How to Be Happy
"When I lose 20 pounds, then I'll be happy."
"When I make more money I'll plan a trip to Thailand."
"When my kids start sleeping in past 6:30 I'll start a morning meditation."
This is one way we approach goals that offer no favors. We allow ourselves happiness that is conditional to the success of the goal. And we often approach the goal with willpower alone to keep us on track. This is why so many goals are SO HARD to finish!
There's a concept I want to introduce to you. I keep stumbling across it in the recent past, and I think I finally smack-in-the-face get it! Here's the first iteration: "Be the person you wish to become."
When I've seen this phrase before, I've gotten stuck at the nebulous idea and the enormity of the work involved in figuring that out. ("Sure I want to keep evolving. Who IS the me I want to be? I don't know where to begin, and now I gotta go to work/fix dinner/go pick up kids.")
If you're also feeling like you're racing along checking boxes and never giving yourself time to think deeper about where you're at today and what you want most of all, I invite you to do so with me now.
Last week, I heard somebody say this on the Barbell Business podcast:
"Most people want to know what they need to DO to HAVE the things they want and BECOME the person I want to be." Turns out that's backwards.
To get what you want, you need to reverse the order from Do-Have-Be, to Be-Do-Have.
Let's take weight loss as an example:
If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, you first need to become the you who already weighs 20 pounds less, who wears smaller clothes than you used to and feels confident. The you who weighs 20 pounds less does so many things differently than the you of now: the way you enter a room, your relationship with your alarm clock, what you do outside of work and sleep time, the rank of your own needs compared to others, your relationship with food, the people in your inner circle, how regularly you work out, and on and on. You must become this person before you lose even 1 pound, and you need to decide how those 'little' things will work. Then the DO-ing will come easily. And soon you will have that amazing and confident feeling.
Try this exercise:
1. Pick one thing you want to HAVE. Happiness, a six-pack, a new job or career, adventures, true love, a zero balance.
2. Ask yourself: what version of myself am I when I have that thing? When addressing any change, you may have to address your own fears and belief systems about money, relationships, jobs, and your own self worth.
3. Pick one or two ways that you will start living like that person now. Some things will be tougher than others, especially if your values don't yet match your goals.
Now get out there and BE!