If you were to reflect on some times in your life when you thoroughly enjoyed yourself, you loved doing what you were doing, and you wanted those moments to last forever, what were you doing? And when was the last time you had some moments like that?
In his book, Happy: Simple Steps for Getting the Life You Want, Dr. Ian Smith says, "It is easy to get lost in the routine of doing what we need to do to get by. But if we don't draw a line at some point and become determined that our life passions are no longer going to take a back seat, then we can easily spend the rest of our life engaged in routine, unfulfilling activities. At the end of the day these mundane tasks aren't bringing us joy but are only allowing us to check off another item on our to-do list."
Some days it seems as though there are a lot of routine, mundane, unfulfilling activities that need to get done, and yes they help our lives, our family's lives, and our jobs run more smoothly. But how much does it seem like that is all you do?
I remember a time in my life when it seemed like that was about all I did. I don't believe I came into this world wired up to be organized; it's not really my temperament or in my gift set. But once I became a mother, in desperation, I finally figured out I needed to learn to get organized. I decided to take one year and go on an adventure of learning about organization, and I found that life did flow much more smoothly as a result. At the end of most days, I started being able to check off items on my "to do" list, which was new for me. For a while, I felt excited that I had finally learned the secrets of being organized, but I eventually discovered the downside to it. It meant I was spending most of my days doing mundane, routine activities, and it still took a huge effort for me to stay organized. After the initial excitement wore off, I realized that staying organized did not help me be happier. Finally, I said to myself, "I can get organized, and I could stay organized, but if I do, it will be all I ever do with my life. I'm not willing to give up doing so many things I love just so I can stay organized." The wonderful benefit of that one-year experiment is that I apparently developed neural pathways in my brain about getting organized, which has benefited my life in a bunch of ways. However, doing what I loved the most took a backseat to all of that, and I found myself being less happy.
Since happier people are those who do more of what they love, more of what energizes them, and more of what they are passionate about, what would it take for you to decide that what you love doing is no longer going to take a backseat?
What if you were to spend some time making a list of 10 - 20 or more activities you love doing? Maybe even think back to your younger days about some things you loved to do and put them on the list if they still resonate with you. What would it do for you physically, emotionally, and spiritually if you started putting more of those kinds of activities into your life? How might it increase your level of happiness if you were to choose to more regularly do some things you love doing?
I love the philosophy of CEO and founder of Dream University, Marcia Wieder, "Fill your life with as many moments and experiences of joy and passion as you humanly can. Start with one experience and build on it."
What could be that one experience for you?
(Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages)