It’s time to look at creating a happiness plan! After all, the biggest goal in life is to be happy. It doesn’t matter what you have or what you do – happiness is fundamentally the greatest success and the thing that matters the most. So why do we push ourselves so hard? Why is it not always that simple or easy?
Well, because there are many different things that contribute to happiness. Many aspects of our lives that we have to ‘master’ in order to feel truly happy. And you want to master them…
Most people (and I know it’s true for you, because you’re here, reading this right now) aren’t content with just’ getting by.’ You want to create the strongest relationships with the people you care about. You want to push yourself to do, experience, achieve and have, all these amazing things (and more!)… To get the most juice from life.
It’s about being happy in ALL aspects of your life, and working on the areas which could be improved to reach those highest levels. You don’t want to settle for less. And why should you? Life is so short. We have no idea how long we even have on this planet. So it’s our responsibility to seize the day. To do everything we can, to be the best, happiest versions of ourselves that we can be.
For this reason, mapping out a happiness plan doesn’t just have to be when you feel like you’re in a bad place. (You very well might be right now – and all the more credit to you for not giving in and actually taking action!) In fact, a happiness plan is not just about FIXING things… Instead, it’s about looking at the areas that can be improved, so that you can fill the gaps and make it the best it can be.
So what do we do? Where do we start?
How To Create a Happiness Plan
So the good news is – ANYONE can create a happiness plan. It’s flexible and easy. There’s no ‘rules’ as such.
As a starting point to creating a happiness plan however, you want to first review what makes you happy, what doesn’t, anything that’s holding you back from being as happy as you could be and the key areas you want to work on. Makes sense right? For this reason, I’m going to ask you some questions to get you thinking…
Grab a notepad and start jotting down the answers. Or, if that’s too old-school for you: open a new document on your laptop, or a new ‘notes’ section on your phone. Whatever you prefer.
The most important part is that you do write it down. This will help you process your thoughts better and give you something to refer back to. It’s what is going to create the bulk of your happiness plan, so it’s fundamental.
You ready? (Eek, exciting!) Okay then, let’s jump straight in…
The Key Areas Of Your Happiness Plan
Let’s jump straight in with how to make a happiness plan, by running through what exactly you need to create it.
1) Identify what makes you happy.
Let’s start with things nice, light and breezy! It sounds like such a simple question right? Yet so often we’re not even fully aware of what makes us happy. To dig a little deeper, I want you to ask yourself:
- When are you at your happiest? What are you doing at those moments in time? And what kind of thoughts are going through your head?
- What things do you wish you could do more of? Again, why?
- How about anything that you have in your life, which brings you happiness? (These don’t have to be physical objects. EG It could be strong friendships, a close family, a good career, etc.)
- In what situations are you the happiest? And why? What is it about that, that makes you happy?
- Which times in your life have you been the happiest and why?
- Are there certain people that make you happy? What is it about the relationship that makes you feel good?
Really think about it. Don’t just make assumptions. Look further. Explore closer. This is just the starting point to probe you.
2) Identify the areas of your life that you’re not happy with right now.
The things that area bothering you, the things that can get you pretty down. These may be obvious things, that have been playing on your mind for a while, you might even have started working on them, or they may be deeper rooted issues that you’ve been trying to avoid.
Face up to them – even if it’s pretty painful to admit and address. It’s hard, I know. But these are the things that are really going to change how happy you are.
Remember, if we can’t change the circumstance, we can still always change the outlook. But you can’t do that until you accept that they’re there. So no more hiding. Okay?
3) Identify the areas of your life that could be improved.
This isn’t to say that your life is BAD (it’s not!) – there’s just certain aspects that could be BETTER.
So for example, you might have a great relationship with your partner, but still feel isolated and alone without a social life to complete it. Or perhaps you’re smashing your work, as this strong kick-ass independent woman, but still go to bed every night feeling alone.
It may also not be as extreme as that. There may be certain aspects of your life that are just “okay” in which case you can assess how important they are to you, and if it’s worth taking some time away from other things, to put a little extra time onto those.
We can’t do everything, but we can do anything. That’s why your happiness plan is shaped around YOU and what’s most important to you.
4) Identify any habits that you have, that don’t make you feel good.
Again, don’t just automatically assume. For instance, that weekend binge drinking – you might enjoy it in the moment, you might feel like you’re living for it even – but how hard does it hit you the next day? And is it really worth it? What does it stop you from doing? What does it actually take away?
Or that extreme diet you’ve been doing on and off for the past six months – yeah it may be knocking off a few extra pounds but does it really make you feel good? Is it really the healthiest way to do it? And do you have a healthy mindset when it comes to your weight and body image?
