Did you resolve to be happier this year?

Happiness is Not a Goal:

    As we set the goal for ourselves that we are working to achieve, we are going to run into the idea of happiness and how it factors into our future lives. We all want to be happy when we get to where we are going, but happiness is not a goal. In fact, happiness is nothing more than a choice and one that we can make at any moment of any day. If that is the case, then our goals can’t simply be to be happy as there is nothing to strive for in that goal. Let me explain:

    First of all, happiness is an emotion that comes and goes in the moment and is influenced by many factors. For instance, when I get to enjoy a warm brownie, I am happy. But if someone takes that warm brownie away from me, the happiness goes with it. Happiness is transient and always doomed to change since it is a reaction to our world and the events within it. This isn’t something that we can create as a goal with any hope of achieving and maintaining and since we can’t get there and stay there, the goal will forever elude our grasp. It is a never ending, never changing fantasy to chase. Instead, what we need to do is figure out the big things in our lives that allow us to feel fulfilled, growing and engaged in our lives. These are the things that we need to strive to achieve in our goals. Times of happiness will come and go as we travel along our path, but the sense of fulfillment and accomplishment will only grow and grow as time goes on and create a life where we are whole. That is a real goal of working towards and achieving goals, to live a life that is fulfilling and in line with our values. Happiness will come more and more often the more and more fulfilled we are, but there will always be times that it fails us.

    So the real trick is to learn how to achieve happiness by choice, rather than letting events choose it for us. This is the only real way to maintain happiness, since it gives us some control over it, rather than it being a transient thing defined by the world outside. Even with the ability to change our happiness is not a guarantee for being happy all the time, but it will help us see the world in a better light for the majority of the time and that will make our lives richer as we work towards our goals.

                 For me, I use a gratitude mindset to try and maintain happiness as often as possible in my life. I take pains to look for the benefit in hard situations and concentrate on the hopes and joys in my life. In these ways I change my filter to see those positives in my life rather than focusing on the negatives. This makes the world in general a more positive place for me to live in. I take it one step further each day and do something that I recommend everyone do. Keep a gratitude log and track those things each day that you are grateful for. For me, I sit down before bed each night and have to find three things that I am grateful for before I can head to sleep. This forces me to refocus on the good things of the day and in my life each day. It also adds ammo so that I have something to combat any negative emotions I might feel the next day by simply looking at the things I was grateful for. It refocuses my mind and sets me up to maintain that positive focus as I travel through the day. It might work better for others to do it in the morning as they set out or to keep it all day as they go through daily life, but keeping on is a wonderful way to maintain that outlook and see the world as the wonderful place it is.

    Finally, share your happiness when you have it. The best way to compound your own happiness is to help other achieve happiness. This in turn will travel like a ripple and create a better environment around you and help to increase the longevity of your happiness. Who doesn’t like sharing in another’s happiness?  I know when someone tells me good news, I am happy for them and it lifts my spirits too.  

    To sum up, don’t base your goals and life plan around being happy. Instead base your goals around being fulfilled and then use tools to maintain get and maintain happiness when you can. This will allow us to live and fulfilled life that is also filled with happiness!

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