The human race is obsessed with the idea of happiness. We search for it in so many places: money, relationships, career, gadgets, travel, you name it!
When confronted with the question “what does it take for me to be happy?” it’s totally understandable to not know. Will more time with family make me happy? Will quitting my job make me happy? Will getting married or having kids make me happy? Will selling all of my possessions and moving to the desert in a van with my cat make me happy? Who knows?!
This concept is so overwhelming and unknowable for many that they simply don’t think about it. They don’t sit long enough with the question to get a good answer, and thus, they never know where they should be focusing their energies to have the most fulfilling life.
One way around this problem is to switch your perspective from the macro, big picture question, to a micro question that is probably much easier to wrap your head around.
Try instead, to ask yourself this: What does your perfect day look like?
A day: 24 hours. This is much easier to picture than a lifetime. But by focusing on the smaller picture, a single day, you can begin to understand what really matters in life to you.
For me, I want to wake up without an alarm clock. I want to start my day slowly with a cup of coffee and a good book. Or when the mood strikes me, an interesting, creative venture. I want to eat breakfast with my family and send my kids off to school with a positive attitude. I want to spend some time outdoors, preferably walking in nature. I want to eat yummy food that makes me feel good. I want to accomplish something tangible and worthwhile. I want to eat dinner together with my family and spend time understanding who they are as an individual.
Your ideal day might sound similar to mine. It might sound completely different. Both are OK. But if you’re anything like I was, you probably aren’t hitting your ideal day very often. There are some things that might be holding you back from the ideal, like work, your income level, or your proximity to family and friends. These problems may feel insurmountable, but don’t let these hurdles stop you from even dreaming of change.
Instead, ask yourself what you can do RIGHT NOW to get a little closer to your ideal. Choose one aspect and run with it. Figure out how to make that one thing a reality, do it for a while, see your life enjoyment go up, and then tackle another one from your list.
Pretty soon, your life just might be totally different. You may, like me, wake up one morning and realize you are actually LIVING the ideal day you wrote for yourself a few years ago that at the time felt like a fantasy. And living it day after day after day.
These fulfilling days add up into weeks, then months, and then years. You won’t need to ask yourself what you need to be happy because you will naturally be living a fulfilling life each and every day.