If you're like most people, at some point you're going to spend some time trying to figure out how to be truly happy. Not just today, or tomorrow, but for the rest of your life. Most of us arrive at this point when we realize that something is missing. You not sure what it is, or how to find it, but you know that 'it' is out there somewhere.
If you’re just starting out, you may be looking for a path to follow. You may be ahead of the game, sure of what you want. You don’t want to follow the herd. You want to know how to grow the life of your dreams. You want your life to really mean something.
If you are further down the path, you may have lost your way. You may have a good life, but you can’t quite figure out how to make it GREAT. You feel in your heart that there should be more, but you can’t quite figure out how to find the happy, meaningful life you dreamed of.
The dream of your perfect life is something that probably started when you were very little. You knew what you wanted and what would make you happy. You were excited to grow up and get there.
Your dream might have been to find a loving partner to go through life with. You’d meet, fall madly in love and make a beautiful home. You’d have a cat. And a dog. And some kids of your own.
You might have imagined your ideal career – deeply satisfying and well paid. You’d be the president or a pilot. You’d be a vet, a doctor or an environmental lawyer. Perhaps something heroic like a fire fighter or a soldier. Or a world famous model, actor, artist or rock star. Perhaps you’d be a farmer or an archeologist. You’d design runway collections. For sure, you’d write a best-selling book.
You might have planned trips you would take to exotic places. Or the cars you would drive. You’d have nice things. You’d be happy. Everyone said you could be whatever you wanted to be, and you believed them.
Unfortunately, there were probably a lot of things that were omitted from your childhood dream of life. How about eating right, exercising to stay healthy, and figuring how to pay your mortgage on time? Probably not! What about the perils of inconsiderate neighbors, working a dead end job, dealing with insufferable people, or managing churlish children or a nagging spouse? Was working in retail or customer service on your radar? How about getting laid off, getting sick, or finding that you have a chemical imbalance or addictive tendencies? I’ll bet you didn’t dream about getting divorced, suffering an abusive relationship, finding yourself single, or having a loved one die.
For sure, all of that would have been a real downer. But, as we all know, ‘life’ happens and it doesn’t take long for the shine to get rubbed off the dream we all have of the good life.
Right after school or college, most of us bounce into the world full of enthusiasm and gratitude for our first paycheck. Life is GOOD. We party. We make friends. We make mistakes, but we jump right up and keep going because we’re living the dream, aren’t we? We’re forging ahead, making connections, living large, and thinking big.
And then, somewhere in our late-20s and early 30s , while we’re super busy building a career, a family, a home, or all three, we forget to pay attention to the fundamental elements of what makes us truly happy. We’re so busy chasing the dream of the ‘good life’ that we lose sight of ourselves.
The loss is ever so gradual. First the fun gets sidelined. It makes an appearance at weekends and holidays, but in between there are 5 days of sweat and toil, long commutes, housework, laundry and groceries to contend with. There are too many commitments to meet, and never enough time. Everyone is rushing, and we stop making time for exercise and getting outdoors. We get short tempered because we don’t have time to waste. We get bent out of shape on every level.
To deal with all that, we begin to numb ourselves to reality. We may overeat, drink too much, sleep too little or stress out a LOT. We may suck down caffeine to stay awake, but that makes the stress and sleep even worse. So we might take pills. We may watch way too much TV, waste time with electronics and wishful thinking and then look for excuses to justify being no further ahead with achieving that dream of the good life. Next, we may blame others.
We may blame our jobs for stressing us out. We may comfort eat, then blame highly processed, packaged food for making us fat. We may use being overweight and out of shape as an excuse for not exercising. Not exercising and eating right leads us to an epidemic of diabetes and heart disease. Unaffordable health care means we don’t take preventative steps to safeguard our health. We may feel bad physically, so to make ourselves feel better we may buy things we don’t need and can’t afford (like the exercise bike that is now used as a clothes horse). Buying into the ‘good life’ gets us into debt and then we can’t pay our bills. And that makes us stressed about our jobs, so we comfort eat……
If you are stuck somewhere in that vicious circle, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is no reason you need to be sick, tired, unhappy or dissatisfied with your life any more.
Advertisers may indeed spend billions selling us their version of the ‘good life’ but we forget that we have a choice about how we design our lives. We don’t have to buy into a life that is not making us feel happy and fulfilled. We can take control and make different decisions from the ones we’ve been making. Ones that make us happy! We can plan our life – at any age – to be truly, madly and deeply satisfying. All it takes is a solid grasp of what we need to do to achieve that. And then….do it!
As you know, there are no get-rich-quick schemes that provide success and happiness. There are no easy answers or miracle pills to undo what has already happened. There are also no golden tickets or free passes that will make your dream life a reality.
There is only you, and the real desire to be more, stress less and live well.
If you are interested in learning how to achieve that, why not consider using a personal coach? To learn more about coaching, and how it works, visit this page.