These are all things I have heard. They make sense. But, I’ve never paid much attention to their meaning.
But, what if one is genuinely the key to a fulfilling life?
On closer review, it is not a surprise that Franklin D. Roosevelt’s statement“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” from his 1932 inaugural address has more value than a proverb based on medieval falconry and a rock band album cover.
But, my point still stands.
Perhaps knowing the only thing we should be fearing is fear itself – is the key to living a rewarding, worthwhile and happy life?
If this is resonating with you – you might be wondering what the next step is. If so, try giving this a go:
Think about where these fears are coming from: Listen to the negative thoughts that are coming from a place of fear. What are they saying to you?
Think about the validity of these thoughts: Should these fears really be a concern? Should they stop you from living a life you love and being who you’ve always wanted to be?
Understand where you want to be: Take the time to explore what you really want your life to look like – if fear and negative thoughts weren’t an issue.
Take your fears head on (or just dip your toe in): Prove to yourself that you can face your fears. Start working towards your dream life – focusing on what is important to you and not your fears. You will no doubt surprise yourself about what you can achieve when your focus is pointed away from your fears.
Don’t let fear stop you from living a life you love
…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
If you feel like the changes you want in your life are impossible – then it might be fear that is holding you back from what you deserve.
Don’t settle for a bird in the hand if you want more. Don’t be afraid to go for it!
On the other side of fear, there may be two birds or maybe ten. For certain – there will be valuable life lessons, new opportunities and forward momentum. And these are all the things you need if you want more from your life.
If you need a hand building a picture of what your dream life might look like – check out this free 5-day email course.
You have a goal you want to achieve. Awesome! Do you find yourself wishing for a magic wand?
Now is when the real battle begins.
Anyone that has ever tried to reach a goal would know – achieving big goals takes a lot of hard work and dedication. But, there are small things you can do to help yourself find a storybook ending.
These are my 4 top tips for you to help you achieve your goals the easiest way possible.
Don’t think big goals – just work on the next little step
By achieving small goals you can create motivation through self-efficacy or small wins. The more wins you put on the board the more your motivation will build.
So if you want to achieve your goals the easiest way possible, experiment with keeping your timeline under 2 weeks and just concentrate on one step at a time.
Extra tip – I always like to make the first step due by the end of the day to get myself off to a flying start!
Create a path of least resistance
We are creatures of habits and for most of us, habits are only created when we make it super easy for ourselves.
So, when you are planning your goals – plan to slip your required action into your existing lifestyle as simply as possible. Then, do as much setup as you can.
So, when it is time for action – you have done your best to make it easy for yourself.
Setting yourself up for success will minimise the excuses you make in the moment for not going after your goals. This will increase your chances of action taking!
Feel accountable to your goals
To give yourself a fighting chance I recommend finding an accountability system that works for you.
Here are a few examples:
1. Share your goals
But, do it with the right people. These are people that will support and encourage you.
2. Have other people hold you accountable
Try setting up an accountability partnership with a friend. Or, join/create a group of like-minded goal-achieving people.
3. Create accountability in your day
Display them in an obvious place so every day you can remind yourself to be responsible for your success.
Really understand your “Why?”
If you want the best chance of attaining a new goal – be VERY excited about it!
If you want to be VERY excited about your goal. You need to have a deep understanding of why you need this goal in your life and how it is important to you.
A helpful question to ask yourself is:
What will my life be like when I attain this goal?
After answering this question you want to be buzzing.
If you are not, you might want to think about shelving it for another time. And find something else to work on that lights you up.
Are you trying to achieve your goals the easiest way?
So, although this isn’t a fairy tale where all your wildest dreams will easily come true. If you keep these simple things in mind when you are taking action on your goals you can do to make your happy ending a little more achievable.
Our lives are not static and our goals can grow and change in the same way we do. They can be influenced by both internal and external factors. So, as we learn more about ourselves and the world around us – our goal journey can require tweaking.
If you feel out of touch with your goal journey. There is no need to worry. The answer to these three questions can help you evaluate and make required adjustments.
Am I still excited about my goal?
Many things in life can stop us from reaching our life goals. Such as:
Being distracted by other priorities
Feeling unmotivated to take action
Feeling overwhelmed by the process
These are all normal issues we need to overcome as part of the process. But if your goal journey has gone off the rails you should reflect to see if there are deeper reasons to consider.
