Life is a tapestry and each event is a thread in that tapestry, sometimes the threads will unravel, sometimes they will pull tight, but when you make one small positive change in one area, it will have an effect on the other areas – mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, environmentally and spiritually and make the most beautiful tapestry you have ever seen. It’s a very complex tapestry, but the imperfections are what make it perfect).
So let’s explore some motivations for happiness and change to make your life tapestry a wonderful one…
None of us can deny that change is hard.
It’s important to acknowledge that, so when you start kind of hitting that wall going yeah I thought I wanted to do this but um no this is exhausting you have something to look back at or something to keep you going and moving forward.
What does happiness look like to you?
That is the first question we need to ask ourselves.
Because it’s important to know this, so when you get there you can say ”yes, I achieved my goal”.
Imagine this scenario…
You are depressed and go to see a counselor and they want to treat you and you tell them that you are depressed and your goal is not to be depressed anymore.
What does that look like?
What does not being depressed look like, feel like?
How is the counselor going to know when your depression is gone so they can terminate treatment?
When you start defining what happiness looks like, then a goal begins to form.
We’re not gonna be happy all the time that’s life, life is not a hundred percent giddiness, so emotionally I will be happy 85% of the time or 95 percent of the time and look for other emotions too.
For example, aim to be more compassionate you’ll be maybe more loving.
Ask yourself what emotions do you want to feel more of and if you need some help – find an emotion worksheet online or even go to something like Facebook where they have all the little emoticons and go through what they have identified for different feelings and identify the ones you want to feel more of excited that’s one or maybe curious, I like that.
When you are anxious or depressed you feel it physically. You’re exhausted, you may have tummy troubles, you may have headaches, you may have muscle tension.
So let’s flip that when you’re physically happy and healthy what is that going to feel like?
When I’m happy, I am energetic I’m able to help other people I’m ‘fill in the blank’ and my relationships will improve when I am happy how does it show?
Maybe you’ll spend more time with your kids, maybe you’ll be more patient.
What is that going to look like for you?
Get the goal out here that you’re working towards.
Realistically, you’re not going to achieve it overnight. You’re probably not going to achieve it in a month or two months or even three months.
You will need to give yourself time and pace it. If you are clinically depressed right now it’s gonna take you a little bit longer because you need to start getting your energy back to start getting that mojo back a little bit.
Progress is not perfect so you want to be a little bit better tomorrow than you were today and recognize like I said life is not a hundred percent giddy stuff.
You’re going to have bad days even when you’re happy.
You’re going to have bad days, so if you’re making steady progress and you have a bad day one day just accept it as it is.
This is gonna be that bad day for you. Don’t dwell on it, just figure out what you can do to improve the next moment and get back on track.
I know that’s easier said than done once you put all that out there you may look at what you where you’re starting and where you want to go and think oh my gosh I got a lot of work to do.
It can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be.
Break it down into small steps
We want to break it down into small steps, so don’t look at six months from now, don’t look at three months from now.
You know we set that goal out there so we knew kind of where we were going, but think about it like a trip and we’re going to imagine that you’re going to hike across the country so you’re not gonna get from Virginia to California in a week, but you need to know that you’re going to California.
You kind of know which way to start heading, now we want to figure out today how far am I gonna walk and what is my path for today that keeps me heading toward California and how much can I get accomplished today.
We consider all the factors like if it’s supposed to rain, whether you’re gonna have to walk on back roads to avoid interstates or whatever the case may be, but every day is going to have its unique path and its unique challenges.
You want to keep in mind your ultimate goal of getting to California, but remember that each day is going to be a little bit different so to keep your motivation because some days you’re gonna wake up and you’re gonna think California is a really long way away and happiness may seem almost out of reach at some points.
So it’s important for you to go back to your motivation.
Determine for yourself emotionally how can I stay motivated, how can I stay excited and happy and curious about what today holds and about what I can accomplish for today.
Make it a game if that does it for you.
I’m really competitive, so emotionally I keep myself going by making a game out of it.
Making sure I do a little bit more today, than I did yesterday or a little bit better today than I did yesterday if I’m doing something with someone else we may have competitions.
What is it that makes you happy?
How can you stay excited about your goals?
Let’s say you are trying to improve your nutrition. You may not always be happy about that so what are some ways you can get happy about it?
You could learn new recipes.
