Tag Archives | Happiness

Why You Need to Make a Life Plan

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Do you have a life plan? Have you ever thought about how to make a life plan? Most people haven’t, but they should.

We are not talking about a 50-page business plan with maps and checklists. A life plan is really just meant to be general summary of where you are now in all the areas that matter to you, where you want to improve and what you’d like your life to look like in the future.

Don’t be scared off by the title. It may sound ominous, but creating a life plan does not need to be a difficult or lengthy process. It’s worth an hour to get the life we want, instead of chasing the wrong things and working hard, only to find that we have been following the wrong path.

How would you rate your life? – Are you satisfied with the way your life is right now? Somewhat satisfied? Not at all satisfied? The answer is for your eyes only. No one else needs to know. Be honest.

What is going on in your life now? – Briefly summarize the current state of your life. Consider your health, career, relationships, finances, spirituality, and emotional well-being. Add any other areas of life that are important to you. Don’t take too much time with this. Just write down what your life is like right now.

What makes you happy? – Think about what you enjoy. Think about things that are going well in your life. Include activities, people, and situations that bring you joy, satisfaction, or just make you laugh.

What are the happiness drains? – Pinpoint the drains on your energy and happiness.Determine what people, behaviors, choices or situations cause stress, anxiety, or a negative mood. We all have life toxins; people or things that suck the life out of us like vampires draining our life force.

What isn’t working in your life? – Think about where you want to improve. Identify your obstacles to living a fulfilling and happy life. Consider the lingering challenges in your life; health, fitness, weight, lack of organization, an unsatisfying or dead-end job, a difficult or damaging relationship. Perhaps, you simply need to manage your stress better, get more balance, or just learn to laugh again.

What would your ideal life look like? – Describe in detail what kind of life would truly make you happy to get out of bed in the morning. Describe what you would be doing, whom you would be with, and how you would be feeling. Be honest and be clear. It’s important to be really clear about what you really want in your future.

What do you need to do to get that life? – Think about what needs to happen for you to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. It doesn’t have to be a detailed action plan right now, just some general goals or ideas to work toward. You can get more detailed later, but you need to define a target. Consider what habits you’d like to adopt or whatways you might change your attitude or environment.

More food for thought

What do you really want to accomplish in this life?

What kind of person do you want to be?

What is most important to you in life?

Why do you want whatever it is that you want?

How would you like to be remembered?

What will your life be like if you never change the way it is right now?

Post originally written for lifehack.org

Photo by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³

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10 Simple Ways to Find Balance and Get Your Life Back

1balanceLife balance seems to be the topic on everyone’s mind of late. We have discovered that maintaining a healthy life balance is not only essential for happiness and well-being; it can be a tremendous boost to your productivity and career or business success as well. A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in a meaningful way.

The big question is…What does life balance really mean? What would a balanced life look like to us? And most importantly, how do we go about achieving it in the midst of our crazy schedules?

There are steps you can take to change what isn’t working and get back some control and balance in your life. And once you start seeing results you’ll be better equipped to maintain that new-found equilibrium. The key is not to try to change everything at once, but to make small adjustments over time to determine what works for you. Eventually you will have a whole new set of positive life habits and you’ll never look back!

  • Turn it off – Disconnect on the weekend. I hear the excuses already, but try it, at least for one day or even a few hours each night. Put the phone down and turn off the computer. Give your work brain a rest. Bonus: Spend the extra time actually interacting with your family and friends!
  • Trim, trim, trim – It’s a given that if your life is overflowing you will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all. It’s just not possible. Say no to everything that is either not essential or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. Be ruthless!
  • Pay attention to your health – We hear this over and over again, but usually only give it lip service. We know what we need to do, but it isn’t a priority until we have a health crisis. Our health really does affect the quality of our lives and our work. We are far more productive and happier when we get enough sleep, eat a little healthier and fit in some type of activity.
  • Minimize toxins– By that I don’t mean chemicals (though that might help too.) Minimize the negative influences around you. Avoid toxic people (complainers, whiners, poor attitudes.) If you can’t completely avoid them, at least minimize contact and tune them out as much as you can. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, can-do people whenever possible
  • Spend time alone – Making time for you is probably the hardest thing to do for the typical overworked and overwhelmed person, but it is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness and encouraging creativity. Some things to try; meditate, write, sketch, do some yoga or simply sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. You can do it!
  • Relationships do matter – Set aside quality time with your family and friends. Don’t just sit in front of the television, really connect and pay attention to those you care about. Make a date with your significant other, have coffee with a friend, play a game with a child. Really get to know the people around you.
  • Treat yourself– Get a pedicure or a facial. Better yet, schedule a massage. It doesn’t need to be costly; a glass of wine, your favorite coffee or tea, a delightfully scented candle or beautiful flowers will make a huge impact.
  • Explore the world - Take a walk and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Take a new route, visit a new town or try being a tourist in your own. Attend a local performance, play amateur photographer or go to the park and watch children play. They really know how to enjoy life!
  • Expand your awareness – Take a class, learn to paint or try something new that you’ve always wanted to learn. Read a book that sparks your interest or try listening to uplifting music. Find what interests you.
  • Remember fun – Laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor, subscribe to a daily joke or get a tear-off calendar. Nothing makes the feel better as fast as a good old-fashioned belly laugh.

