If you haven’t read the previous posts on Finding Happiness, please go back to #1. This is the next post in this series.
Now that you’ve brainstormed, and made your list of “happiness needs” or things that you would like to work on promoting in your life….how will you go about achieving them?? So begins what is quite possibly the harder part of this journey. Maybe some of you struggled to even name things that would make you happy, or had difficulty coming up with a list. If this is the case for you, please see the special post that I added entitled “Help! I’m stuck in the fog!”
Look at the list you’ve made. Ask yourself and think about these questions (writing down your thoughts as you go or journaling on these questions might be helpful):
— If you were to make changes in your life to achieve more happiness, where would you begin?
— What aspects of your life would you be able or willing to change? What would you be most invested in working on?
–What are the more pertinent or significant things on your list? In other words, when you look at your list, are there certain things that stick out to you as being most important or most integral to your feelings of happiness?
–If you were to make some changes in your life, where would you begin? Can you imagine what kind of steps you would begin to take to make that change?
You might also want to consider: What are static things versus permanent things? What are things that can be more easily changed, versus things that would much harder to change?
Another way to think about this is to consider what is preventing you from being happy. Generate a list of some of the obstacles that are blocking your perceived path to happiness. You can do this in the bubble-and-stick form that I demonstrated in the last post. Look through this list:. Review those things that you are identifying as being obstacles in your path to happiness. Think about what is in your power to break down and remove those obstacles.
If you’re still feeling stuck, think about this. A question often used in therapy, called the miracle question is this: If you could wake up tomorrow and everything would be perfect, what would your life be like? What would be different? What would have changed? Close your eyes for a few minutes and imagine this. Think about this. Once you have envisioned what this scenario would be for you, compare it with your “now.” This can further help you to identify your obstacles and your desires/wishes/wants. [If this leaves you feel worse, see the “Help! I’m stuck in the fog!” post].
I want to help illustrate this for you, so here’s a rough, basic example. Let’s say that you believe yourself to be a creative person, and when you engage in an artistic/creative/crafty project it always makes you happy. But when you look at your life, you realize you’re not doing anything that makes you feel creative so this is leaving a gap—or lack of happiness—in this area of your life. Some obstacles you may have identified are your job (perhaps it is very scientific and not at all creative in nature, or you travel so aren’t home often), time (how are you going to fit time in for something like this), money (you can’t afford a hobby), etc. But if you begin to break some of these obstacles down, you might realize this: you are spending two hours a night watching TV. Is that really how you want to be using the free time you have? Or, you discover you are spending an extra $50 per week on Starbucks coffee and going out for lunch at work. Is that money you’d be willing to divert into a hobby? These are some basic examples of choices in your life you can re-evaluate and consider.