In today’s fast-paced, pressure-filled world, it is so easy to lose sight of what is important to us and what makes us happy. The good news is there is something we can do about it! Here I propose a simple equation to redefining your life and increasing your happiness.
Define happiness for yourself
Happiness, like life, is a journey, not a destination. However, if you don’t know where you want to go, it is hard to know how to get there or when you have arrived. In other words, if you don’t know what will make you happy, how will get happy? To be happy, you need to know your values and live in line with them.
According to the oxford dictionary, the definition of a value is “The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something”. In simple English, values are those things in life that are meaningful to us. They can be things like family, exercise, spirituality, recycling, anything really. You need to sit down and think about these are for you. I encourage you to write them down on a piece of paper. Choose your top 5 and place them in order of importance to you. Although this is not an easy exercise, it is a necessary one so take the time you need to do it.
Live in line with your values
Now that you have defined your fundamental values, make life choices and decisions in line with these. For example, if spending time with your family is important to you, but your 60 hour work-week is getting in the way of you being able to do this, consider working less. And for those of you thinking “I can’t possibly do that” as you read that sentence, your wrong. The beauty of being human is that we have the power to choose. If you choose a 60 hour work week, you are NOT choosing spending time with your family. Meet with your boss, see if you can decrease your work load to allow you to have a regular work week. The boss is not understanding? Start looking for a new employer. There will be compromises to make.
Another example, if exercise is something you value but you can’t seem to find time between work, preparing supper, helping the kids with their homework. Schedule it in! Plan for your partner to take care of the kids’ homework one night so you can get your 30 minute jog in. Everyone will benefit! You, your kids and your husband/wife because they have a happy and heathier mom/dad and wife/husband.
Make choices in line with your values
You will notice that once you have clearly defined your values and put a bit of structure in place to live in line with these, the rest will happen almost automatically. Your ability to make decisions will be easier as you will see things more clearly. Should you get whisked up in the tornado of life and begin to lose your focus, refer back to your list of values. It will help you re-focus on what is important to you and move in the right direction.
Re-evaluate your values regularly
Consider taking a moment every now and then to redefine your values. You are continuously evolving so what is important to you today may change over the years. Personally I like to do this exercise once a year.
So there you have it. This is my recipe for happiness. It works for me and I hope it will work for you too!