With New Year’s Resolutions safely behind us, it’s time to address the motivation behind why we desire change. Happiness.
More often than not, when we want to change something it’s often because we don’t quite feel happy.
We are tired or overweight so we want to lose weight and feel better. In other words we want to feel HAPPY about ourselves.
We are frustrated and discouraged at work, so we want to find a new job that pays us more. In other words, we want to feel HAPPY about our life’s work.
We are disappointed and lonely because we are single or in an unhealthy relationship and want to find “the one” or no longer be with “the wrong one.” In other words, we want to feel HAPPY about our relationships.
I could go on, but you get the picture. Happiness (or lack thereof) is a motivating factor for why we desire change. Note that I didn’t say it’s a motivating factor for actual change…because it’s not.
Here’s the rub: we desire to be happy, but happiness as a goal in and of itself is never achievable. Why? Because Happiness is a byproduct of something else. It’s the side effect of living your life with passion, purpose and joy.
Happiness is what happens when you make deliberate decisions to live in alignment with your values and goals, with who you are deep inside. Whether your goal is to be a cheese farmer or a banker, it’s the same thing. Happiness is what happens when you stop pursuing happiness and start living from your heart, your passion.
I’d like to say it’s a Catch 22, but that implies some circularity of thought. It doesn’t. If you want to create change, because you’re unhappy, don’t set happiness as the target. Set the target as something tangible, accessible, and aligned with your values. Happiness will then be the result of working toward your goal.