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The Last Step to Happiness

August 2, 2016

 

Are you waiting for everything in your life to line up perfectly so that you can finally be happy?

 

Or do you feel that somehow you ended up with a crummy life while everyone else got a better deal?

 

If you answered "yes" to either of these questions (or even "maybe"), this three-part series on happiness is for you!

 

Why?

 

Because happiness is achievable and is within your reach.

 

If you haven't already read the first two posts in the series, head back and catch up by clicking the first two links in the list below. 

 

1. Accept your life as it is right now.

2. Shift the perspectives that are holding you back.

 

And now for the final ingredient in my happiness recipe:

 

3. Change your experience of life. 

 

You are thisclose to being happier. Here we go!

 

How to Change Your Experience of Life

 

If you aren't particularly happy, and you are engaging in the same activities, jobs, and tasks, and associating with the same people day in and day out, your life is mostly likely going to carry on as it is. If being happy your goal, it's time to change the way you live your life.

 

What does this mean? It means doing things differently:

 

  • Take risks.

  • Step out of your comfort zone.

  • Do something new.

  • Accept a challenge.

  • Stretch yourself.

 

Let me give you an example.

 

I have been a real chicken when it comes to traveling since I developed a variety of health conditions about 20 years ago. Since then, I have stayed fairly close to home in my travels in order to feel safe and be near top quality health care facilities (just in case). I have only gone to “safe” destinations. I haven’t taken risks and haven’t been adventurous. However, this year I decided all that was going to change. My health had stabilized and I wanted to have more fun. And I like adventure, dammit!

 

Enter my trip to Barbados this spring. I stretched myself and took risks in the following ways:

 

  • I chose a destination over 10 flying hours from home.

 

  • I went on a catamaran ride and snorkelled off the back of the boat in the Carribean Sea.

     

 

  • We went on a tour of the island with a local who we hired off the beach (after checking him out on Trip Advisor, of course! I'm not that adventurous).

 

To some people that might not sound all that adventurous, but to me, it was a big deal. I left my comfort zone and as a result experienced not only delight, joy, and happiness, but increased confidence as well. I proved to myself that I am capable of taking a risk and that when I do, great things can happen.  Changing my experience of life was 100% worth it. 

 

Thanks to the boost and perspective shift, I’m ready to be even more adventurous. Next up somewhere I haven’t been in over 15 years: Europe Had I not gone to Barbados and experienced the increased confidence that came with a successful trip, I would not be planning a holiday to Europe. The behaviour (going to Barbados) changed my thoughts (I can now travel further from home than I had originally thought) and my emotions (I am happy, excited and proud of myself). I changed my experience of life, and as a result increased my happiness. (Note that you can move through the diagram below in the reverse direction as well).

 

 

When you do things differently, you get different results. All it takes is a change in behaviour. Don’t overthink it, just try doing something that you wouldn't normally do. This could be something big, like taking a trip or switching jobs, or something on the smaller side, like asking someone out on a date or simply smiling at people on the street as you go by.

 

Just remember, if you keep waiting to act, good things won’t just happen “to” you. You have to make them happen for yourself.  And once you start investing in yourself and your happiness, you will most definitely get results. When you start to change the way you do things, your life can't help but change. 

 

With that in mind, what is one big risk you would like to take?

 

Great, now go for it!

 

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