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Last Updated on August 7, 2019

Nothing Makes You Happy: Here’s Why and What to Do

Nothing Makes You Happy: Here’s Why and What to Do

If you’re thinking “Nothing makes me happy any more…” I want to ask you a powerful question first:

What do you want at the end of your life?

Picture yourself in this moment and decide how you want to feel, the legacy you want to leave, and the memories you have to look back on.

Are you exhausted – having lived a stressful life?

Putting happiness and joy off for the weekends, vacations, and retirement. You got through each day just to get to the next one. You rushed through life, wishing for the future, forgetting to enjoy the precious moments in the present. You waited for the money to come and in return you worked a job you hated. You would be secure and happy when the right time came. You waited to travel because you couldn’t take the time off.

Life was too busy to create new memories with friends. You forgot that enjoyment was for the present moment and you never took care of your own needs. In each moment you put your happiness off for the future and now, the future is here and you are left tired, regretful, and unfulfilled.

OR

Are you feeling exhilarated, satisfied, excited, and joyful – having lived life on YOUR terms?

You learned the art and mindset of happiness early on and made the decision to enjoy each of your moments and not put this precious time off. You realized that the happiness mindset evokes a spectacular energy which magnetizes positive emotions along with events. Abundance, wealth, happiness, and excitement followed you everywhere you went. You chose to put self-care first to cultivate fulfillment in each of your moments and you stopped putting your health and happiness off.

You got real with yourself, developed clarity, and chose what was in the best interest for you. In return, you lived a satisfying life, having meaningful relationships, you left a mark in this world, and your energy trickles down to the generations that follow.

How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

Each and every one of us are faced with the decision in each moment of our lives. We have to decide in each moment what we want at the end of our life – exhaustion or exhilaration?

We sometimes forget how quickly each moment adds up until too much time has passed and we can’t get it back. Time is a priceless entity and each moment is unique – it will never come again.

You can gain and lose money, friendships, jobs, materials but you can NEVER get a moment back. Each moment comes with a choice – to enjoy, find the lesson, the laughter, the happiness OR to whine, complain, feel frustrated, irritated, and unfulfilled.

We all have the choice of what our life looks like and the choice lies in our reactions to the events and moments in our lives. We can either choose exhaustion or exhilaration.

When we let the negativity take over, then we are left weak and exhausted. However, when we choose the positive reaction then we are left with strength, energy, and knowledge with the best way to proceed.

How Do You Want to Feel at the End of Your Life?

I have asked many people this same question over the years and almost every single person admits that they want to feel excited and exhilarated – everyone wants happiness.

In fact, there is a whole book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing, published in regards to the top regrets of the dying on how these individuals wished they had followed the happy path.

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However, the majority of the people that I have asked this question to include this vicious word… BUT.

When I hear this word, I wince. As soon as I hear this word, I know that the person that I am talking to has not mastered the mindset of happiness and they need support.

The word “but” is equivalent to an excuse to why this person isn’t enjoying their life and why they can’t choose happiness today. BUT means they are choosing to put their happiness off to the future.

This excuse is their story of where they came from, the bad things that have happened to them, what they don’t have now, and all of the demands that are boggling them down.

We all have a story but we also have a choice.

I have yet to meet someone without a story – someone who has glided through life without a scratch. A story wouldn’t be good without conflicts, right?

Some of the happiest people are the ones with the most horrendous story; however, they decided that they wanted to feel excited and exhilarated at the end of their lives over anything else.

Their end goal is happiness and that’s what they choose in every moment – no matter what the moment might entail.

Decide TODAY what your outcome is – what do you want for your life? What do you want for tomorrow? How are you going to get the results that you crave?

We all have greatness inside of us and we all have the ability to choose happiness over the negativity. The first step to getting happy is recognizing your warning signs – the reactions that you give may be a clue that you aren’t living your happiest life.

