The summer solstice in England has just passed and we are about to enter the second half of the year. That means it’s time to do a mid-year happiness check. Usually, I’d get you to check in on your goals, your learnings, and your achievements of the first half of the year, and use them as inspiration for the second half. However, this time around, I’m asking you to do something different. Why? Because happiness is misleadingly becoming tied to goals.
Now don’t get me wrong here. I think goals are great. They give you purpose, they give you conviction, and they get you clear on what you need to do to move forward. However, whether you reach those goals or not shouldn’t dictate whether you feel happy or not. This is one of the most common misconceptions around what happiness is. Somewhere in the past someone said happiness is reaching your goals and that’s the end of it. Yes, of course reaching your goals makes you feel happy because you are proud of your achievements – and you totally should be! But – what you shouldn’t do is say that you can ONLY be happy IF you reach your goals. That’s a recipe for disaster and one that not only creates unnecessary delays in your happiness but actually risks you finding it at all.
This is something I’ve personally struggled with over the last few weeks. I saw the mid-year point coming up and I looked at it terrified. Where has the first six months gone? What have I actually achieved? Why didn’t I notice the time go by? Why didn’t I also get X, Y, and Z done? When I look at my past six months, I remember the key incidents, like turning 30, getting engaged to my love, and having a fantastic time doing a talk for BMW Group. The rest of it is a little bit of a blur. Yet, when I sit down and look back on my calendar and the things I’ve achieved, I wonder how on earth I’ve done it all in six months. Still, somehow, I feel like I should have done more. That’s when I realised I don’t want to focus on to-dos or goals in the next six months. Instead, I want to focus on something that will make me enjoy and appreciate every step of my journey.
This new focus is a great reminder that happiness is not about reaching your goals but about enjoying your path towards them – regardless of whether that path leads you there or not. That’s why today I will share three questions that I will focus the rest of my year around – and I urge you to do the same. They will help you to refocus your mind on the journey, as well as help you to take the actions that will make the journey more enjoyable.
1. How do you want to feel?
What do you want to feel more of? Sometimes you get so bogged down in the details of your goals and your action plans that you forget to think about how you want to go about reaching them. I’m all up for fighting though resistance and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, but I’m not an advocate for months of suffering. There are multiple paths to your goals and your dreams, so make sure you are taking the path that makes you feel good.
When it comes to me, I definitely want to feel more freedom and more love. Lately, as I’ve been working on my latest online course and my new book (coming very soon!!!), I’ve been feeling incredibly free. I want to keep this sense of freedom because it puts me into my creative genius zone and it makes me feel like I’m flying. Secondly, I want to feel more self-love. I’ve found myself being a bit overly critical of myself over the last few weeks and I want to change this back to the positive, loving place I’m usually at.
2. What has helped you to feel like this before?
What makes you feel the feeling you want to feel? Identifying thoughts, practices, people, or even places that help you to feel what you want to feel will help you to go back to them to make more of that feeling happen.
For example, I’ve been feeling free when I write way from my office. That clearly fuels my creativity right now so I want to commit to writing a day a week out of my office. Another thing that helps me to feel free is to ride my horse Mickey. He is one the most fulfilling things I do and I feel so un-judged, so connected, and so light when I’m on him. When it comes to self-love, I find this easiest to achieve through physical practices like yoga, power walking, and getting a massage. Getting compliments from my fiancé also helps but I don’t want to rely on them for self-love. I need to get better at complimenting myself.
3. What else can you do to feel more of this?
What actions, practices, or habits can you add into your life to feel more of what you want to feel?
I believe meditation – even ten minutes a day – will help both my sense of freedom and my self-love. I also believe a gratitude practice, which I’ve just restarted, will fuel the self-love I need to reconnect with. I will also make a conscious effort to look for things to compliment when I look at myself in the mirror. Last but not least, I will protect my freedom by introducing a standard response anytime someone gives me advice I haven’t asked for and am not interested in receiving. I will simply say, “Thank you for your advice but I don’t need it right now.” I will also schedule in one evening every week to commit to “me time” – and fill it with whatever I feel like to give myself self love. Sometimes it might be a walk in the park or reading random poetry. Other times it might a pizza and a glass of wine or watching reruns of Sex and the City (my favourite show!). Whatever it is, it is an evening for me to do whatever I need to do to connect better with me.
The magical bit here is that using these questions to focus on how you want to feel will help you to reach your goals anyways. When you are feeling good and fulfilled, you are healthier, more productive and more successful as a result. In short, happiness is a success driver whatever way you choose to look at it. That’s why sometimes it’s better to focus on feeling good rather than rushing to get to your goal.
If you’re looking for one-on-one help on feeling good and getting to a positive place (be it a goal or a feeling!), my coaching doors are now temporarily open for new clients. Please be aware that I only work with a maximum of 10 clients at any one point so I can’t guarantee how long they are open for. In short, if you’re looking for coaching, secure your spot now.
As always, if you enjoyed this post, please do like it, share it, tweet it, all of it. I really appreciate it :)
With that, I wish you good luck in your adventures & until next time!
With love, light & happiness,
P.S. This post was inspired by Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul.
P.P.S. If you want more inspiration on what happiness is and is not, you might enjoy my previous post on 5 Happiness Myths That Need to Die a Slow Death.