For as long as I can remember I have been waiting to be happy. Somewhere in my life I bought into the idea that one achievement or one milestone was going to be the difference maker and "set me free" so to speak.
Once I get rid of all this student debt I will be happy. Once I can deadlift 425 lbs I will be happy. Once I have my own home I will be happy....
The problem is that "someday" never comes. As it turns out, there is a new outcome or new mountain to climb as soon as the old one passes.
A serious lack of fulfillment.
Though it's difficult to admit, one area this was particularly real for me was when I became a new Dad. I was thrown into a world I knew little about and found it hard to find my role. Marie and Zoey had such an amazing bond, and I felt like a fish out of water. So then came the future forecasting: I would say to myself, " Once I read these parenting books, then I can be the Dad I want to" or, "once I change my hours at work then I can really be happy and involved," and "Once she can walk and talk it will be much easier for me to interact with her."
The crippling part of this mindset was that I spent all of my time focusing and waiting on outcomes, only to find that once that outcome was achieved, after 5 minutes of excitement, I would revert to feeling the exact same way and just find a new outcome to replace the old one.
For me, the result was never enjoying my life. I was never being fully present, engaged and happy to be alive which is ironic because I would tell myself that once I reached XX goal, that was how I was going to feel and allow myself to be.
Maybe you can relate to this....
What have you told yourself needs to happen before you can be happy and live the life that you actually want to?
Will it be the promotion at work? Receiving the title that you feel you deserve? Will it be making XX dollars per year? Will it be once you have lost 10 pounds? Will it be once you live in the house you want?
Unlikely going to happen.
I'm not saying that having goals and objectives are bad, that's way off base. They are incredibly important and necessary if you want to live a purpose driven life. What I am saying, is that if they become your only focus, all you see is the forest and you forget about the trees.
But the trees are where happiness lies. This is no secret.
Kind of a weird analogy, I know. But it's true. Falling in love with each and every day is what it takes to be happy. It's about having a constant dedication to find joy and gratitude in each and every day. The challenge is that for many, this is esoteric and intangible. But it doesn't have to be.
Just like everything else in your life, what you practice, you improve. Gratitude training is no different. This has been an exercise that has made a large difference in my life so that I can live consciously and presently every day, and there is lots of cool research to back it up.
My own routine looks like this...
I start by using the 5 minute journal. Its an amazing little journal that you can pick up in print at Chapters or download the app on your phone if you're more techy. It's designed specifically for gratitude training and bringing awareness into your day. Please check this out, its simple but VERY effective.
From there, I do sentence stem completion exercises. These are designed to build self esteem and bring awareness into your day to day life (awesome if you're not good at staying present).
Finally, I like to make a commitment to myself and to my day.
"I commit to being fully present, grateful and happy today"
I say this 10 times to set the tone. In total, this routine takes about 15 minutes. It's 15 purposeful minutes that allow me to get centred and set myself up for success.
I believe that we are free to craft the life we want and the chains we have in our lives now don't need to be there tomorrow. If you resonated with this blog make a commitment to take action. Share it with your friends and family so you can all support each other in this pursuit. Try the routine, be consistent, and don't stop. Finding happiness in each day is the only way to build a happy life... the secret's out!
Nurture the trees, the forest will come.