They are two of the most spectacular human beings on the entire planet. Get the three of us together and something magical happens that not even Hermoine Granger could explain. No matter how many years have past, there is an inevitable explosion of laughter, dreaming and vulnerability.
With the windows down and an old Billy Joel cassette tape rocking through the airwaves, I was on happiness overload as beautiful mountains of Utah passed us on either side. Through her crazy sunglasses she asked the simple yet haunting question, “are you happy?” After a long pause, I winced and said, “define happy,” and thus a long and beautiful conversation began.
In December 2011 I found myself again in the dark strongholds of depression (the topic of my manuscript, stay tuned). In that valley I asked myself, “what would I have to do to make 2012 the best year of my life?” I had this crazy idea that I eventually called The One Thing Movement.
I did one thing everyday that made my life better or made the world a better place and took a picture of it. The result was by far the most joyful season I’ve ever experience. Not because it was easy or only good things happened to me, but because I took time to discover what makes me happy and I recklessly pursued those things.
So without further ado, (ahem) I present to what I have learned about chasing Happiness.
1. Do One Small Thing Everyday
Paint a fresh coat. Hand out meals at a homeless shelter. Send a thank you card. Donate Blood. Volunteer at a crisis nursery. Organize a closet.
Find one thing today that will make your life or someone elses life a little better (especially on the days you don’t feel like it). Your life won’t change in a day but set aside time each day to make progress and photograph what you’ve done. As the weeks go by, look and smile at the progress you’ve made.
2. Experiences over Materialism.
Cancel your Netflix. Join a crazy improv class. Cook a new recipe. Go for a hike. Go visit the World’s Largest Ball of Twine wrapped by one man! Sign up for The Color Run!
I was not always a person who liked trying new things. I’ve learned that every time I push through the uncomfortable I become a little more fearless and find a little more life. An adventure and the accompanying memories will make you light-years happier the latest gadget or new material thing (unless it’s an iPhone, sorry those things are magical).
3. Make a Healthy Choice (or 3)
Read labels. Choose fewer processed foods. Get 8 hours of sleep. Drink more water. Get some exercise.
Just focus on being healthy – forget all the junk our culture force feeds us about abs and waist lines. Start small, make little goals towards a healthier lifestyle and CELEBRATE when you do something awesome. You will feel a million times better after a workout than the 10 seconds of happiness from eating a box of Oreo’s. You can do it.
4. Choose to Love the Hardest People in Your Life.
If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. – Matthew 5:46 (MSG)
When people hurt you, respond with love. It’s crazy hard, but blessing someone who has caused you pain will make you feel a million times better and show them you’re living a life set apart.
The bottom line is Happiness is not a destination, my friends. Stop thinking about “happily ever after” and focus on the here and now. Happy is a mood, like feeling sad, tired, or hungry-it comes and it goes and it’s something you have to work hard at. Yes, some seasons are more joyful than others, but you are completely in control of this thing. You are steering your ship.
Life is too short to be anything but ridiculously happy. It takes fight and vulnerability. It requires saying no to the wrong things so the right things can find you. It means valuing yourself enough to chase your dreams and give your life everything you have.
Put yourself in a position to love every detail of your existence and choose to chase happiness. I like you happy.
What makes you happy? Comment below!
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