Let’s make today the day we are no longer going to put off joy in our lives. We can’t wait to be out of a hard season to choose happiness. Joy is a choice that you can make RIGHT NOW. But, to fully understand how to have joy despite our circumstances first we need to understand what joy is NOT.
One of the benefits of being in a trying time is that with it often comes clarity. We begin to see the things in life that we thought would bring us happiness were not the real answer. For example, we know now that success or more money does not bring about joy. You may have a really lucrative career or business but you will find out quickly (if you haven’t already) it is never enough. There is always another project, another promotion, another milestone, another accolade to achieve. The happiness or joy you may feel is fleeting. Similarly, physical pleasures like food may be great to indulge in when you start but if you continue to eat that same food it becomes less desirable. Or that first drink you have may be great but you keep drinking and it becomes miserable. Seeking joy in material things often results in an “I want more” mentality until it gets to a point where you can’t be satisfied by that thing, or that accomplishment any more.
So what is joy? Many have defined it and there are several different opinions on how to achieve joy–but what it comes down to is becoming the BEST version of yourself. To become your best self you really have to understand what intrinsically motivates you. So don’t settle for the second best version of yourself. Don’t settle for lack–be encouraged to strive for that best version of you.
- Take time to get to know YOU.
Really reflect on what you are passionate about. Consider your values. When you understand these things and are true to them then it really lends to happiness. We are happiest when we are ourselves, right? So understanding who you are is such a major part of that.
- State your WHY.
Based on that reflection, claim your purpose. Doing this doesn’t mean that everything will instantly come together. You will still have trials and challenges but you will discover that it is easier to have joy amidst those hardships when you are true to your purpose.
- Inventory your LIFE.
Write down what you do day-to-day and look back on your day and week. It can help you expose talents that you have that you may not have realized. Or help you see where you are wasting your time or where you would rather spend your energy. Circle the things on your inventory that you feel called to do and make those things your priority. Cross out things, delegate or outsource things you feel are a waste of your time.
- Take ACTION.
It’s great to think through what we should be doing and be purposeful but if we don’t actually take action then it’s all for nothing. So be humbly bold. If you have “stated your why” and you know what your vision and values are, when you move forward you can put everything to the test. If some decision or path doesn’t align with that then it will be easier to let it go.
- Change your MINDSET. Get away from the mentality of doing the minimum. Stop considering the threshold and only meeting that threshold. Shoot for excellence. Strive to become the best version of you. Whether you want to be a better business owner, spouse, parent, friend, etc. do the most to make that happen!
Ultimately, the goal is not just to be “busy” or to feel accomplished. That will not lead to joy. The goal is to understand yourself, define your purpose and take intentional action to further that purpose. When you begin doing what you were destined to do then it won’t be hard to rewire years of doing just enough to get by. You will want to achieve and want to progress. Your feeling of joy will be far deeper than it could ever be with a fleeting accomplishment or pleasure.