Or perhaps you have other habits that you know aren’t good in your life, but you can’t quite find the motivation to stop. The willpower just isn’t 100% there for the change to actually happen. They make you happy in the moment – so if you want to start to shift them, you need to stop thinking short term and instead, look long-term.
Think of the impacts, think of the pain-points, build up those strong reasons why it’s so important to break them for good now.
These are all physical habits. Alongside this I want you to think of mental ones like:
- Self Sabotage
- Self Doubt
- Negative Self Talk
The list could go on and on. You want to look for the things that AREN’T serving you.
5) Identify any limiting beliefs that may be knocking you down or holding you back.
Building on from these points now (we’re nearly there I promise!), I want you to think about any limiting beliefs that you may have and how they’re affecting you. If you’re not sure which ones you actually hold, click here, and have a go at this exercise.
These could be things like what you think you need in yourself in order to feel completely happy (like a relationship for example) or what certain things / situations mean to you (these limiting beliefs are often tied into insecurities and low self-worth.) Let me explain that further as it actually closely related to thinking habits…
When something bad happens, how do you typically react? What do you say to yourself? What questions do you ask? For instance…
Situation: Someone ghosts you when dating.
Limiting Belief: Whenever I’m interested in someone, they never feel the same way back. I’m just unloveable.
Thoughts: See, I knew this was going to happen. I knew I wasn’t good enough.
Questions: Why do I always do this? What is wrong with me?
They all tie in together, you see. So when working on your limiting beliefs, also work on recognising your thinking patterns and how you can improve them. This leads me onto my final “activity” if you like…
6) Identify any skills or strengths that you could develop to make you feel better.
So just like you’re going to work on improving and removing your limiting beliefs and negative thinking patterns, the last thing you can do as part of your Happiness Plan is to figure out what else you can work on – which would help you to live a happier, healthier life.
For instance, if you find there’s often problems created in your relationship with unnecessary conflict, perhaps you might want to work on your communication skills. Or perhaps you love your fitness, you’re considering a career in this, but it’s not quite an option just yet. In that case you might like to get some more “skills” or qualifications in that area in order for you to pursue that.
You see? These are solutions or enhancements that are going to come in super handy!
You could actually think of something for anything. Even if it’s just identifying something you’d like to learn more about through books or audio or programmes, etc. Work through each area of your life, and ask yourself – how can I develop here? What would benefit me? What would I like to do or focus on for this?
Break Down The Different Aspects of Your Life and Give Each a Ranking.
After this, you’re going to have a LOT you can work on. But don’t worry, you don’t need to feel overwhelmed. The next thing you can do for your Happiness Plan is to analyse your list. Isolate the key areas for improvement – get specific and clear on what you ARE happy with and what you AREN’T. Then of the things that you aren’t, identify the most “urgent” areas to start.
Create a list of priorities by rating each area of improvement on a scale of 1-10 for the level of importance and power that they have in your life. This will help you to re-order your list and focus on the most important areas first.
Know That You Don’t Need To Be Perfect
Just know, that in all of this, you don’t need to be perfect. We can all change, improve and grow, but we’re never going to be perfect… and that’s okay. No-one actually is! If you put your happiness on the goal of being perfect, you will NEVER be happy. It’s impossible, a losing battle, a complete waste!
So before you go to pull together your happiness plan, just start to get clearer on your strengths and weaknesses as a person. What can be improved? What can be worked on? And to what capacity? Self-awareness is key.
Not all negatives are make-or-break negatives. In fact, they kind of just make you, you. So understand that, accept and appreciate that and put your focus on the areas that you do thrive and the weaknesses that you know can be improved.
Some Of These Things Could Be Solved With Mindset Shifts
I also want to further highlight the power of your mind, when it comes to many things. So before we go any further, I want you to look at your answers you’ve written down – starting at the top with the negative things that affect you the most – and review them.
I want you to ask yourself:
- Is this reasonable? Should I really feel this way about this? Are my expectations realistic or is it my thought process around this that is actually causing the problems here?
For example, you may not be happier because you feel like a failure. You’re thriving in your work. By most people’s standards you’re doing well. But for you – you’re not happy, you don’t feel satisfied. It’s just not enough – even if it should be.
If you can understand that this lack of happiness is coming from a mental set-back as oppose to the actual results you’re getting in that area, you then know to work on those deep-rooted issues for WHY you feel the way you do, as opposed to working harder to achieve more (and ending up burning yourself out in the process!)
