Do You Wish You'd Let Yourself Be Happier?

enjoy the journey getting started gratitude happiness mindfulness present moment Feb 01, 2021

How many times have you thought to yourself things like:

When I…

  • get that job
  • finally find that special someone
  • buy a new car
  • get promoted
  • have more money

then I will…be less stressed

then I will…be able to relax

then I will…be happy

What do all of these statements have in common? They all put happiness in the future AND make it conditional on a specific event. That doesn’t exactly sound like enjoying the journey, does it? 

While it is true that any goal you’re working on may have elements or phases that are more challenging than others, the rest of your life is still happening! 

It's so important to remember that the only moment that exists is NOW - the present moment. We only ever have the present moment. And if you keep moving the happiness goalpost into the future, when exactly will you find enjoyment?

Now don’t misunderstand me - it is important to have goals to work towards, especially the kinds of goals that feed your soul. But if you aren’t able to enjoy the process – the journey – of making your goals a reality, what the heck is the point?

The curious thing about actually meeting a goal is that we may revel in the end results or feel deep satisfaction of the accomplishment, but very soon after…we will move on to the next goal or dream. (Any to-do-listers here? You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.)

That is why it is so important to enjoy the journey! 

Life is a journey, not a destination.

With every journey there will be – without fail – struggle along the way. But why is that a bad thing? Without contrast, every day, every experience, would feel the same. It's working through the hard parts that sometimes even make the end result all the more satisfying.  

Let’s use the example of kids doing their homework or chores. Kids would rather do a million other things than their homework or chores. How often do kids wish they were hanging out with their friends instead of doing homework? Umm… always! Homework time can sometimes even result in a struggle filled with complaints and meltdowns. The reality, though, is that homework – learning – is part of the journey whether anyone likes it or not.

With this in mind, wouldn’t everyone be happier if the kids simply got their homework done faster by skipping the time wasted on fighting it? 

Probably… but that’s just not how life works. Now, we are not kids and I have complete faith that you can take control of your mindset and see the bigger picture. Stay with me here...

There are two perspectives that are helpful to explore here.

  • Honoring the struggle
  • Learning to relax and let off the gas once in a while

There is no getting around the fact that much of what we experience in life involves effort, struggle, and things we would rather not have to deal with. So if we understand that it’s part of the journey – not the destination – why not find more joy, even in the struggle?

During the challenging parts of life, take a moment to step back and identify the benefits, the learning, the growing that you’re going through. Take a moment to feel gratitude for everything that it’s bringing you and to honor YOURSELF for handling the “growing pains.” 

If you feel overwhelmed by what’s on your plate, explore how you can break it up into more digestible tasks. Identify the areas where you may need to learn something new and build time into your schedule to study the topic rather than assuming that you should, for some mysterious reason, know it already. Build the patience with yourself and with the process to help you enjoy the journey. 

The next point is slightly more challenging but just as important - learning to RELAX. 

As Bronnie Ware shares in her book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”, one of the top five wishes of the dying is:

“I wish I had let myself be happier”

Personally, my life in my twenties was about raising my son and starting my career. My thirties were focused on getting a promotion or new job, and then shifted to realizing how unfulfilled and not happy I was. I was so focused on the end goal before I found happiness that I was totally disconnected with what would make me happy in the present

It’s okay to sit back and let go of “the chase” once in a while.

It’s okay to take a break from your goals for a day. 

It’s okay to pause after taking one step forward. 

Give yourself permission to just sit back and enjoy the moment. 

This circles back to what I said in the beginning. You ONLY have the present moment. If you don’t enjoy the journey, you will look back with regret and feel like you wasted time. The way to overcome this challenge is to connect with gratitude and love for the journey. It starts with the practice of being mindful and your mindset. Begin to look for the joys within the struggle and speak kindly to yourself, recognizing that struggle is temporary and where the true growth happens. 

Learning how to enjoy the journey is a crucial step towards living a life full of joy. Yes, honoring the struggle and learning how to relax are much easier said than done. But start now and I promise you will start training your mind on how to do this and it WILL get easier. 

So get mindful about your habits. Take a look at what you’re doing and see if you’re truly enjoying your journey… or if you’re even on the journey that’s right for you (I know I wasn’t for a long time!). Are you maybe even sabotaging your progress towards your goals with your mindset?  Remember you can always book a free strategy session call with me and we can dig into some of the ways that you may be sabotaging your own journey to happiness and fulfillment.

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