Why You Should Stop Trying to Make Yourself Happy…

Wait… what?!?! Am I the only one who feels like there is so much content out there lately about how to become happy? With self-care becoming so such a movement (which is awesome!), it seems like there are just so many new things to try and incorporate to make yourself happier. Ie. take a bubble bath, read a book, treat yourself, etc.

Earlier in the week, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, The Ultimate Health Podcast, and they were interviewing Mark Manson. He is the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and Everything is F*cked. Neither of which I have read, but Kenny just brought home Everything is F*cked for me so I am excited to read it once I finish the book I’m working on now! Anyway… on this podcast I heard a really thought provoking idea which was to stop trying to reach that goal of happiness, and instead, try to work toward meaning in your life. Mark Manson was talking about a study where people were asked to rank their happiness over a period of time on a scale of 1-10. The study found that people generally ranked themselves at a 7 on the scale. If something great happened, they might be a 9 or 10 for a few days, but then would return to ranking as a 7. Same with a negative event. So his theory was that no matter what exactly we do everyday, most people are generally pretty happy. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to put so much effort into increasing our ‘happiness’ when we all float through life being pretty happy, regardless. Instead, we should strive to fill our lives with something that we find truly meaningful.

You could watch 5 years of your life go by in a job you tolerate, having an amazing self-care routine, meditating, taking tons of bubble baths, reading all the best books, and treating yourself often. But after that time frame is over, will you feel happy about what you’ve accomplished? Will you feel satisfied with your life? Don’t get me wrong – these things are still important too! But are they actually meaningful to you?

Me & my Harlow girl

This totally struck a cord with me. I have had times where I’ve been unhappy in a certain job or situation, but I feel like I am scared to move onto other opportunities because I question myself – “what if that won’t make me feel happy either?” or “what if I go to school for this for 4 years and then it still doesn’t make me feel happy?”. Its like I have put pressure on myself to find happiness… The idea that I should be striving for meaning instead brings so much clarity! When considering a new opportunity, it might make more sense to look at it as a whole, long-term piece of your life rather than looking at how happy you might feel in that role on any given day. Is it meaningful to you? Will you be proud of what you’ve accomplished?

Anyway…these are just my thoughts of the day! I have been thinking about making some life changes lately.. ie. looking for a new job or going back to school and I really thought that this concept of striving for meaning rather than happiness was super helpful!! Thanks for reading!

Taking Action in Your Life

My personal journey in “self love” started about 6 months ago. Its hard to pinpoint exactly when or how. But basically I have always been interested in improving myself. I’m always making lists of things I want to do or learn or try. But I recognized at this time that I wanted to make a substantial change in my life. I really think a huge inspiration for me was when I started listening to podcasts at work and stumbled across some self love ones and immediately loved them and wanted more!

I found myself listening to these podcasts and basically saying “Yes that’s exactly how I feel!” or “This is exactly what I need to do!!”. So this was a huge source of inspiration for me. The main podcast that sparked this was the Earn Your Happy podcast by Lori Harder. I would say anyone who wants to feel inspired about changing their life should give it a listen! I will admit, sometimes it can be a bit peppy and almost like.. talking a lot without saying much.. If that makes sense! But honestly it is a really great podcast!

So! I found myself totally inspired. I started reading books on Self Help, listening to more and more podcasts, and really doing some work with myself to figure out what changes I wanted to make. And then…. nothing happened!

I’m talking about the rabbit hole of planning and getting ready to make a change… but not having the balls to actually take the first step. For example.. one of the things that kept coming up for me was Meditation. I was reading about it in books and hearing people in interviews talking about how important meditation has been for them. Meditation is a way to basically separate from our thoughts and observe our patterns which can help identify negative patterns and even just take note of what things are coming into our minds. I was excited about meditation but for weeks couldn’t bring myself to actually wake up half an hour earlier and start making it part of my morning routine!

Same with trying a new fitness class. Through self reflection, I realized that I had always really wanted to try a fitness class but I wasn’t doing it because I was letting my fears stop me. I knew this had to change so.. I had been saying for MONTHS that I wanted to try a 9Round or Orangetheory class! But again still not taking that actual step of doing it.

It is one thing to do the work and figure out what changes you want to make in your life. Its awesome to start planning for them, making to do lists, making vision boards, getting ready to begin… as long as you follow that up with action! Planning to change doesn’t create real change. Even if you haven’t perfectly planned out or organized something you want to do, at a certain point – just do it! Messy action is better than no action at all!!