If you can’t accept what you have in your life and be happy with it, then you need to make a plan for a change. There can be plenty of types of changes that occur to make you happier. Take an inventory of what you need in order to reach true happiness.
Maybe you need to improve relationships with your family and friends. Maybe you need more time for yourself and for your hobbies. Less stress about money can help you to be happier. Accepting yourself and being positive can also be part of the plan for change.
One of the biggest barriers for change is time. People feel that they just don’t have enough of it. By saying no as talked about in a previous chapter, you can open up time. Start to carve out those period of down time on your monthly calendar before you fill it up with everything else.
In order for change to occur, you have to be willing to embrace it. Change isn’t going to come easy, and it can take time and patience. You need a plan of action to help you get there. For example, if you want to become more active, develop a plan that allows you to exercise 30 minutes a day. If the day tends to get away from you, carve out time first thing in the
morning. If you are sluggish in the morning though the afternoon may be a better option.
Next, find activities that you enjoy so that you won’t try to get out of it. Exercise needs to be something you look forward to rather than trying to avoid. When it comes to change, you won’t always get to take part in activities you like. That is where discipline comes into the picture.
When that is the case, think about how enjoyable it is going to be when you do make those changes. Visualize the level of happiness it will give you to stop smoking or to complete your degree. That will help you to be motivated and to move forward with the necessary tasks.
Get encouragement and support from family and friends. Let them know what you want to change and why. If you are surrounding yourself with good people, they will encourage you and be proud of your efforts. This support also holds you to a higher level of accountability than before.
You may find that you get a buddy to help you make the change with too. For example, your spouse may decide they will stop smoking or they will make diet and exercise changes along with you. It sure is easier to do something like that with someone than on your own!
Finally, have a way to track your progress and reward your efforts. If you are consistently working out day after day, treat yourself to something such as a new CD or a night at the movies.
You want the rewards to be consistent with what you have in place for your ultimate goal. For example, if you are planning to complete a four year degree, a reward at the end of each completed semester is a good idea. However, you should have a very large reward waiting for yourself come graduation day!
Keep in mind that you don’t have to take care of everything on your own. There are resources out there to help you with your plans for change. If you want to feel better, talk with your doctor. If you want to eat better, sit down with a dietician. A financial planner can help you with budgeting and with retirement. Use the resources that make it easier for you to have a clear path to your goals.
Write it Down
Your plan of action for change and a happier you should be written down. This makes it more concrete. Have a start date and an end date for reaching your ultimate goal. If the goal is large and long term, break it down so you have mini steps to achieve along the way. Being able to celebrate that success will keep you motivated.
At regular intervals, evaluate your plan of action for change. Are you happier? Do you feel the plan is still working for you? If not, revamp it. You may find that tweaking certain elements of your plan allow you to get beyond any pitfalls that you didn’t foresee in your path.