It’s therefore fundamental that you can differentiate from what’s reasonable and what’s not. You also need to consider…
- How long have I felt this way? Is this a natural response to something that’s happened in my life or is it something that I’ve always been unhappy about?
For instance, you may be feeling lonely which is making you unhappy. However, if you’ve recently gone through a break up – this is to be expected. You’re still in the adjustment period. Some things you just have to ride out. Do what you can for sure, but still, ride them out and accept that for a short period in your life, you’re probably not going to feel 100%.
Be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable when you need because you can’t AVOID these emotions. You simply have to feel them. Click here to read more on that.
Let’s Pull It Altogether Into a Happiness Plan
So now you have a thorough understanding of where you’re at – the things that are helping you and the things that are not – we can begin to tie it together into a diary / action plan. That’s right, it’s time to put you back in full control of your own happiness!
What I want you to do is gather your notes into two key sections:
- First off, the things you’re doing that are good for you, the things that make you happy and the things you’d like to do more of.
- Then, the problem areas / tasks / key areas you need to work on to make yourself happier.
We’re then going to do two things…
1. With The Things That Make You Feel Good:
I want you to start isolating these activities and allocating time into your diary to do more of them. So for example, if you know that you feel good when you’re working out, create new routines that allow you to get some time for fitness in every day (or every other day at least!) Prioritise the things that are important. The things that will lead to greater levels of happiness in your life. You also need to make some time for the things that need to be worked on…
2. With The Areas That Need To Be Worked On:
This may require a little more thought. It may also be a case of trial and error. So, for example, let’s say one of the things that ISN’T making you happy right now, is the doubt you have over the relationship that you’re in. It’s easy to say “well just leave then” but it’s not always that simple. It’s going to take some time and proper processing, until you can make a decision you’re happy with.
There may be things you can do to strengthen your relationship (try these first) but you may also come to the conclusion that it’s just not right and – at this point – you’ll have to have the strength to walk away. Just make sure – whatever you do – you’re not wasting time by burying your head in the sand. Take action to ensure you’re not staying in the same place. Whichever path you take, you’re moving forward.
Another example, is you may have identified some key insecurities or limiting beliefs that are causing problems. You may not immediately know what to do to work through these – so research, see if you can remove them yourself, and if you’re still struggling, invest in a therapist or coach to help you. You don’t have to do EVERYTHING by yourself and it’s so worth it, because this support gets you the results you need, faster and easier.
There Will Be Some Cross Overs
You may also take things from your ‘feel good’ list and create action tasks from that to get MORE of the GOODNESS! So for example, let’s say having meaningful relationships in your life makes you happy. You do have some strong relationships that you want to continue to build on, but you’d also like to make more.
- With this, you would block time into your diary to see your loved ones. PLEASE NOTE: you can also combine multiple things so if you know doing things and being active make you happy – why not organise an activity to do with friends and family… two birds with one stone as they say.
- You would also do a brainstorm to see how you could build more meaningful connections. So for this you may think: okay, let’s go to a new meet-up group, or let’s start dating, perhaps I could join a new club to find more people like me, or get myself to a networking event.
- From your brainstorm you’d then have some more action tasks that can be scheduled in your diary. These things may push you out of your comfort zone, but they’re ultimately working towards the things that make you feel good – so they’re worth it.
- Alongside action tasks, you may have some mental work to do. So let’s say meaningful relationships make you feel good – awesome. But it may also be worthwhile to do some work on learning how to become happy on your own, how to stop needing validation from others to feel good. We’re not taking away from the fact that good people make you feel good – that’s fine. But we’re also making sure that your worth isn’t dependent on that. You see?
It’s Time To Get Creating…
So there we have it! There’s a lot to take in here, I know. But don’t stress or feel overwhelmed. Start with the things that have the most influence on your life right now, the things that are having the biggest impact on your sense of happiness and wellbeing. Start with the BIG BOYS 😉 and then gradually work through each component, bit by bit.
It’s going to take time. It’s not going to be instant. So don’t feel the pressure to tackle everything at once. Feel proud of each new change you make and each step forward you take towards creating a happier, fuller, more fulfilling life.
You have everything you need now to start building the base of your Happiness Plan. There’s no right or wrong way to go about it. Organise it in a way that works best for you. It’s flexible… and it should be FUN! So get excited about this. And most importantly, start to apply it!
Liked this post? Be sure to share it with others to help them out too. Get stuck along the way with it? No problem – simply get in touch and I’d be more than happy to help you out!
Take care. Best wishes. And here’s to making 2021 YOUR YEAR (even with that damn covid still lingering!!)
Lots of love,