I bet you know what would make you happy right? Well, I know. I am well aware that watching TV would bring me less joy than going for a walk or reading a book. But yet, the choice is easily made, the TV almost always wins. It frustrates me so much that choosing Happiness is such a task. Reading, going outdoors, meditating, journaling and seeing friends are all items that I am not doing enough. However, when I make the effort it always boosts my endorphins. Why? Oh Why, is this such a struggle?
Why Happiness Is A Hard Choice
Firstly, we look at the short term benefits. Right now, I’m tired, so staying in bed VS going for a run is what I might opt for. But we do not actually think about how much more energy we will have when we work out regularly. So try to think more ahead and remind yourself of the long term benefits. This example also shed light on how our decision is impacted by our comfort levels. We don’t like to be uncomfortable. A new job VS staying and feeling safe, easy decision right? Sometimes, to be happy, we might need to push ourselves outside our comfort zone. Lastly, it comes down to habits. Often the non-happiness stuff is our routine, every day I come home and turn on the tv so changing this and going for a walk instead is harder than I think because I need to break a habit.
You’re not going to like this!! But, you do realise that YOU are the reason for sabotaging your happiness, right? Turning off the TV is not that hard, there is no obstacle course to the power button. So I am stopping myself, it’s all on me. That’s a hard pill to swallow man! We often think that we need motivation, that burning desire but that’s not true, we need to learn to do something that doesn’t really excite us. We need to take that first step and that is often all we need. And you know what, more often than not, we are waiting for permission! Even though everyone else is still at work, it is ok to leave and put your happiness first! Let FOMO go! Everyone watching the Bachelor tonight? Not me, I’m reading instead and I will watch it on my own terms!
So now that we know why Happiness isn’t always our priority it’s time to change this! There are a few tricks that can help you make the right choice. Basically making your life a little brighter.
You have to realise that it will take an effort in the beginning. Happiness is a work in progress and it won’t come easy.
Realise the alternative. What Am I doing instead? By clearly labeling this it will show you that the “bad choice” isn’t actually worth it.
Why? Realise why you want to change your choice! WHY would the alternative make you happier?
→ Realisation is a learning process that involves willpower. Focussing on this will make it that little easier because you are mentally prepared.
Next, you need to acknowledge the difficulty. Don’t make excuses, be truthful. Once you allow yourself, to find it hard to make the Happy choice, there is less disappointment and resistant.
→ Acknowledgement provides a sense of relief which will help you to make that better choice.
Realisation and acknowledgement are important aspects of our Happiness journey as they can lead to the discovery of unrealistic choices. When working a 12-hour shift, you might not have the energy for a run. So the endorphin boost might need to become part of your morning routine. Stop sabotaging yourself by creating a false dilemma.
→ Be aware and ensure that your Happiness Alternative is realistic and allow yourself to find a replacement.
4. Habit formation
The easiest way of ensuring that you make Happiness your priority is to create a habit with the elements that produce joy. Off course, habit formation isn’t an easy task but it is well worth the effort. It will provide you with the ability of good choices being made on autopilot.
→ Eliminate the decision process and allow your routine to provide Happiness at all times.
I think that the hardest part of this whole choice making is that it takes effort. We always assume that Happiness is just there, it will come automatically. Unfortunately, Happiness is an inside job. We truly need to work towards these happy feelings and often it is the journey that brings most of the joy. You need to set yourself up for success and allow yourself time to truly reflect on what Happiness means to you and how you think you will get there. Remember though, our ideas and exceptions of Happiness often change! So this is not a one time job. Happiness is and will always be a work in progress.
The Key To Being Happy
Is Knowing That You Are In Charge Of This.truthful Tea talks