“But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads.”
Well, I’m really excited about this post because the topic is something that has helped me with really moving forward with the things that are most important to me. There have been times when I have felt frustration because I felt that I couldn’t ever get to doing the things that mattered to me most. But eventually, I realized that it was the choices I was making each day that was affecting my ability to do them.
We all know what it’s like to feel like we aren’t moving forward in the ways we want to, but we can all do it if we make this simple mental shift.
This one thing has helped me change the trajectory of my days so that I can work on the things that bring me more happiness.
WHAT IS IT WE WANT MOST?
We want to feel calm and positive at the end of our day.
We want to feel a sense of accomplishment.
We want our feeling of accomplishment to empower us for the next day so we can keep moving towards the goals and aspirations we yearn for most.
Well, each and every one of us deserves to feel these things.
We deserve to have the most fulfilling, meaningful day to day existence possible, and to go to bed feeling incredibly happy with ourselves.
To wake up feeling inspired to keep moving towards the things that are most important to us.
We deserve to feel the joy of spreading that positive energy with our loved ones because that’s how we are genuinely feeling inside, instead of holding back deep frustrations and forcing a smile.
We all want to feel positive and empowered as we look towards the future and feel that we are doing all we can to make our dreams come true.
SO WHAT STOPS US?
We all have things that are important to us.
For most of us, we care dearly about our health, relationships, financial wellbeing, and happiness.
Yet why is it easier to spend two hours cleaning the car, than to step onto that treadmill for twenty minutes of exercise?
Why is it easier to talk about the grocery list than to have that long overdue meaningful conversation with our loved ones?
We tend to make choices that leave the things we know are most precious to us at the bottom of the list.
Is it really because we don’t have enough time, money, or energy that we leave all of the important things for some undefined time in the future?
Don’t let yourself be paralyzed by fear, which prevents so many people from living out their dreams.
THE EPIC BATTLE WITH YOURSELF
When we think about the things that are really important to us, our emotions become involved.
There is an immense amount of emotional investment in the things that matter to us most.
When we avoid doing the things that we know will increase our happiness, we enter an epic battle with ourselves.
Part of us wants with all of our heart and soul to move towards our deepest desires, but another part deeply doubts our ability to make those changes.
Within ourselves, desire and fear begin to fight the moment we wake up, using us all of our mental and emotional energy.
It’s no wonder that all the energy we have left for the end of the day is to turn on the TV or watch a few Youtube videos.
Fear no longer has power when we take action towards our desires.
“Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile disfunction.”
HIGH ON THE IMPORTANCE LIST, LOW ON THE PRIORITY LIST
Do you have one thing that you know is deeply important to you, but you keep pushing it to the end of the day?
There have been times when I knew exactly what activities were going to move me forward in my happiness, but I placed them last on my to do list.
At the end of the day, after I had used all my energy on time filling, menial chores, I would say to myself in frustration, “Ugh! Did I not have time for A and B again? Guess I’ll have to reschedule them for tomorrow.”
Thus begins a toxic cycle of leaving the important things until…never.
EMPOWER YOUR WHOLE DAY
There are significant consequences for leaving your most important activity for later.
Because there is so much passionate emotion involved in the things you value most, ignoring those things will inevitably have toxic consequences.
We’ve all heard those sayings circulating around social media.
“Follow your bliss!”
“Believe in yourself!”
“Create the life you’ve always wanted!”
It all sounds well and good, but how?
I’m going to share some really powerful things that happen when we place our most valued things first on on our list of priorities, rather than filling our days with activities that don’t create more happiness.
Your entire day will be more calm and positive
Have you ever felt that heavy feeling in your chest when you know you want to do something that is important to you, but you are not doing it?
Maybe it’s getting to the gym? Maybe it’s starting that cool project you’ve had on your mind? Maybe it’s the conversation with your partner about something that’s been bugging you?
It can even be to just take a breathe and have a bubble bath after a long day.
When we keep pushing the things that are most important to us to the end of the to do list, our anxiety rises.
But this kind of anxiety is different from the anxiety we feel when we are late for work, or when the health of a loved one is threatened.
