatever I thought would make me happy would never make me achieve true happiness. This post focuses on how you can achieve being truly happy today and now.
The number one mistake we make in our lives is to attach happiness to something. Think about this statement and how many answers you can fit in: I will be happy when _______. What thoughts ran through your mind? A big house, nice car, your health, your family? You know best. Then ask yourself if that will truly make you happy.
Here are 7 things you can do today and every day to achieve true happiness. Do not miss the bonus section and the take away.
1. Be Grateful
I live in the space of thankfulness — and for that, I have been rewarded a million times over. I started out giving thanks for small things, and the more thankful I became, the more my bounty increased. That’s because — for sure — what you focus on expands. When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it.Oprah Winfrey
I have learned a lot about gratitude from Oprah and other stars that I admire. I have really been trying to keep a gratitude journal though not as consistent as I would like but on days when I am grateful, I feel the difference. Gratitude changes your perspective from seeing that you don’t have enough to see that you are enough. You stop seeing what is absent and start appreciating what is present.
If that is not true happiness, then I no longer know what it is. When you start to be thankful for all that you are and that you have, you open up the opportunity for more. If you cannot appreciate what you already have, it means you do not have room for more. It is time you make space for more by appreciating what you have. You may realize that you do not even need more because you have everything you need for true happiness.
Less is more.
I have been doing a little search into minimalism and what is all about. I listened to The Minimalists TED Talk (I told you, I watch a lot of them) and I really loved Ryan Nicodemus’ story. It all goes back to thinking that being rich and all the things we wish for is what will make us happy. For him to achieve a level of true happiness, he had to declutter because he had a lot and still felt empty.
Personally, decluttering helped me because as soon as I did my headspace also became decluttered. A lot of the times we tend to hold onto things that we think make us happy but they don’t. In fact, these days I hate shopping because whenever I buy something new I have to think of where I will store it because I have totally filled up my room. I only create space for the things that I need, nothing more. I have since learned to be happy with what I already own and I know that I do not need anything new to make me happy. In addition, I do not own things in doubles; I wait until it is finished so that I purchase a new one.
Decluttering has nothing to do with minimalism. You do not need to be a minimalist. However, decluttering shows you that material possession is not a huge determinant of true happiness.
3. Try something new
True happiness involves the full use of one’s power and talents.John W. Gardner
I get a lot of thrill whenever I start a project mostly because of my personality type but I also like that it makes me imagine all the great possibilities. It is in trying something new that you may stumble upon something that makes you truly happy. Don’t be afraid of it not working out because in the first place you were trying with no intention of it succeeding. If success comes well and good, if not, learn something.
I take pride in the very many projects I began and never finished. In those many projects, I learned a lot, for example, I know when to let go and what I don’t like doing. Something also very interesting is that despite failure in some of my projects, I still pursue them. Why? Because I really love doing them and whenever I am working on them, even though I don’t get results, I never give up. It is in trying something new that I discovered my passion for writing. The same can happen to you.
It could be starting to play a sport or venturing into a new hobby. Just don’t allow yourself to remain in your comfort zone. If you start something and discover it is not meant for you, move on to the next. Trust me that when you find something you love, you will know inside your heart because it makes you feel some type of way. The best part is that you will have enjoyed the thrill of trying something new and finding what you love. Even after finding what you love, you will still want to discover more and that is living a life of true happiness.
4. One goal for today
People look to time in expectation that it will eventually make them happy, but you cannot find true happiness by looking toward the future.Eckhart Tolle
There is one question that really used to piss me off: ‘What is your main focus today?’. Seriously, how is that question supposed to be answered when we live in a world of possibilities and the pace is faster than me having one focus. Well, of course now things are a little different because every day I have an answer to it.
There could be a lot of things happening in your life but your main focus is the one thing you will do today to make your life happier. Before you go to bed tonight, make sure you add in your to-do list one thing that you can do tomorrow to make your life happier. It could be saying hi to a colleague, could be working on our new found project or spending time with your loved ones. Please note that your answer should be something you can do or be, not something that somebody else will do for you. You cannot say you will happy if your boss treats you well or you will be happy if your colleagues like you. That is a big NO!
True happiness is about you and nobody else. It is in how you carry yourself and the actions you choose to do! Your task is then to accomplish the identified task that will make you happier and feel the happiness flow within you. Complete the day by noting that doing whatever you did made you happy because __________ or didn’t make you happy because of ______.
5. Say thank you
It’s enough to indulge and to be selfish but true happiness is really when you start giving back.Adrian Grenier
What is the difference between gratitude and saying thank you? Nothing much just that I wish to emphasize that is important to articulate your gratitude to people. We have this ego within us that tells us that nobody is greater than us. Similarly, sometimes we do not understand anyone’s struggles and we cannot therefore see their accomplishments as something big that needs appreciation.
As someone who values appreciation from others (sometimes), I know the true value of saying thank you. Those two words have the ability to change someone’s life. There is true happiness in uplifting somebody’s life. so many people feel like nobody loves them because nobody appreciates them. Why can’t you change somebody’s life by telling them, ‘thank you’?
Just say it!
Thank somebody for bringing you the cup of coffee, thank the guard for opening the gate, thank your colleague for stepping in, thank your partner for being there, thank your children for playing their role and thank even that person who you think does not need your thank you. By thank, I mean saying it out loud that they can hear you. Literally telling the person thank you for what they do/have done.
6. Start doing something you really love
This is for those who have tried a lot of new things and found something that they truly love. From experience, you can be very hesitant to do something you love. The main reason is that we are afraid to fail in something we think we love. We would rather not do than dare to do it and fail or worse yet discover that you actually don’t love it that much.
I won’t lie to you that there some parts of the something you really love that you won’t love. Those are the parts that always make you want to quit because for one reason you never seem to get it right. However, I know one thing, if it something you truly love regardless of how many times you quit or fail you will find a way to get back at it. There is nothing like an overnight success. You have got to put in the work and in the beginning, it is a little easy but as you continue and your passion increases you start craving growth and that is where the problems start.
Either way, you will have to start and if not now, then you are postponing your true happiness. Even if it for 30 minutes a day or an hour, just take some time off to focus on what you really love. Many of the great people started there. 30 minutes became an hour then it became a part-time job and finally it is their full-time job. Stop waiting for the perfect time, because sadly there is no perfect time. If it helps, you can read the life lessons I learned from one year of blogging.
7. Define your happiness
Did you do the take away in the last post? I challenged you to define your own happiness. Not what the world considers as happiness but what you as a person think happiness is. Be clear and sure that what you are looking for is true happiness and not just an illusion of material stuff that will make you happy.
Be ready for some tears but her story is amazing.
Today’s take away will be an exercise for you to find out some habits in your life that make you unhappy and some habits that make you happy. In addition, make sure that every day you write one activity you will do the next day that will make you happier and at the end of the day analyze if the activity made you happy by writing down two reasons it made you happy. If you follow through with this, your true happiness will manifest in your life and you will begin to truly be happy.
I hope that out of the seven ways to achieve true happiness, you have at least one that you can do today. There is no point of waiting for something or someone to make you happy. Be happy and live a truly happy life. We only have one shot at life and we can make it count by being truly happy.
This month we are spreading happiness to everybody and that is why I encourage you to share this post with your friends, family and the social media community. Sharing makes me happy, so I urge you to contribute to my happiness by sharing – no guilt intended. Share only if you loved the post and if it made sense to you, otherwise contact me and tell me what I can make better.