This post originally written for Lifehack.org

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Why We Need to Learn to Thrive Again

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Why do people always say that time heals? I’m not so sure it does…

I have been thinking lately about the nature of loss and healing that all of us must go through at some point in our lives. Sadly many times for most of us.

In my case, it is the anniversary of a central figure in my life that precipitates this introspection and gives rise to the philosopher in me.  But it doesn’t have to mean the death of someone we care about; there are many other causes of pain and loss.

I’ve found rather that time gives us the space and perspective to learn how to deal with loss in a healthier way and to be able to adjust to a new reality.

While the pain doesn’t really go away, we learn how to be happy again despite… or maybe because of… the hole that remains in our heart.

Aided by the balm of the memories that survive in and around our loss we are, (hopefully,) able to achieve a new ‘normal’ where both pain and joy can coexist peacefully within us.

I believe, at least in my experience of it, that when we can get to that place where we can accept, acknowledge, adjust and thrive once again, then I suppose we can call ourselves ‘healed.’

The hardest part may be coming to the realization that healing does not mean putting our life back to the way it was ‘before.’ Rather, it means putting our life back together again ‘after.’

Until we come to understand this, we may never truly be fully functional again. Resilience I believe holds the key to a full and satisfying life.

Surviving is not enough; thriving should be our goal if we intend to live a good life.

How do you deal with loss? Do you consider yourself resilient?

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Happiness is…Reconnecting With Childhood

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My personal ‘Joy Coach’

Funny how something simple and innocuous as a morning at the park can lead to a completely unexpected revelation. Probably should have been a Duh! But sometimes I can be slow to see and even slower to adopt…

Childhood – a good one anyway – can be full of tiny thrilling moments of uncomplicated spontaneous happiness.

(Feel free to Tweet that)

Children experience this with no thought, no coaching, no planning and usually no decision-making.

They just instinctively gravitate to those things and experiences that make them feel happy. And maybe even more importantly, they seem to throw themselves into the experience revelling in the delight and joy of  it with none of the accompanying guilt and analysis that we adults seem to be plagued with.

So, happiness may be closer than we think. Just a smidgen of childhood delight away.

Think back to those tiny delights, moments of pure unadulterated joy.

Sliding… or swinging in the park

A drippy ice cream cone…even better a red popsicle

Throwing a frisbee…dog optional

Dig out a hula hoop or pogo stick

Lying on a blanket to watch the stars…name the constellations if you can remember any

Play one of those favorite old lawn games…I always got out in kickball, was so loud everyone could hear me coming in Kick the Can, but had a mean badminton serve…

Blow bubbles…borrow a child companion if you must

 

If you can’t remember that far back just watch some children play for inspiration. Or get your own personal joy coach as I did above…

But… It seems too easy… It can’t really work…It’s just silly

Well, yeah. That’s the whole point. We’ve lost the ability to be silly, to relish the moment in an unscripted way with no agenda other than pure joy.

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A Better Career Goal: Happiness

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There are two ways of being happy– either diminish your wants or expand your means.

It’s our natural instinct to want to be happy. But remember, happiness is not merely a destination, but a path we take through the journey of life. No one else can make you happy. Only you can do that.

A famous saying…though I have no idea who said it…Action may not always bring happiness but there is no happiness without action.

Make yourself happy first, your family second.

If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.

If you want happiness for a day, go on picnic.

If you want happiness for a week, go on a vacation.

If you want happiness for month, get married.

If you want happiness for a year, inherit wealth.

If you want, happiness for lifetime learn to love what you do for living.

Feel free to substitute in whatever makes you happy, but the point is what you do for work and how happy you are doing it has a huge impact on your overall level of happiness…and health.

Notice though…that it says “learn to love what you do for a living.” you may not start out loving it or be able to choose to work at something you love, but try to learn to love what you do as much as you can.

How have you learned to love your job? Or do you hate it…

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