I learned a great recipe the other day for where basically you dehydrate slices of zucchini to use for noodles instead of noodles so that increased my creativity and my excitement to try it and figure out if I get my kids to eat it.
Find whatever works for you mentally.
- What are your sources of motivation?
- What is it that makes you want to do this?
- What are all the logical reasons you want to do this?
- What are all the logical reasons you need to do this physically?
- What are your sources of motivation?
- Is it going to help you feel better?
- Is it going to help you look better?
- Is it going to help you live longer?
- Is it going to help you have more energy?
- What do you expect to get out of this?
- How can you keep your motivation going?
- Physically getting enough sleep is one of them, but what else keeps you going?
Let’s stick with the nutrition example, if you’re trying to improve your nutrition, as part of your recovery program, physically you may still want to occasionally have that taste of chocolate or chocolates my thing, so I work in brownies and I make a great black bean brownie by the way.
But anyhow I tell you don’t necessarily even have to make it a healthy treat you can indulge every once in a while, so making sure that you have those treats and those rewards out there for you that are going to help you feel better physically and not deprived and keep your motivation going because if you feel deprived you’re probably not going to stay motivated for very long.
Socially is one of the greatest sources and motivation for some people.
If you tell someone then you’re a little bit more accountable to them.
Try to buddy up with someone so you share the same goal then you’re going to keep yourself keep each other on track a little bit more.
Find cheerleaders, but be your own best cheerleader don’t rely on somebody to be your cheerleader.
To get your butt to do whatever it is to be your own best cheerleader and it feels a little weird sometimes, but remember to just kind of coach yourself be your own best coach.
People use financial motivation, because if they hire a coach or a trainer or a therapist, they are paying somebody then that keeps their motivation going because they don’t want to feel like they’re throwing money away.
Environmentally, here is another thing area that’s ripe for helping you stay motivated.
What can you put in your environment to keep you motivated to working towards happiness?
Number one, try to create an environment that’s relaxing and happy.
The first step is to get rid of all the depressing stuff and try to have things on your walls and around that make you smile whatever that is for you.
Open the windows to get plenty of daylight.
Put things in your environment to remind you to do the tasks that are on your recovery plan.
So create reminders in your cell phone, keep a list of reasons that you want to keep doing this.
Put information on your mobile device so you can refer to it occasionally.
Put things in your environment that remind you why it’s important to keep doing this even when the going gets tough.
Other places you can put reminders are on your bathroom mirror.
A lot of times we do something called habituation and you get used to it being there, so you need to change where your sticky notes are but put sticky notes out occasionally and change where they are to remind you of all the reasons that living happier is a priority for you.
If one of the reasons, for example, is to be more emotionally available for your kids you can have a little album of pictures of your children on your mobile device that you can look at every day, or maybe have it as your screensaver, so it reminds you every time you open your phone that this is why I’m doing this.
Happiness is your end goal and change is difficult and your motivation is gonna sometimes get low.
Think about all those people who make New Year’s resolutions – January 1st they are in the gym, January 2nd they’re in the gym, January 3rd, and then about half of them are in the gym by the end of January.
Most people have dropped off because it got painful and life got in the way.
Happiness has to be a priority and you have to stay motivated to do those things that are going to make you happy, which means keeping your motivation up.
When you start not wanting to do it figure out why you don’t want to do it and address that by identifying and reviewing your reasons or motivations for change. This will keep you heading in a positive direction so all the stuff that we just talked about write it down let’s go back to that for a second so your sources of motivation – all the things that are the reasons that you want to change.
Keep those reasons on a sheet of paper or six! Maybe you have lots of reasons you want to change and that way you can review it when you start feeling like you no it’s not worth the effort.
You can also keep a journal or a log if you’re not a journal type of person of the progress that you make – just like if you go on a diet or start trying to change your nutrition you keep a food journal or a weight journal keep a journal of your happiness, so you see that you’re making progress.
You not be deliriously happy in three weeks, but are you a little bit happier, a little bit more into the goal of recovery?
Happiness is about progress not perfection.
Remember that you’re never going to be deliriously happy a hundred percent of the time, so figuring out how to deal with those unhappy moments is part of the recovery process.
Right now what I want you to focus on is identifying what you do that makes you feel better now even if just for an hour and start doing that more often so you can start getting the energy to make the changes you need to be happier more often.
These are the baby steps to a happier you.
Good luck <3