Am I happy?
Well, are you? How much do you smile during the day? How easy is it to let things slide? How do you feel when you wake up in the morning? How often do you suffer from pangs of jealousy, guilt, or resentment?
What’s going on right now?
Take out a piece of paper. List everything in your life that you like – down to the little details. (“I like my car, my dog, my time to get coffee and read the paper on Sunday mornings; I like nice bottles of wine, my handsome salary, the heirloom hutch upstairs. I like these things about my job.”) Whatever. List everything you like.
Now list everything you don’t like – be really analytical about it; challenge yourself to drill down to the details. Don’t just say “my job.” Be specific. What about your job do you dislike?
What should I improve?
Take both lists. First, identify things from the “happy” list that you could feasibly increase (and still receive the same enjoyment – while you may like yoga, you may or may not want to do it for two more hours a day.) Then, identify things from the “unhappy” list that are the biggest culprits, and target the top one or two.
How can I improve those things?
We make time for the things that are truly important to us. Especially in our leisure time, we build our lives based on what we choose to do with it. If you want to fish more, do it. On the flip side, begin to whittle away at the negative things – set boundaries with your boss on how late you’re willing to work or share your vision for the direction of your career. And actually do it.
How did that go?
How efficient were you in taking these steps. How long did it take your motivation to manifest as action? How effective were your actions in achieving measurable changes? Was the experience positive? What roadblocks did you encounter? Many of us feel a bit paralyzed the first time we try to go about things like this. I think that’s pretty normal – the point is to take this experience and use it as fuel next time around.
Am I happy?
You certainly should be. If not, are you happier? If so, you’re moving in the right direction.