As the Buddha once said, “If you want to be happy, be.” Have you ever set goals and obsessed over making them the center of your universe? You may have even arranged everything else around these goals? However, what happens after you’ve accomplished your goal? Throughout our lives, we live on a perpetual hamster wheel. Many times we measure our level of happiness based on our achievements. Unfortunately, even after we have accomplished something, we start to adapt to it, and it becomes the norm. This is known as hedonic adaptation. That is to say, once you’ve achieved a goal, your happiness levels quickly return back to the normal level.
Why I Stopped Chasing Happiness and Started Enjoying Life Instead
Your Life Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect
One of the happiness tips that you might learn from would be if you were to stop looking at life like a mouse trying to always get the cheese. Instead, you might learn how to enjoy the journey to achieve happiness along the way. As the Stoic sage Epictetus once said, “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Basically, this means that if you’re unhappy, it has less to do with your achievements and more to do with how you interpret these things. Instead of putting off your chance to enjoy life now, why not find an activity that you enjoy doing and make it habit to do it at least once a day. This can have a big impact on your happiness levels.
Why You Shouldn’t Measure Your Happiness Based on Achievement
The biggest problem with trying to enjoy your life based on achievement is how you’re only living for a single endpoint. You don’t live for every single moment, but instead, you find yourself trying to live for a small moment in time. This leaves you with little time to actually feel happy. Over the next couple days, you might stop setting a goal of where you try to achieve your goals. Instead, pay more attention to what you feel in the moment. You might even take time out of your day to think of your life and everything in it. In fact, you might come to a painful realization of how not only did you enjoy your life more this way, you experienced many more happy moments in the process.
Another one of the problems of looking at achievement as your measurement of happiness is how you tend to look down on others who haven’t achieved as much. This is not a characteristic that you want to emphasize in yourself.
Never Forget the Biggest Goal in Life
In truth, everyone wants to be happy. They probably don’t even actually want anything else if they had the real choice for engineering their enjoyment of life. You may have even set short-term or long-term goals that interfere with and control your emotions because you didn’t achieve them. To achieve happiness, that should be considered one of the highest goals that you could aspire to do.
Be There with Your Loved One
One of the biggest tragedies is how as you’ve set goals and tried to achieve the perfect life, you often forget to be present with your family and friends and have a good time. Maybe even the reason you wanted to achieve more was so that you could spend more time with them. However, the terrible irony of it is that as you’re trying to do this, you find yourself spending less time with your family. When you stop chasing the perfect life, you can be present and enjoy what you have available to you now. Based on a Gallup poll, you need between six to seven hours of socializing daily to feel happy.
Some People Even Damage Their Health
Perhaps you have grown overly fixated on achieving a specific goal. You may ignore the classic symptoms of being overstressed and tired because you want to achieve something. In the long term, this can have serious negative consequences. In fact, the Japanese have even coined term titled “Karoshi” for when people overwork themselves to death. It has become so common in this country that they now even have a word for it. In chasing after achievement, they forget to have happiness in the present, which wastes a large portion of their lives.
Hopefully, these happiness tips have made you understand how you don’t need the perfect life to start feeling more positive. In fact, all that you need to do is be here in the now and enjoy what you have. You can determine what activities you enjoy the most based on what you feel as you’re doing them. Happify has said that most people can control their positive emotions. Most of the research has found that it often revolves around hedonic adaptation.