Everyone wants to be happy, right? We work, love, travel, pine, long for, dream and plan in hopes of bringing ourselves some pleasure. The quest for feeling good, actually, drives just about everything we do. I’ll bet right this minute you can think of things that would make you very, very happy indeed. And yet, despite a lot of effort you may not be as happy as you’d like. What’s standing in your way?
Often, the answer to that question is: You. How you approach the journey to happiness has everything to do with how and when and even whether you achieve it. Before you go one step further on the path, consider these four areas that happiness:
Taking each separate arena of your life, make a list of all the things standing in your way of pleasure. For each item on the list brainstorm all the actions you’d need to take to remove or get around those things. Finally, decide which area you’re going to work in first, and then: What will be the first action you take, and when will you take it. By the time you’ve mapped out all of this you will have a solid plan for overcoming the obstacles in your way.
Assess your beliefs about happiness. In this moment, think about happiness. What do you believe is true about it, and about your having it? Many of your core belief systems come from how you were raised. What was the attitude toward happiness in your home? What did you, as a child, feel about happiness? Was it good or bad? Were you allowed to feel happy, or were you made to feel guilty or ashamed?
Today, decide what you want your happiness belief to be. Write it out as a positive statement. Then, incorporate that statement into your daily life: put post-it notes in places you’re likely to look, use one word as a meditation mantra, and the whole sentence as an affirmation you repeat throughout the day. If you want some extra kick to your new belief installation, choose one single action you can take each day to actualize that belief in your life.
Assess your happiness motivation. Are you motivated to achieve happiness truly for your pleasure, or are you chasing happiness just so that you can suppress or avoid dealing with something else?
It’s very common to put your focus in one place so that you can avoid focusing on something that may be uncomfortable. For example, a situation or a trauma in the past can still be nagging at you and so, even though you have taken actions to experience happiness, the issue that’s causing your unhappiness still exists – and gets in the way of your feeling what you want. If this is the case, it might be time for you to take a break from “I’m going to be happy!” and spend a little time on “I have some issues to resolve.”