According to Irvin Yalom, our freedom to make choices is a major cause for anxiety. Although we like to think of freedom as something positive, freedom creates anxiety by confronting us with our responsibility to make our own choices.
Not only that, it makes us realize that, no matter what choice we make, we don’t really know how our choices will turn out.
When we keep avoiding the things that we value most in our lives, our anxiety about it just gets worse and worse because deep inside, we know that we are choosing not to do it.
Most of us know what we need to do to increase our happiness. In fact, you are the only one who can truly know what you value in life.
By making what we value most our priority, we confront our freedom to make choices, avoid unneeded anxiety, and play an active role in our future happiness.
Everything else we do becomes more enjoyable
If we place what we value most at the the top of our priority list and do it as soon as we can, we free our mental and emotional energies, and are more able to feel calm and positive.
It is only when we feel calm and positive inside that we can really be present enough to appreciate our daily activities.
Suddenly, doing the dishes feels okay. Getting the groceries feels fresh and new again. Organizing our finances doesn’t feel as daunting.
This is because we have already done what is most important to us.
We are moving forward in the way we want it to.
By leaving our most important things to the end of the day, we leave it to hang over our heads, making it really difficult to relax.
Somewhere in the back of our minds, we know what we must do to increase our happiness, and no matter how much we try, we can’t ignore it.
We can try our best by filling our time with other things, but it’s always there.
In the meantime, it slowly eats up our mental and emotional energies, and eventually our life force.
A lot of the time, it’s happening at such a subconscious level that we don’t even realize it.
But our daily activities become more and more difficult and it becomes harder and harder to meet the demands of everyday life.
We get tired, moody, and flustered.
This leads to more unhappiness, maybe some drinking, and a whole lot of frustration.
It won’t go away until we just do it.
Our self esteem improves
When we fill our time with activities that don’t move our lives in the direction we want, those activities fall into the soul crushing category.
They crush our souls because, although they fill our time, we know we don’t really care about them that much.
We know these activities won’t help to move us to happier and more fulfilling lives.
But the more we do the things we value, the more we feel good about ourselves. We are now playing an active role in making ourselves happier.
Our actions are worth more.
They are moving us towards our deepest desires.
How can we not feel empowered?
We are actively creating our lives and it feels great!
We smile more, we walk more briskly, and we feel inspired to do even more things that will create more future happiness.
“The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.”
DO WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU FIRST
The one, simple thing you can do to empower yourself and the rest of your day is to do what’s most important to you first.
Not the dishes, not checking social media, not reading the news. Those will always be there.
I know we’re all busy. Some of us have kids who demand our attention the moment we wake up. Some of us have work all day and other day to day obligations.
But what I really mean is to do what’s most important to you at your first free moment.
Do the things you value most in your life.
There really isn’t enough time in our lives to leave it for later.
What is it you know will improve your happiness most today?
Do you want to get in shape? Start a new venture? Have quality time with someone?
Right now, as I’m writing this, the pile of dishes are calling me in the sink. I know I have to prep food for the rest of the week. On top of that, I’m feeling a little under the weather and the blanket and Netflix are calling me.
But at this point of my life, besides the well-being of my family, I know building my blog content and focusing on my health are the things that will move me towards greater happiness. I know that expressing myself through writing and working on my personal projects will provide me with more fulfillment and meaning.
So after my morning green tea, I sat down to write. It was damn hard. I mean really hard. I want nothing more right now than to do my usual time wasting activities: social media, watch some inspirational videos on Youtube, or tidy the house. But those things can wait.
After I’m done my work for the day, I’ll see how my body feels. If I need to rest to fight off a cold coming on, I’ll make a cup of tea and read. The dishes and the piles of papers that need sorting will have to wait.
My happiness cannot.
Do what’s most important to you first.
Sound so simple, yet it is probably one of the most difficult things in life.
There are so many ways we can use the good hours of our day.
Let’s make our deepest desires our first priority so we can create the most fulfilling lives possible.
I’ve already talked about the things that are really important to me right now, so what are the things you value most in your life?