If you are feeling out of touch with your goals – take the opportunity to check and make sure they are still right for you.
The key to your motivation is to ensure your goal journey still excites you.
Self-reflect on the following:
Am I still feeling excited about achieving my goals? If not, why not?
Once you reflect on the questions above – you should be in one of two places.
Ready to reinvigorate your goal journey: In which case – check-in with your goal plan and make any adjustments you need to move forward.
Ready to start again: It is never a bad idea to go back to the drawing board with your goals.
Has my life shifted?
As our life progresses and our experiences multiply and what brings us meaning will naturally evolve as a result. As this evolves – so will our goals.
If you feel out of touch with your goal journey – take the time to self-reflect. Perhaps subtle (or massive) changes in your life require your goals to shift gears.
Self-reflect on the following:
When I think about what is most important in my life – does anything different come up?
If it does – consider what effect it has on your goals and make any required changes.
Where is my focus?
Sometimes internal factors creep into the way we shape and achieve our goals. These can come from issues such as:
Fear of failure
Comparison with others
These factors can influence goals and behaviors, and change their focus.
We find ourselves focusing on these issues and not the goals we need to be working on. We can find ourselves modifying activities to protect ourselves from being uncomfortable. And we can focus on the dark tunnel and not the light we need to reach on the other side.
Self-reflect on the following:
What am I trying to achieve and what thoughts are stopping me from taking action.
Try to understand why you are having these thoughts. (Continue to ask yourself: But why do I think that until you hit a root cause?)
If required, revisit your goals – and make any changes required.
As your lives evolve – your goal journey will too.
So don’t be afraid to keep re-shaping your goals. Continue to self-reflect and make the changes you need to go full steam ahead.
Have you consumed a lot of content about how to be a happier person but still seem to be in the same ol’ mood?
You are not alone. And there are good reasons for this.
In this post, I am going to share my top tips on happiness from not only consuming a mountain of research, articles, podcasts and videos – but also from my personal experience.
Happiness Set points
Let’s start by talking about set points.
We all have a happiness set point. This is a level of happiness that we always return to. Unless we put in some hard work.
For example, if right now if I gave you a large cash prize or a reward you have always dreamed of. Initially, you would be exceedingly happy. But eventually, you would return to your happiness set point.
It also works the other way too. If you were unfortunate enough to experience something devastating. Things would be definitely tough for a while but you would slowly rise back up to that set point again.
Now, although it is relatively easy to boost happiness immediately in your life. (Think of eating your favourite food or buying yourself that special something.) It is tough to make yourself a generally happier person on a consistent basis.
Said another way, in order to raise your happiness set point, you are going to need some dedication and effort.
About 50% of your general happiness is contributed to genetics. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, how important you are, whatever you do, you are stuck at this level thanks to your DNA.
The next component that contributes to your happiness is circumstances. You have some control over this – but not really. It is estimated that circumstances could account for as little as 10% to as much as 40% of your level of happiness.
This means that we can only influence around 25% of our happiness.
How do we maximise our 25%?
There is a lot of information out in the world to help you increase your happiness with thousands of recommended exercises and activities. So much, that it could make you feel overwhelmed and unhappy…
So, below are my top tips to help you select what works for you so you can boost your happiness permanently.
Some happy things will make you unhappy
It will be no surprise to you that different things make different people happy. So, remember this when selecting your exercises to boost your happiness.
It is most likely you will have a gut reaction to the activities that don’t resonate with you.
For example, research shows that writing and sharing forgiveness letters can give you a lasting boost to your mood. But for me, a historically unforgiving soul, just the thought of writing a forgiveness letter makes my neck tense up and my brow furrow.
Some happiness won’t fit
The right activities for you will need to fit into your daily routine.
As much as you might want to take up a regular mediation or exercise program, in reality, it may be a challenge for you to carve out the time on a regular basis.
In these circumstances, you may be better off committing to gratitude exercises or random acts of kindness that you can benefit from doing just once a week.
Some things will make you happier than others
It is obvious that some activities will make you feel happier than others.
Research can give us important feedback on what works on a significant amount of people, but that does not mean it will work for you. The only way you will know is by trying them.
