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Living a Happier Life

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A few days ago on our private Facebook page, we shared an inspirational article from Thrive Global on 10 behaviors to help you achieve a happier life.  Did you miss it?  Here is it.

The article is in alignment with some topics of interest that we have developed recently involving positivity, motivation, finding success in what we do, and living a more fulfilled life.  At Industrial Athletics, our goal is to make our members the healthiest they can be for the duration of their lives.  CrossFit does this for us physically, however, what about our mental game?  In our Facebook post, we talked about releasing some blog topics on mental health and motivation, so we are going to start with some practical thoughts on living a happier life.

Before you continue reading, sit back for a moment and think about what makes you happy in life.  Think about what would make you happier.  Would it make you happier to reach a certain goal?  Accomplish a certain achievement?  Acquire something tangible?  Maybe you would be happier if you received that promotion at work, bought that new car, made more money each month.

Now, look back at the past five years of your life.  Think about what you have accomplished over those past five years.  Did you get a new job?  Did you win a competition?  Did you reach a goal?  Did you make more money?  Did you move?  Did you acquire more possessions?

Finally, ask yourself, are you really HAPPIER than you were five years ago?

We are willing to bet that if you are basing your happiness off of achievements and tangible items, and you are honest with yourself about your level of happiness, you aren’t any happier today than you were in the past.  The reason for this is that happiness does not lie on the other side of accomplishment.  This makes sense if you give it a second to sink in.  Let’s assume you were gunning for a promotion at work.  You worked 3 years to earn that promotion and you got it.  For a little while, you are happier, sure.  However, that happiness doesn’t last.  Why not?  Because what is the first you do once you accept your new position?  You start thinking about the next promotion.

The same can be said for something like making more money.  Finally, you were offered a new job with a salary of $100,000.00/year.  You’ve been fighting for this job.  You are super excited and happy when you receive the offer and start thinking about what you can spend all that money on.  However, what happens 3, 4, 5 months into the future?  You start thinking about your life if you made $150,000.00 or $200,000.00/year.

The problem is that grounding your happiness in accomplishment is short lived because we, as humans, are rarely satisfied.  So, how do we achieve happiness outside of accomplishment and possessions?  By refocusing our beliefs about what makes us happy.  The article we posted on Facebook lists ten behaviors.  However, we think that list can be boiled down to three important behaviors (outlined in the Chasing Excellence Podcast) that will bring you more happiness for your life:

  1.  Have Gratitude for What You Have and What You Get to Do
    It sounds hokey to talk about being grateful for all that you have.  However, showing gratitude for what you have and what you have achieved is the first step in refocusing your attention away from what you want.  Additionally, have gratitude what you have get to do.  You don’t have to do anything.  You get to do it.  Learn to appreciate that.
  2. Give Back Through Action
    Few things in this life will help you feel happier than using what you have to help others.  However, it has to be in action and time.  Giving money to help someone is a great thing, but money is technically a renewable resource.  Giving your time is not.
  3. Form Lasting Meaningful Relationships
    Taking time to build long lasting meaningful relationships will bring more happiness in multiple ways.  Support, friendship, acceptance, love, the list goes on.  Think quality over quantity.

Goals are important to set.  Having a never ending pursuit to achieve the next level will keep you focused and motivated in life.  However, it cannot be your focus for happiness.  If it is, you will always be left empty focusing on the next thing you think will finally make you happy.  Give this simple list of three behaviors a try and we think you will see what we mean.  We will write more about each behavior in the coming weeks.

 

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