Warning Signs That You May Be Unhappy

Are you WOEFUL? This is an acronym for what unhappiness might look and feel like. These are your warning signs – a way that you can quickly identify that something is not right:

  • W– Whiney
  • O– Out of Control
  • E– Expectations
  • F– Fear
  • U– Unfulfilled
  • L– Limitations

Whiney

Do you whine, complain, grumble, criticize? Of course you do! Everybody does this to some degree. However, this shouldn’t be normal for you this should only serve as a warning sign.

Complaints are a great thing if we can use them as a tool to acknowledge that we are heading down the wrong path. However, when complaining becomes a habit for us then unhappiness soon follows.

It means that we are continuing to engage in activities that do not serve us, we continue to surround ourselves with the people who aren’t bringing out the best in us, and we are allowing the negativity to control our reactions. Whatever it is that you are whining about needs to be acknowledged, evaluated, and changed.

Most of the time, we think that the world needs to change for us so that we can be happy – this mindset is unrealistic. We can never change the people, things, and circumstances in our lives. The only thing that we have control over is ourselves. We have the ability to change what we do, when we do it, who we surround ourselves with, and how we react.

If you find that you are complaining about something – how can you change it or how can you alter your reaction? The next time that you complain – be thankful for this warning sign. Identify why you are feeling upset and make a plan to change it. Follow your smile not your complaint.

Out of Control

Do you feel out of control? Are you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, unclear, and/or uncertain? If you have any of these emotions, then this is your warning sign that you need to gain clarity, focus, and alignment.

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We have all had moments in our life that have felt out of control – maybe saying yes one too many times – allowing our obligations to gain control over our focus. When the to do list takes over, we often times lose sight of our end goal which separates us from our outcome.

When you begin feeling these emotions and spiraling out of control, it might be a good time to gain focus and clarity. Ask yourself what your end goal is and realign your focus, habits, and reactions to get you closer to the result you desire.

What are the things you are engaging in that are getting you closer to your goals? What are the things that feel good, right, and get you excited? Who are the people that make you feel the best about yourself?

On the contrary, what are you doing that gives you negative emotions? Are there people in your life who are bringing out the weaker side of you?

It is so important to identify the emotion, acknowledge the warning side, and make a change. Continuing to spiral out of control is a recipe for disaster and unhappiness will accompany you on that journey.

Expectations

Do you let expectations control your happiness? Do you feel as if things are expected of you? Do you let other people’s way of thinking control your own actions? Do you feel like someone else is making the decisions for your life and in return you are unhappy?

First evaluate who is setting the expectations in your life and ask if these expectations are aligned with your end goal. Sometimes, it’s easy to confuse self-aligned expectations with the expectations you think others have for you.

Live up to what you believe in and follow the path that brings you closer to your own aspirations. It’s easy to try and make others happy; however, it can leave us feeling unfulfilled and confused about where we are meant to go.

Become clear on the expectations that are important to you and don’t clutter your mind with others’ views on the world (unless of course they are similar to your own).

Fear

Do you put things off because you are fearful of what might happen? Are you scared of the unknown? Have you let failures hold you back from potential successes? Do you aspire for more but let the comfort of the familiar keep you where you are?

Fear is a natural instinct that is essential to life – keeping us safe from catastrophic events. Our mind and body have an instinctual way of remembering close calls and past traumas and try their best to keep us out of sticky situations.

However, if we are not good evaluators – we might be letting our minds talk us out of opportunities of growth and we might stay in comfort too long because of perceived fear.

When the fear emotions present themselves, when you feel like you are holding back or talking yourself out of something ask yourself why that is. Why am I saying no to this opportunity? Is this just an excuse to keep me in my comfort zone? Is this decision aligned with my desired outcome?

Unfulfilled

Are you bored, uninterested, tired, unfulfilled? At the end of the day, do you feel a void or emptiness inside?

When we have these emotions, we are typically on autopilot and we are not growing. Identify the areas in your life that are no longer exciting. These are the areas that are just going through the motions without any effort involved.

