Happiness is always … just around the corner. We assure ourselves that once we get “there,” then we will be happy.
Does this sound familiar? I live this challenge every day. I struggle to live in the present and enjoy the moments that matter, the moments that are guaranteed, the moments that are happening.
Whether we’re driven by anxiety, stress, or even excitement, I imagine many of us look to the future to “get by.” I currently find myself in this situation, anxiously waiting for many new and exciting events to pass. Graduating with my master’s degree, a wedding, the end of a long-distance relationship, a house to live in, new job opportunities, the list goes on…
The bad news? The list will always go on. Once I “reach” my happiness of receiving my diploma, getting married, living with my husband, moving into my new house, and getting a new job… I will discover new goals and events. Something new will always come up because that is life.
Sitting and waiting out the storm is an awful waste of time. Trust me, I have wasted a lot of time. (I can blame Netflix for some of that). So, can I be happy now? Yes, I can and so can you.
In addition to the women at Accountable in Action, my fiancé is my unofficial accountability ally. In one of my recent “I’m just not motivated about life right now” moments, he told me to find something new to be motivated about. Try a painting class or buy a cookbook and cook a new dinner each week were among his suggestions. I began to brainstorm other ideas – start a new book, volunteer, get certified in a fitness class – and developed these suggestions:
1. Find something that demands your full attention in the present. This could be taking a yoga class, joining a book club, running, taking a community college course to learn something you’ve always wanted to, drawing, painting, or even coloring in a coloring book.
2. Don’t pick a hobby or activity for the future. Pick one … just because! You never know: your next supervisor or job lead could be in that yoga class or book club. Your future happiness will be influenced by your current happiness.
3. Make time for people. The one thing that fills me with instant joy are the people in my life. Sure, you can look ahead to the friends yet to come, but cherish the ones who have been there and continue to be there now.
4. Remind yourself: happiness is a direction, not a destination.
I am a dreamer, and in most cases, my imagination serves me and my teams well. My head can reach the clouds, but my feet are not always planted on the ground. So, this will be a challenge for me, but one I will gladly take on to stay grounded, stay motivated, and stay present.
To hold yourself accountable, consider joining thousands of people around the globe in #100HappyDays. Challenge yourself to be happy 100 days in a row by sharing a picture of your happiness each day. I’m currently participating in this challenge and I enjoy actively appreciating or creating my happiness.
So, cheers to the now and cheers to staying on this side of happiness.
Sheri Lehman is a forever student passionate about education, leadership, and social media and technology. She currently serves as the social media specialist at Chapman University and moonlights as a master’s student in Leadership Development – exploring the process in which leadership is learned and practiced locally, globally, and digitally. Find more of her favorites and findings on her blog (www.sherilehman.com) or on Twitter @SheriLehman.