What makes you happy?
No really, think about it for a second. I’ve been defining Happiness as something new every day since November 9, 2011 and here I am, posed with that question, and – in a way – speechless.
What makes me happy?
I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time with the subject of joy and sure, I can think of some of my favorite “Happiness is” from the past 5 years, but what really truly makes me happy?
What makes my heart sing?
I read a poster the other day with four simple instructions:
1. Make a list of things that make you happy
Spending time with people I love, dogs, writing, helping people, public speaking, working on The Smile Project, adventure, eating delicious, healthy food, eating delicious, unhealthy food, learning languages, waking up early, running, music, a tall glass of water, traveling, sweatpants, people who give good hugs, watermelon, literature, a mind-blowing movie, sitting on roofs…
2. Make a list of things you do every day
Wake up early, study Italian, go to work, make a difference, workout, study German, give people hugs, work on The Smile Project, write, call someone I love, watch the sunset from my roof, a multitude of other activities depending on what day it is…
3. Compare the lists
Okay, so the things I do every day are all things I love…
4. Adjust accordingly
But there could definitely be room for improvement in some aspects…
We often fall into the trap of doing what is expected. It’s easy to fall into a grind of working and (as my generation begrudgingly calls it) “adulting.” But here’s a little secret: “adulting” doesn’t have to be hard. Growing up doesn’t have to be miserable. Getting a job doesn’t mean you’re leaving behind any chance of having fun in the foreseeable future.
But you have to make an active choice to make time for fun and silliness. You have to decide every day that no matter how busy you get, you are going to dedicate some time to what makes you feel young. You are going to spend some time loving and laughing and treating yourself to the things that make you the happiest.
I’ve always been a strong advocate of the belief that there is no set way to live your life or one mold that everyone fits into. However, if you really must live by a formula, I think the four step process above is what will get you there.
Know what makes you happy. Make it a priority. And whatever it is, never forget why you fell in love with it in the first place.
Do something that brings you to peak joy tonight. Then make that a habit. Before you know it, you’ll be living the life you always dreamed of.