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Waiting to Be Happy Once You’ve Achieved a Goal? 21 Ways to Feel Happier Today.

Waiting to Be Happy Once You’ve Achieved a Goal? 21 Ways to Feel Happier Today.

Do want to lose weight? Or find the love of your life and get married? Or maybe, you desperately want to graduate. Do you enjoy having these goals? Or, do these desires cause you pain? Many of us obsess about goals and desperately strive to achieve them, but think it’s okay to do so because we’ll get what we want later. And then, we’ll be happy. We’ll be happy once we lose those 10 pounds, get married, or graduate, right?

There are two problems with this approach:

  1. Once we reach our goals, we’ll feel happier for a little while, but then we’ll set new goals, and go back to being unhappy until we reach those new goals.
  2. We spend most of our time being unhappy—or at least not as happy as we could be.

I can already hear objections.

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“But I really want to lose those 10 pounds! Should I not want that?” Yes, you should. Desires urge you to expand and grow.

“But then how am I supposed to be happy since I don’t yet have what I want?” 

Well, here is the truth behind goals:

We may think that our goals are to graduate, get married, get a promotion, make more money, live anywhere we want, or lose weight, but ultimately all those goals are nothing more than means to an end. We want them because we think they will make us happy; happiness is what we are really after. It’s just that some people look for happiness by losing weight, while others look for it by getting married or having kids, but in the end, everything we do is done because we think it will make us feel better.

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The problem is that in our quest to happiness, we often forget to be happy now. As we strive to achieve our goals, we postpone happiness… for later.

We somehow think that even though all we want is to be happy, it’s ok not to be happy now, yet, happiness is a feeling.

Why not feel good now as we go after our goals and also feel good later, when we achieve our goal? Why not do both?

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Today I have a simple trick for you to get happier. You can apply it right away, and you don’t need to wait until you graduate or find the love of your life to feel that happiness boost. What is it?

It’s kindness.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, has studied happiness for more than 20 years. She has found that being kind is a habit that consistently makes people happier. Her research found that performing acts of kindness once a week leads to the most happiness. So, why not take advantage of today to get that happiness boost? Choose 5 happiness acts from below and start giving generously!

21 ways to practice kindness today and instantly feel happier!

  1. Open the door for someone else.
  2. Say “thank you”.
  3. Pay a compliment.
  4. Smile.
  5. Refrain from judging others. Focus on their positive side.
  6. Stop judging yourself and allow yourself to be as you are.
  7. Be encouraging to others.
  8. Allow yourself to dream BIG.
  9. Say “good morning” to someone you don’t know.
  10. Babysit for an hour.
  11. Give away something that you could live without.
  12. Let a fellow driver drive pass you.
  13. When someone talks to you, listen. Don’t distract yourself with a million thoughts and focus your mind on the other person.
  14. Pass along a book you read and liked to a friend.
  15. Post a positive message on Facebook to inspire your friends.
  16. Say “I love you”.
  17. Send a thank-you letter to an old friend or teacher.
  18. Help someone.
  19. Care for an animal.
  20. Spend a few hours volunteering.
  21. Pick up the phone and tell someone you care.

Being kind does feel good, and as Princes Diana said:

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“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”

Which 5 kindness acts do you choose to practice today? Let me know in the comments below.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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