Are you unfulfilled at work, home, in your relationships, and/or with your body? Identify the areas that need some care.

Pay attention to when you feel a spark – that jolt of energy that releases the endorphins that bring you joy. Try and follow that path and pick up that energy as often as possible. Bring it to every area in your life.

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When we follow our spark, a light ignites inside of us and we become inspired and motivated. Who are the people that drain you? Who are the ones that give you energy – who are the people who make you feel like you just drank a cup of coffee? Those are the people you want to surround yourself with.

Pick an area in your life that feels drained and find a way to bring a light and spark to it. Feeling fulfilled in each area of our life is an important aspect to living a happy life.

Limitations

Are you filled with limitations, boundaries, and restrictions? What are your limiting beliefs?

Limitations include assumptions and predictions based off of past failures and events. Are you allowing these limitations to hold you back from what you truly desire? You don’t have enough time, money, or resources?

Start acknowledging where you set boundaries and begin to question why you have built walls in these areas.

Could you start demolishing your old mindset and asking questions to lower your guard? Boundaries are important to protect us but are there any up that no longer need to be there? Can we find support in our limiting areas to overcome our fears and grow in these areas?

How to Use WOEFUL to Become Happy

The whole key to happiness is identifying our emotions and reactions, and aligning them with our end goal. When you become really good at noticing your emotions and reactions, you can quickly change your attitude and circumstances so that you put yourself in a place where happiness lives.

We have to gain control through identification and awareness to choose happiness on a moment to moment basis. We can’t use the excuse of “It just is the way it is.” It truly can be the opposite if we take charge of our own lives.

Life can be what we want it to be if we can start to become aware of our warning signs and take actionable steps to become happy – making decisions based off of our end desire.

HAPPY is an acronym for the steps to take to encourage the happy path – to shed the woes and build a better life for yourself with happiness in the center:

  • H – Hunger
  • A – Aspirations
  • P – Perspective
  • P – Power
  • Y – You

Hunger

First and foremost, what are you hungry for? What lights a spark inside of you – what motivates you? Who inspires you?

When we are excited, motivated, and inspired, we are at our best.

People want to surround themselves with people who make them feel good. Positive energy brings about more positivity. When you begin aligning your actions and reactions with your end goal, then you will be engaging in the habits that will bring you a lifetime of joy.

Too often we give up on our dreams because we fall back into comfort. We need to keep our driving force in the forefront of our focus – what is it that you want at the end of your life? Do you want to be strong, enthusiastic, and happy or do you want to be weak, exhausted, and miserable?

Stop pushing what you’re truly hungry for away. Bring it close to you and you will live a happy-centered life.

Aspirations

When you identify your hunger and your dreams, then begin to set goals that will get you closer to your aspirations. Set goals each day, every hour if you need to.

When you make your list of what needs done, then get out your calendar and carve out time for your goals FIRST.

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Stop letting the to do list run your life – let happiness drive your schedule and then find time for everything else. If you do what is in alignment with your happiness first, then everything else will fall into place and you will be in a better mood completing the rest of your daily tasks.

Too many times we let everything and everyone run our life, putting happiness off for another time. I am sure if you are reading this, then you are familiar with this concept.

Stop putting off your happiness today and begin thinking about how you want to look and feel at the end of your life. That will put your moments into perspective for you.

Perspective

What is your current belief system and how are your thoughts hindering your ability to achieve your goals and aspirations?

Most people are not very good at identifying their WOES and because of this, they are unable to make progress in their life.

Often times, we can get the outcome we desire if we have the ability to change our mindset and alter our perception. When we make this alteration, we move around the circumstances we thought were once immobile, and then we find a path to the solution that we desire.

Change your perception to get your end result. Question your belief system – are your thoughts your own or someone else’s? Are these thoughts helping you achieve your goals or are they hindering your progress? Make these identifications and then alter your perception to get what you want from life – happiness.