Being a happier person takes trial and error
The more activities you try, the more you will discover about what resonates, works and fits into your life.
You can also tweak recommended exercises and frequencies to find what suits you best. The more activities you can find that boost your happiness – the more options you have to utilise.
Many options are good because variety is also an important component of any happiness program you build into your life.
Habits are key to being a happier person
The key to increasing your happiness set point is to adopt the activities that work for you into your everyday life. They need to become habits.
This will take a while, but once you put in the hard and consistent work, your life will have a permanent happiness boost. And isn’t that worth putting on your hard hat and gloves for?
For some of us, this may feel like an uphill battle. But there is good news. The research shows that you only need to spend about 20% of your work efforts on purposeful activities to reap the benefits.
That is spending only one day in a five day work week on meaningful activities and you can avoid the associated negative effects like burnout and a life that feels… blah.
What this means for you?
If you don’t find purpose in your current role right now – you don’t need to quit your job. You don’t need to take a big leap and follow your passions and dreams (unless you want to).
Finding more purpose in your day could just be a matter of making a few small tweaks to your current role.
Signs you need need to dial up purpose at work
You may be asking yourself – do I need more purpose at work?
Here are some signs that you do:
You are bored at/with work
You feel like you work just to pay the bills
You don’t like your job
You don’t feel challenged at work
You don’t feel like your work is worthwhile or making a difference to anyone
If any (or all) of these resonate with you. Then now is a good time to look at improving how purpose shows up for you at work.
What you need to know about your purpose
Working out how to add more purpose into your day might not be straight forward. You need to understand yourself.
Understanding what brings you a sense of purpose is about understanding your “why”. You want to understand why activities feel fulfilling and worthwhile to you.
To understand your why – you need to start with a bunch of “whats”.
What are your interests?
What are your strengths?
What engages and excites you?
What motivates you?
What do you enjoy doing that benefits others?
What do you want to spend your time on?
What do you avoid doing?
What are your core values?
Looking at these answers holistically will allow you to connect with the things that are meaningful to you. And help you understand what you can tap into in your life and workplace.
The key to finding activities that bring you purpose is to think about the things that can encompass lots of your “whats” at once.
Ways we can find purpose at work
Now that you understand the sort of activities may feel meaningful to you. You can think of ways to apply them at work.
The list below provides different examples of how you can shape your experience in any role to try to dial up feelings of purpose.
Crafting is the art of making your current role feel purposeful (which you are aiming to do 20% of the time). Once you have identified the activities that bring you meaning – work with the people around you to make them happen.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. If your manager can’t change your duties – are there other activities you can create yourself? Like mentoring or starting an educational lunchtime program?
How you frame your role will go a long way to how purposeful it feels to you. Research that surveyed janitors working at a hospital found those who considered themselves as part of the healing process for patients had a purposeful connection to their work. In contrast, those who just saw themselves as cleaners did not.
Do you have activities that immerse you – make you lose track of time – give you the feeling you are in your element. This is described by positive psychologists as Flow. Finding flow in your work will help it feel purposeful.
Cultivating good relationships will improve your time at work and can open the doors to future purpose-driven opportunities.
Building relationships that allow you to educate and foster the talents of others will feel purposeful. Seize these opportunities when you can.
Purpose is fluid. New experiences and learning can help to shape your purpose journey and how it shows up for you at work.
Lean into things that interest and excite you and see where it takes you.
Research has shown being aligned with your organisation’s mission and purpose is a large factor in being happy at work.
If you can’t align yourself with the organisational goals – try to do it on a smaller scale. Does your purpose align with a personal client mission? Or, maybe to a project’s outcome?
If you can’t align your goals at work with your purpose – try to look outside of work.
Volunteering your time – using meaningful skills and strengths – is a great way to get purpose into your world. You may also tick the boxes in your home and family life to hit your 20% weekly threshold that feels good.
If you have tried to do all these things above – but havent got results that work for you – it might be time to consider a change. However, you can now create a checklist to use when approaching new opportunities.
The endless search for purpose at work
It is important to remember that purpose is fluid not set. So, you need to approach your journey with an open heart and mind. Be prepared to experiment and make sure you look to balance purpose and practicality.
There will be many opportunities lying in wait for you – so have fun with it. And remember – you only need to do it 20% of your week!