Coming back to the secrets of a happy life report I mentioned earlier this week, one of the elements that struck a cord with me was the recommendation to not pursue happiness for its own sake, but to enjoy the moment.
I think it's easy, especially in the goal-driven environment city, to get caught up on what you want rather than what you have ... 'I'll be happy when I get a promotion', 'I'll be happy when I can buy a house', 'I'll be happy when I've lost 6lbs'. The problem with this internal mental chatter is that there'll always be another level you'll want to get to, so you'll never actually be finished.
The report also made an excellent point, that people don't understand what makes them happy and pursuing happiness can be self-defeating. Whilst at the same time they are deciding to do something for happiness's sake rather than actually enjoying the activity itself.
Anyone who reads this blog will know I'm all in favour of self-improvement and setting goals, but at the same time on a day to day level we need to learn to enjoy ourselves.
Acknowledge what you're not happy with and want to change, but at the same time accept your current circumstances and then find a way to enjoy yourself as much as possible today. It would be easy to miss out on a whole life of pleasure by trying to get to the next stage instead of enjoying the here and now.
If this is something you struggle with then make a list of everything that has made you genuinely happy in the past ... you might be surprised what crops up. Include a list of activities that make you happy - going to the cinema, seeing friends or just getting some alone time - and then make sure you do one every week - hopefully it'll keep you smiling.