If you are having difficulty changing your perception and developing a positive mindset, then a step-by-step guide to cultivating a positive mindset might be beneficial:

How to Cultivate a Positive Mindset (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Power

You have control over how you think, feel, and your end result. Be deliberate. Direct your thoughts to align with how you want to feel at the end of your life.

You already have the ability to be successful, to be happy and fulfilled. You must allow yourself to have the power in your own life. Give up the belief system that life is happening to you, and that circumstances are controlling your life.

When we gain control and hold the power of our own lives, we can envision our future and create anything that we want. What are you seeing – Exhaustion or Energy?

You

This is YOUR life! This is not your parent’s life, your boss’s life, your kid’s life or your spouse’s life. This is YOUR life and you are the only one who knows what drives your spark and what brings you true joy. Nobody else can tell you how you feel and what to do with your own life.

The only choice that you need to make is to choose the happy path. The only way that we can live in a better world is if each of us chooses to put our true necessity first and that is joy.

The decisions you are making today and tomorrow are creating your future and your end product. Self-care is not selfish, it is essential to living the best life for yourself and everyone that you meet.

How do you want to feel at the end of your life? Decide it now and in every moment from here on out. Are you exhausted or are you exhilarated?

The Bottom Line

The best way to get HAPPY is to identify your warning signs. Acknowledge your reactions and monitor your feelings and emotions, then take action!

Make the choice to living a happy-centered life. Enjoyment and exhilaration should be the life that you desire today and tomorrow – it should be your end goal.

More Resources About Happiness

Featured photo credit: Alicia Jones via unsplash.com

More by this author

Jacqueline Battaglia

Growth Coach, Blogger, and Creator of Life is Duck Soup. My approach will help you get to your next potential level, follow your HAPPY path and enjoy each moment fully.

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

10 Success Principles for Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career?

You were born with a gift that no one else in the world can express like you. When you dance to your own music, you naturally develop your innate abilities and excel in work and life. You are a total rock star. But when you live someone else’s idea of who you should be, it throws off your groove.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their dreams way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you live a rich and rewarding life on your terms that have worked with thousands of people in my workshops and will work for you, too.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand.[1]

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work.[2]

So, give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life.

Who knows? Your creative outlet could transform into a thriving business or lead to a new profession down the road.

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2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

Here are a few options to help you discover your unique strengths. You can:

  • Take the VIA Character Strengths Survey[3]
  • Try Gallup’s CliftonStrengths Assessment[4]
  • Answer a few Superpower Questions

Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

Just take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it.

Is it what you really want? If so, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP – the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut.

To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. So, his stern opinions don’t really matter much, do they? Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

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This success principle will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

5. Embrace Your Inner Weirdo

Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid folks will find out how odd or strange we are. But our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths. Yes, it’s good to be quirky.

Odds are, you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

  • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
  • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
  • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward.

Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you. But you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

Pretend I’m your fairy godmother and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

Get quiet. Be honest. Think big.

What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

Sounds silly? It’s not. It works! Permitting yourself to daydream about a rich and fulfilling life is the first step to manifesting it.

8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time.[5]

Wait, it gets better! A Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output increases by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere.[6]

What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

This is one of the most powerful success principles for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

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“You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, you can succeed again.

You already rock. You just need to own it. Trust me, you’ve got this!

Final Thoughts

Eleanor Roosevelt said,

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Following these success principles will help you find the time and energy to do the things that really matter and live with clear intention.

By spending just one hour a week doing something you love, focusing on your strengths and achievements, embracing what makes you different, and acting on inspired ideas, you can create a life that is a perfect fit for you, step-by-step.

If you don’t have a clue about what your dream life could look like yet, don’t worry. Your heart knows. It has been “talking” to you for a long time. It’s just being muffled by KCRP, buried under a lot of “shoulds” and fear.

This article can also help you figure out the life you truly want to live: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up.

Stand still, get quiet, and listen. It’s constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rockstar potential. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

Reference

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