Something to think about! – Stop putting restrictions on your Happiness

I have been a nutritional and life coach for the last 19 years.  Having given myself a severe kick up the backside at age 43 to make the necessary changes in my own life.

I had mindlessly eaten for most of my adult life, and either starved myself or binged, depending on whims rather than well thought out decisions.  It was only when I was studying nutrition, that the light went on, that the food on my plate had more purpose, beneficial qualities, and determination to thrive than I did.

That is just one example of how we can drift through life. 

Great at some things, particularly those we enjoy, good at other skills that we have learned along the way and applied to keep us fed, watered and under a roof. But perhaps a bit slapdash when it comes to things that we neither enjoy or feel apply to us, even when they might be essential to our health and survival, such as deciding what food to eat.

The reality is that when we refer to happiness we tend to put the word ‘when’ in front of it.

When I have 10,000 in the bank I will be happy!

When I have lost a stone I will be happy!

When I meet the perfect man I will be happy!

When I have a bestselling novel!

Trouble is that we often find that when we reach what we consider to be that ‘happy’ moment it is not quite as fulfilling as we expected.

Which brings me onto expectations.  We are encouraged today to think big.  Naturally our parents will usually have some plan in place for what they perceive is the right path in life, and their expectations are usually the first that we will succeed or fail to meet or surpass.

This develops a tendency in us to expect certain events and experiences to happen in our lives with quite rigid targets attached.

Great job by 21

Married by 25

Children by 30 

Retired by 40 

Living in paradise by 50!

Apart from those types of targets slipping past very quickly, because our eyes are on the big and triumphant completion dates, we sometimes fail to recognise and celebrate smaller but just as significant milestones along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, having goals and dreams and the commitment to make them happen is terrific.  But you have to insert the smaller steps within your life plan and acknowledge their importance on getting to where you want to be. 

Also be prepared to deviate from the plan when an opportunity presents itself or to leave the plan, and come back to it when circumstances dictate.

I also know from my own experience, and from family, friends and those I have worked with that there can be dreadful times.  Sickness, loss, depression, and a feeling of being out of control. Realistically it can take a huge effort to come back from life’s interventions.

But you have to hold onto as many of the good things in your life as possible, and building a strong support team is essential for those times.  In real terms with family and friends, but also now with the Internet. The relationships you form with like-minded positive people, who might be experiencing the same setbacks, but who can positively guide you through it.

I noticed this during the last few weeks as three hurricanes battered islands in the Caribbean and the Florida and eastern coast of America. People reached out on Facebook to voice concern for the safety of the friends they had never met, shared experiences and offered practical advice, and were there to commiserate and to comfort when those affected returned online.

Putting off happiness

Rather than put off happiness until some distant pre-determined date or event, try making a balance sheet of your life at the moment.

On one side place all the benefits in your life including family, loved ones, friends, health, activities, jobs, money etc.  On the other side put the less beneficial – where you think things could be improved – however small.

Then you decide that what you have on the beneficial side makes you ‘happy’ already.

Happiness is not stuck in a rut – in can be increased through several levels until you are ecstatic.  Take the items on your list for improvement, one at a time, decide how you are going to achieve them, make a plan with incremental steps and celebrate each one that you take.

I know it sounds simplistic but over the years I have found that my clients have lost weight much more happily, have viewed their relationships with less expectation and more delight.

They have also discovered that life can surprise you with its ability to help you achieve your dreams in ways that you had not even considered.

Be happy today and enjoy your life and the journey you are on already.  If you live to 90 or 100, you have plenty of time to adjust your plan or take a detour and still achieve your dreams.

Thanks for dropping by today and look forward to your feedback.. Sally

Previous posts in this series can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/something-to-think-about/

 

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69 thoughts on “Something to think about! – Stop putting restrictions on your Happiness

  1. Pingback: Something to think about! – Stop putting restrictions on your Happiness | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. Fantastic article Sally. Your idea of telling people not to put off happiness resonated deeply. We moved to Turkey on little more than a wing and a prayer (Turkey because it was cheap) to get out the rat race and for lots of other sensible reasons… All we ever got out of friends was how they envied us and would love to do what we did but first they needed more money, a better job, a new car, a bigger house… in 10 years, 15 years…
    You are right have a plan..it’s daft not to.. But remember life is here and now and no one knows how long it lasts.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great article Sal. You can bet I’ll be reblogging it when I get a moment to breathe, lol. Love the things we’ll say we do ‘when’. so true! As for the list of what we like, and things we want to change, I’m still working on that. Sometimes obligation keeps things on a list we wish would just vanish. 🙂 ❤

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  4. Boy, is this ever true, Sally! Nicely said, my friend! I think we all do this. I always reach for my goals but am happy right where I am now. But that won’t stop me from doing more. Ha ha! Hugs xx Thanks for sharing your wise advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Something to think about! – Stop putting restrictions on your Happiness | Jemsbooks

  6. A wonderful reminder that happiness is something you can have every day. Happiness right now for me is: My Becca is upstairs having a well-earned sleep, Dante the dog is in the living room, snoozing and I’m working on my laptop with a beautiful cup of coffee to drink. I am truly blessed. xxx

    Liked by 3 people

  7. True words Sally it is the little things which make up the bigger picture …I love it here will I ever go back to the Uk..I have no plans but I suppose it all depends on your health doesn’t it to a point? At the moment i am happy and loving it and discovering new things every day which enrich my life 🙂 xx

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Pingback: Something to think about! – Stop putting restrictions on your Happiness by Sally Cronin | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  9. Pingback: Stop putting restrictions on your Happiness – The Militant Negro™

  10. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – New Cafe Bookstore Feature, Guests and Tea Tree Icecream | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  11. The only benchmark above that matched with my life is “Children by 30.” Actually, it was 30 + 2 days!

    I have a gratitude journal that I write in every day. Also a journal for rants, which I don’t visit often. As you and your commenters have said, “Life’s too short!”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. In my practice of Buddhism there is relative happiness and absolute happiness. Relative is the kind of happiness that occurs momentarily like over a good meal, a bonus, etc. Absolute is the kind that isn’t dependent on transient phenomena. Like you said, a good start comes from a recognition of those benefits and successes against losses. But then the balance sheet isn’t the entire picture either except so far as it offers conviction that one has the power to control what one does with life and isn’t phased by ups and downs. That’s what comes with absolute happiness. Most definitely, associating success at achieving future goals with happiness is a risky proposition at best! Great post, Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Sending huge (((hugs))), Sally! This was such a delightful and reaffirming post. I’ve been true to following my bliss, living a life of gratitude, and letting go of doubts and fears since I turned 39. A remarkable manifestation of joy transpired. Cheers! XO

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Excellent article, Sally! I never thought before about how people often put the word “when” in front of the word “happy,” as though putting it in a future, conditional state of mind… I agree that putting expectations on ourselves to be a certain way by the time we reach, 20, 30, 40, etc., isn’t healthy. Rather than searching for more in the future, let’s smile in the present 🙂 I came here via Debby’s reblog and am so happy I did so!

    Liked by 1 person

I would be delighted to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

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