If I asked you what you want most out of life, what would you say? Most people say they want to be happy and/or successful. How do you measure happiness? Most people don’t spend the entire day crying, so aren’t they happy? Perhaps happiness comes from being successful. How do you measure success? Is it the house you live in, car you drive, your kids’ happiness? From my house, I can see houses that are twice as big and cost twice as much as my own. Likewise, I can see houses half the size and worth half as much. One of my kids is an overachiever, another struggles in school. I know I do the best I can for both of them but their happiness is not totally under my control.
I would love to have a bigger business, is that how I measure my success? Well, right now a bigger business would mean less time to spend with my four year old. Being a stay at home mom has been very important to me. Would I feel less successful if I was seeing clients full time right now?
I am going to share a little secret with you… actually two. First of all, stop with the “I will be happy when…(I get a better job, have more money, lose weight, etc) or the “I will be successful when….(I get promoted, I get a bigger house, etc). You are setting yourself up for complete failure. Think about a job promotion. Imagine what would happen in order for you to get that promotion. It most likely will not happen the way you imagine it. Also, you risk missing other amazing opportunities. Think about where you are now. I am willing to bet that at least once in your life, your plans changed and opened up something amazing for you. Perhaps you met your spouse, found a more fulfilling career, perhaps you didn’t win a house in a bid and then found your dream house. Things happen all the time that are both amazing and unplanned. If you keep telling yourself that you won’t be happy until you get a promotion, and then a better opportunity comes up, you might never truly be happy because your mind is still waiting for the promotion.
Second, you ARE a success right now! I know, you might not have the car you want, the house you want, the relationship you imagine or the career you have been working towards, but you ARE a success! You have made it this far in life. If you are reading this now, 1. you can read 2. you are able to use the internet and 3. you either own or can get to a place to borrow a device to read this on. Even when you are at a very low point, you are still successful.
How do you make this information work for you? I will tell you how to feel happier and more successful in a few short days. All you need to do is follow these steps.
Step 1: PAY ATTENTION: Spend a few days just paying attention. Perhaps you journal or blog or want to start one for a few days. Pay attention to how you feel, really feel. Most importantly, pay attention to your self talk. I will bet that you are saying things to yourself that you don’t even realize. Perhaps you are more jealous of others than you realized. Pay attention to why those feelings come up.
Step 2: PRAISE YOUR SELF: I have noticed that we find it really hard to praise ourselves. I think we often worry about seeming coincided or narcissistic. The truth is, when we allow ourselves to feel proud of our accomplishments, we appear confident, not coincided. This step doesn’t even have to be public at all. Simply praise yourself. Find something positive every day, the more the better. Perhaps start by looking back at the end of the day and thinking about everything you accomplished. Even on a lazy day, you still accomplish so much! After a couple of days, you should be able to start praising yourself during the day. It doesn’t have to be huge, just say to yourself “I took care of that item and I am successful”. If you can take a moment to close your eyes, breath in the affirmation and then breath out, that’s even better! If not, just by telling yourself you did it, you are creating change.
That’s basically all there is to being happy and successful! Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Here’s the thing, our minds are really powerful but also get confused easily. When we keep saying we want to be happy and we want to be successful, our minds work really hard to make sure that happens. Are you walking around crying all day, or do you at least enjoy part of your day? Well, if you are enjoying part of your day, your mind has created happiness for you. And success… again, your mind sees that you are still alive, you are learning everyday, and you manage to do basic things. You are in fact successful. Success and happiness are really hard to measure. When you try to measure them, you limit yourself to reaching happiness and success through means you haven’t even thought of. When you reprogram your mind, you create avenues for more success and more happiness to come into your life. For instance, let’s say you want to lose weight. When you take the time to praise yourself for exercising or turning down a doughnut, you are teaching your mind that those behaviors make you feel good. The better you feel about those behaviors, the more likely you are to repeat them. The more you repeat them, the more likely you are to lose weight. Look at that! You reached your goal and I bet you felt happier each day you were working on it. When you tell yourself “I won’t be happy until I lose weight”, you won’t be able to enjoy the journey and you won’t feel the same pride when you turn down that doughnut. By celebrating each baby step, you create happiness and success and you are much more likely to reach your goals.