It’s very easy to say that you take responsibility for your life, and then add a caveat that you haven’t reached your goals because some event happened. We can go there, but let’s start smaller first: Be honest with yourself.
It’s extremely hard to admit that you’re standing in the way of your own happiness. Sometimes you don’t want to admit that bingeing a TV show is more enjoyable to you than going out and starting that project that you say you’ve wanted to finish for years now. It’s okay to have TV as a priority, it just doesn’t have to be the only priority. Learning how to identify how things rank in your life will help you to satisfy each aspect of your personality and life goals. Know what matters to you, how it satisfies what you need in life, and how quickly you need or want it to happen. It can be as soon as this moment, or years down the road. Just identify its importance to you.
Knowing how your environment affects your mental state can be the key to unlocking your progress. If you don’t want to get out of bed in the morning because your light blocking shades are confusing your circadian rhythm, if your friends or family dismiss what you say or want to do, if you’re strapped for money…the list goes on. And this list can consist of such minute distractions when said out loud, but have a profound impact on the internal dialogue that we use to convince ourselves not to take action towards the life that we want.
That being said, notice how you talk to yourself. Take responsibility for the words you are choosing to tell yourself. If you continue dismissing yourself, is it because you don’t even believe that you could accomplish this dream? Change your words, identify stepping stones that can get you to where you want to be, take them. It’s okay if your course of action changes as long as you’re honest with yourself about why it’s changing. Sometimes what we thought we wanted was based on a misconception. Self-correct and identify the qualities that attracted you to that goal, and see if you can adjust towards a goal that better aligns with those realistic attributes.
Know how you feel when you are happy – or at the very least happ-ier. Remind yourself of those qualities on a daily basis. By doing this, you’ll be better able to identify triggers that distract you from being that happy person that you enjoy being…and I’m sure that other people prefer to be around. Are there extraneous activities that are stunting this emotion? Can you minimize or completely remove these activities from your life? Streamline your life so that your activities align with your goals. There will be times when there are temporary unpleasant situations that can help you get closer to your goals, just make sure that it is only temporary. It’s very easy to get stuck in something because you lose momentum. Keep reaching for that next step.
Again, be honest with yourself. Are you in a situation longer than you would like simply because you haven’t learned the lessons to get you to the next step? This is not about immediate gratification. Invest your time and energy. Enjoy the process, because if you don’t like the necessary little things – you likely won’t like the bigger picture. Know what you can compromise with, and what are hard No’s for you. Take responsibility for those choices. If necessary, change your course.
Identify positives in your life that you may be interpreting as negatives. More expectations at work? Maybe your boss is entrusting these tasks to you in order to prepare you for a promotion, to test whether you’re ready, or if you simply prefer to complain. If it’s too much, communicate. If they say too bad, then identify an adjusted timeline for completion, and so forth.
If any relationship (including the one with yourself) is encouraging increased negative self-talk, communicate how you’re feeling, try to identify why one or both of your approaches may be resulting in negativity, and go from there. Not everyone is able to effectively or positively resolve conflicts. Be kind. Know yourself. Observe. Be honest. Do what you need to do for yourself in order to allow yourself to choose happiness, as well as ownership for who you are today.