Unless you effectively address ALL three parts of the Happiness Puzzle it may be difficult for you to achieve your highest level of happiness. How do you score in each of the three key parts?
Piece 1: Past Programming
Here is a question for you. How effective and efficient would your computer be running if you were still using Microsoft Office 1.0 (from 1990) instead of Microsoft Office 2011? Pretty obvious isn’t it. Yet many of us are actually still using old beliefs, thinking patterns and habits we learned decades ago.
We need to challenge our beliefs, our habitual thinking and our reactive patterns of behaviour. Firstly, we need to realise something is not a FACT unless it is 100% true, 100% of the time, for 100% of people. Our beliefs are not facts; just useful tools until we find something better.
So here is the advice I give all my clients:
- Get clear about what beliefs and patterns are running your life. This requires you to become more conscious by slowing down and paying attention. The better you know them the harder it is for them to slip past you.
- Pay particular attention to the ones not serving you (or causing you pain) and ask yourself if they are current FACTS or outdated programs? Challenge the ‘stories’ you are telling yourself.
- Choose a better program. A better belief. A better way of thinking. A better way of ‘responding’.
- Catch yourself out when you play the old programs. Don’t beat yourself up. Just say ‘Looks like I am playing my worry pattern again’ for example. One of my worst habitual beliefs are telling myself ‘I never have enough time’ or ‘Don’t make a mistake’ or ‘I better not miss something’. I have associated those beliefs with pain and stress. So when I say them I become stressed – which definitely DOES NOT serve me.
- When these old beliefs and pattens come up, call their bluff (they are not true or a part of you) and replace them with a much better program. Like…’I always have enough time to do what is most important’.
When you replace or remove old programs and beliefs and habitual thinking, you liberate great amounts of energy and turn off unhealthy stress. Our beliefs either hold us back or propel us forward into our true potential.
Piece 2: Meaning-FULL Life
The happiness research is pretty clear on this one. The more meaning-full your life is, the happier you will be.
Meaning is determined by what we decide to focus our attention on and move towards. Another word for this is our ‘GOALS’. Are our goals meaningful? Do our goals help us to feel the way we want to feel? Do our goals make a real difference in our lives and the lives of others? Do our goals allow us to bring out our best? Do our goals light us up? Do our goals make for a great journey? Do they make our hearts sing?
We have the ability to choose our goals (unless we are still highly influenced by parents, partners, siblings, friends, etc.). Ooops. Hope that’s not you. 😉 So we have the ability to choose goals that are meaningful. That are aligned with our calling. That make a difference in our lives and others. That light us up.
So here is my advice:
- Take the time to get REALLY CLEAR about your goals and what you want. These goals will significantly affect your happiness and entire life, so get help getting clear if you need it (you know where to find me ;-)).
- Make sure you want these goals for all the right reasons. If they don’t make your heart sing (even a little bit), you have missed the mark.
- Move in the direction of them.
Your happiness is entangled with your goals. And not just achieving them; but the entire journey to reaching them. Earl Nightingale says, ‘Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.’
Piece 3: Your Daily Habits
We create our lives moment to moment. A great life is the sum of a lot of great days. And great days are more likely to happen if we set ourselves up for success. If we CHOOSE how we will show up. If we remain CONSCIOUS of how we are thinking, feeling and behaving. If we FOCUS our effort on the Goals that are most meaning-full.
See your day as an elite athlete would see a professional game. The professional does things before the game, when the game starts, during the game and even after the game.
Here are some ways you can become an ELITE Player in the game of life (which is limited to right now and today):
- Develop an effective morning routine to start your day (like an athlete warming up their body, activating and focusing their mind, and getting ready to step into the zone).
- Get awesome nutrients and hydrate you body before you step into your official day (I recommend a daily green drink).
- Get 100% clear about what you want to achieve today, based on the bigger picture. This does not need to be completely rigid, but if done well, is a damn good guide. This one act is shaping your entire life.
- Put great food and fluids into your body through the day.
- Take mini rest breaks through the day to rejuvenate.
- At half-time (maybe after lunch) come up for air and confirm if you are still on track or if you need to modify anything. Make the necessary adjustments and then get back into play.
- Find joy in what you do. Find the ‘flow’ like that athlete does. Put yourself into the zone. Limit distractions. Remain clear of the objective. Trust your instincts. Push your boundaries (just a 2% improvement each day means HUGE improvements over a year).
We need to CONSCIOUSLY connect with and steer our days. Not in a rigid way, but in flow sort of way.
Bringing it all together to Increase Your Happiness
Happiness and a meaningful life are about understanding what is holding us back. What programs are we playing that are not serving us and sucking the energy out of us? When we change the story in our minds (change our mindset) it changes out external reality. Dr Joe Dispenza says ‘if you change your personality you change your personal reality‘.
Doing the goal setting thing is not a fluffy new-age load of baloney. Your goals become your North Star for life. They shape you. Take you to new heights. Bring out your best. Allow you to create something meaningful and are a key ingredient to the level of happiness you experience.
Being a conscious co-creator of your day just makes sense. Your successful life and happiness is greatly influenced by the daily choices you make. As Maslow said, each moment ‘you will either step forward into growth, or backward into safety‘. Life is unfulfilliing without growth.