Life is such a beautiful thing…and yet so often people aren’t happy in their day-to-day lives. Why is this? Is everything in their lives that awful? Is their boss mean? Usually it isn’t just as simple as one thing to make you unhappy. More often than not, its multiple things, sometimes as small as they may be. But they add up and make life seem hard to enjoy.
It is hard to admit to yourself, but first things first…You need to realize this is YOUR life, no one else’s. If you’re not happy, change it. Whatever that may be, however big or small of a change that is. Make the change! You will thank yourself later.
At the end of the day, the only person you are responsible for pleasing is yourself. Change is hard, and sometimes not popular. But you need to worry about you before Mary Joe. It’s okay if people don’t understand. It’s okay if they think you’re going through a quarter-life crisis…If they care about you and support you, they’ll stick around.
Okay put on the brakes real quick…don’t go quit your job and sell all your possessions to travel the world quite yet. If you’re committed to living your life the way you want, start today, make the change. Working through these steps will help you get to where you want to be:
1. Make a list of everything that’s weighing you down.
This is the hard part. And you’ll probably feel fairly bummed afterwords. Just remember you can’t make a change if you don’t know what’s making you unhappy. The list can be as short or as long as you want. The point is you want to identify the things that are triggering your inner angry tweeter.
2. Make a LONGER happy list.
What’s a happy list? Well I am so glad you asked! A happy list is you writing down things that make you happy. That you enjoy doing. That give your life a sense of purpose. The trick here is you HAVE to make your happy list at least 1 item longer than however many items you said were weighing you down. So if you had 99 things stressing you out, come up with 100 that give you joy.
3. Where are you now vs. where do you want to be
This is the most crucial step! It’s the decision time. Taking what you have learned about yourself from the “weighing you down list” and the “happy list.” The best way to do this I’ve found is by using a T-chart like this one you can customize on worksheetworks.com. On the left side write down everything that happens in your typical week. This could be school, work, extracurricular, volunteering, family time, anything. This is your “where are you now” section.
Next the right side of the T-chart. Start by closing your eyes. Draw a mental picture of exactly how you would like your life to be in the present day. Be realistic, but dream! If you could completely rebuild your life from the ground up, how would it look. This could be anything from taking down your course load from 8 classes to 5 or taking those ballet classes you’ve always wanted.
4. Drop the unnecessary things.
Up to this point everything you’ve done was to better understand yourself. Now that you do it’s time to take action. You’ve started to see the what works in your life and what doesn’t. So now make the first move, drop the things that aren’t necessary. You have 168 hours in the week, and if you’re like me and try to fill 150 of them in you’ll get worn out. Maybe that third job you have that you only work 2 days a week really won’t break the bank. Or maybe you don’t really need to be a member in that 5th club you joined freshman year.
Really it’s up to you. If something that takes up a large portion of your life doesn’t contribute to your “where you want to be” list, maybe it’s time to part ways. Friends, clubs, jobs. If it isn’t making you happy why waste your precious time.
5. Make the first step towards change.
Now that you have a little extra time on your hands invest in you! You heard me right, this is you time. Have you always wanted to learn to knit? Start studying another language? Volunteer with animals? Well now is your time. It is important to remember the things and people who make you truly happy, and fill each spare moment with them. That’s what makes life meaningful. Replace something you used to do (and hated) with something you’ve always wanted to try. Something as simple as trying out that soup recipe you’ve had for months. You’re in control of your life, so take that first step.
6. Enjoy life the way you want it!
As my favorite comedian Iliza Shelesinger says, “Enjoy your life!” You deserve it.