Happiness is like a dream vacation. You don’t always know where it is or how to get there, but you’ll know it when you do.
Except, unlike vacations, there are no fast and easy websites to tell you what makes you happy. The thing is, happiness isn’t pulled out of a hat. You draw it from various aspects of your life like your career, hobbies, and relationships.
Whether you consider yourself to be mostly happy with your life or think there is something missing (but not sure what), here are a few questions to ask yourself. You’ll either happily conclude that you’re on the right path or figure out how to get yourself on it.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
– Mahatma Gandhi
1. What’s my first thought when I wake up each morning?
What you do first thing in the morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. This is why successful CEOs have strict morning routines where they meditate, jog, pray, or simply enjoy a satisfying breakfast in peace.
But before you pull on your running shoes or start shoving fruit into a blender, you’ll want to make sure you’re not already stressing over all your pending tasks. If your very first thought when you get up is along the lines of “Urgh, I have to do this today,” then chances are you’re not as happy as you could be.
If this is you, make a conscious effort to make your very first thought of the day a positive one. Think about a loved one, the great breakfast you’re about to have, something cool you can accomplish that day, or a fun activity you’ll sneak in during break time. (It might help to write these things down where you’ll see them when you wake up.)
2. Are the goals I’m pursuing aligned with my purpose?
According to the book The 100 Simple Secrets Of Happy People,“Goals are crucial to one’s orientation to the world and to life satisfaction.”
Make a list of the three main goals you’re currently pursuing. If you can honestly say that they all give you a sense of fulfillment and keep you excited about life, then you can truly say that you’re happy. (And yes, we all envy you.)
If you’re having trouble even making the list, then it’s time to sit back and think about what you can do differently. Experiment with various interests and hobbies until you find something that “clicks”. Make time for yourself to pursue something that helps you grow as a person. As Tony Robbins likes to say, “Progress equals happiness.”
3. Do I prioritize my own well-being?
Do you treat yourself to good food? Do you make sure you get enough sleep? Are you making time to connect with the people you care about? These are the little things that make the biggest impact on your health and happiness.
Granted, not everyone has the luxury of sleeping a whole eight hours or cooking a three-course meal after a long day. Not to mention, your mental health plays a huge role in your ability to do any of these things on a regular basis.
You don’t have to do all of these perfectly, but adding one more hour of sleep or texting a good friend can make all the difference. Arianna Huffington dropped everything when her lack of sleep caused her to collapse, so now she always gets a full night’s rest. Self-care should always be a priority.
Keep in mind that tiny changes have huge effects. Make a point to include one or two changes in your day to day until you can wake up one morning knowing you no longer have to pursue happiness – because you’re already living it.
Happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit.
– Richard Branson