Are you surrounded by to-do lists, vacation fliers, and financial planners? Are you spending time daydreaming about your perfect soul mate and the life you’ll have together? If so, it’s time to stop living in your dreams and start experiencing your reality. Happiness in the situational elements people crave—like money, social status, possessions—don’t reliably lead to an experience of well-being. Learning to find joy in the present moment by focusing on experiences you truly want in your life will dramatically increase life’s satisfaction, improve your health, and allow you to live longer, more fulfilling lives.
If you spend your days daydreaming and planning just to avoid the life you are living today, something needs to change. Living this way will only rob you of the joy available to you every moment of every day. To live a joyful and fulfilling life, you must find happiness in the present. Many people jump from planning one big event to the next, seeking happiness from circumstances and situations and never truly enjoying life in the here and now.
You don’t want to go through life on autopilot, mentally skipping through weeks and months at a time. Instead, create a life that you can look forward to every day of every week, all year long.
Ask yourself this…
What is something that instantly brings a smile to my face?
When do I feel most alive?
Write down your thoughts and the answers to those questions. I want you to be honest with yourself and ‘fess up to your real desires. If what you come up with doesn’t scare you, dig deeper. Identify the aspects of your life that are already drawing you toward your heart’s desires.
Keep your answers simple, and use adjectives. Depending on adjectives is the key because noun/verb goals bring to mind imagined situations, as opposed to imagined experiences. The two are subtly, but crucially different. Experiences, not situations, help us create true happiness.
You can have more than one answer for each question, and frankly…I hope you do! Don’t limit yourself, and don’t let any negative self-talk or doubt enter your mind. Let your heart guide you; there is no logic allowed for this exercise!
After you compile a written list, mull it over for a few days or even a week. Really feel each answer and explore what it means to you. Take a few moments to visualize what your life would be like if you were living in the present and feeling completely fulfilled. Create a detailed fantasy about it. Stay there a while, observing your dream come true, engaging all your senses.
Next, it’s time to set some goals. You must write them down or they don’t exist. Hopefully these new goals have something to do with that list you made earlier.
Rule #1: Don’t sell yourself short! If your goals don’t scare you, they are not big enough.
Drop the fantasy situation you imagined and concentrate on those adjectives you wrote down. You might notice that those words bring your stated goal into sharper focus. For instance, if your New Year’s resolution is to lose 15 pounds—a noun/verb goal—but your adjectives are strong, confident, and healthy, you might realize that your actual aim is to get fit. You would see that the strategy you came up with to jump on a fad diet might leave you thinner, but also without the energy to engage life, which isn’t what you really want. By focusing on adjectives, you kick the fad diet to the curb and opt for clean eating and resistance training to achieve more than those 15 pounds would have ever given you.
Take action now with these simple exercises. You deserve to live each day with a heart full of happiness, peace, and simple joy! And it’s up to you to make it happen. If you simply begin focusing on aspects of your present life that make you feel valued, satisfied, and unstoppable, all sorts of amazing things will happen.