I’ll be happy when…
This is something I hear and see all the time. This is to no fault of our own as humans,
it’s natural to think about what it will be like to have a perfect life. Who wouldn’t want
to day dream what it would be like to win the lottery, be happy all the time, and love life???
When we go through a tough spot or do not feel jazzed up about where we are, we say things
like “I just need to get that promotion”, “I just need to lose some weight”, “I just need to make
it to next week and I will have more time”. All of these things can be placed under the umbrella
of I WILL BE HAPPY WHEN.
We’ve all done this before. We look forward to the future when we think things will be easier.
We dream about how we will feel when we achieve our goals, achieve that next step, or have
more time, money, energy, whatever the thing is. It makes sense to dream. In the moment it
gives you the feeling of the light at the end of the tunnel, an end game, a point, and it keeps
you moving forward.
But what if that very thought was a contributor to your unhappiness??
Setting goals, making a plan, and going through tough times make us who we are and are
priceless experiences. It is not the hard time itself that we need to eliminate, but we need to
check ourselves when it comes to how we feel about hard times. How we feel about those hard
times can determine whether we are happy or miserable.
Telling yourself that you just need more time, more money, more energy, to lose weight, by
default is saying that where you are currently is not enough. Consciously or not, you are telling
yourself that you cannot be happy until you achieve that goal. This is simply not true.
The other trap??? Happiness is NOT on the other side of achievement. You might be thinking to
yourself, “you are crazy, I WILL be happy when I get a promotion and make more money”. This
is that point when I gently place my hand on your shoulder, tilt my head slightly to the left and
say with a soft kind voice, “No you won’t”.
Hear me out because I know there are examples in your own life where this is true.
We’ve all struggled with money at some point in our lives and thought “I just need to make
more money, that will make this easier”. Then eventually we do make more money, and what
happens?? Sometimes it lightens the load but most of the time we still think we need more
money. It’s not more rewarding, not more fulfilling, you’re not happy. Maybe you’ve been
trying to lose weight, hell maybe you’ve even been successful at achieving your 30lbs weight
loss goal, are you happy? No. Most people believe that things will make them happy, but over
and over again we can watch people reach their goals and still feel miserable.
This occurs for a few reasons:
1. You are chasing a moving target
2. You are not addressing what is making you unhappy
Goals are GREAT!! I use goals all the time to keep me focused and moving forward. That said, I
also know and practice being happy now because I know happiness is not on the other side of
achievement. I do not say this sitting atop my thrown looking down on the people. It’s more
like, “HEY OVER HERE (arms waiving hysterically) let me tell you about how I’ve fucked up, so
you don’t have to”.
The fact is, your goals will always be moving, adjusting and changing. This is great because it
means we’ve achieved some progress and we are on to the next. The trick is, we want to be
able to set goals, acknowledge our successes, and appreciate the journey, not stress about all
the things that we still have to do or that are not getting done.
This is where most people get tripped up. Most people set a goal and start working their way
towards it. Instead of finding excitement in the little wins along the way, and using those as
benchmarks and mini goals, they are stressed about the finish line, the end goal, all they see is
the journey they have left, not how far they’ve come. In part, this creates dissatisfaction, it
contributes to our unhappiness. If the target is always moving, you are never done, never
finished, always working, you will always be saying “I’ll be happy when”.
Like I said before, it is okay to have goals, dream big, and make a plan but not at the expense of
happiness or gratitude today. You can have BOTH. You can be happy today and work towards
what you want tomorrow.
To be happy we need to find ways to be grateful for the things we have today, where we stand
now, while chipping away at the things that will create or better tomorrows. How do we do
TIPS TO FINDING HAPPINESS TODAY
1. Focus on the process not the end goal
Find enjoyment in the day to day activities you do that are helping you achieve your goal.
2. Take ownership, extreme ownership
The faster you acknowledge that you (fingers pointing to your own chest) and you alone
are responsible for everything you have in your life – all the wins and all the losses, the
better off you’ll be. Is that hard – yes. It requires the balls to say, “I fucked up”, “I don’t
know what I am doing”, and “I need help”.
It requires vulnerability, accountability, and a willingness to figure it out. You see, the
coolest thing about ownership is that it’s on you. You get to choose to change it, you
have the power to make it different, and you can succeed, if you are willing to tell your
ego to piss off.
3. Find ways to be grateful for the things you have
Life is not a cartoon. There is no rain cloud following you around everywhere you go,
chasing you down with doom and gloom. Most likely, your life has MANY great things in
it to be thankful for. Look around you there are so many reasons to decide to be happy.
This life is way too short to drum through your existence and not have any fun.
4. Don’t compare
Here’s the bottom line, you do not have control over anyone else so stop looking at
other people as a gauge of how well you are doing in your own life. How someone else
measures success, what they believe to be important, what they prioritize, and how
they conduct themselves is their business, not yours.
To look at others and use that as a yard stick to judge ourselves is ludacris. It gives that
other person all the power in your success. You get to write the story, you get to choose
what success looks like, no one else chooses that for you.
5. Don’t judge
Judgment is toxic and it’s leading to your own sadness. PERIOD. When you judge other
people, you create barriers for yourself. When we judge others, we create barriers in
our mind for what is possible because the thing we fear the most is being judged by
others the way in which we judge.
We need to remove criticism of others to be brave ourselves, we need to hold space for
others to fumble and fuck up in finding themselves, so we can do that too.
6. Don’t complain
Complaining, regardless of how factual it seems, puts your mind in a space to look for
negativity. It sets you up for only seeing the things that are not going well in your life, it
sets you up for failure.
Moreover, complaining changes nothing. At the end of every situation, regardless of
how upsetting or annoying, you are left with two choices: do something or do nothing. It
is that simple.
Complaining is like a rocking chair, it might occupy your time, but it gets you nowhere.
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