Sam Horn, author of SOMEDAY Is Not A Day in the Week, provides a system for identifying factors in your life that are contributing to—and compromising—your happiness.
"One day you're going to wake up and there won't be any time left to do the things you've always wanted to do." - Paulo Coelho
As I interviewed people for my new book, SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week, it was alarming to hear how many were putting off what was important to them. They felt doing what made them happy wasn’t even an option.
For example, Lisa, a twenty-something in a SOMEDAY salon told me, "I'm working two jobs to pay off college debt. All I do is work and come home. I don't have time to date or go to the gym. It'll be years before I can even think about being happy."
I said, “That’s why it's so important to figure out what you can do to be happier now. Otherwise, years will fly by and you’ll look back with regrets and want a do-over, and it will be too late.”
Lisa pushed back, “You don’t get it. I’m going 6-7 days a week.”
“I do get it. It’s just that, instead of seeing that as an excuse of why you can’t change; see it as incentive to change."
She shrugged and said, “Sam, it's just that it’s been so long since I’ve allowed myself to even think about what I would like to do, I no longer know what that looks like.”
They felt doing what made them happy wasn’t even an option.
If this sounds like you, take this two-minute Happiness Test to help you identify one thing that can immediately improve your quality of life.
First, draw four squares in a row, labeled 1, 2, 3, 4.
Next, answer the following questions and write your responses in the appropriate square. Don't second-guess what comes to mind. Your gut response is usually the most honest response, and that's what we want:
Square 1: “What are you DOING in your life that you WANT TO be doing?” Walking every day? Staying connected with your family? Writing in your journal? Eating healthy?
Square 2: “What are you NOT DOING in your life that you WANT TO be doing?” Not exercising? Not doing work you love? Not traveling? Not doing a favorite hobby? Not meeting people? Not getting enough sleep?
Square 3: “What are you DOING in your life you DON’T WANT TO be doing?” Commuting two hours a day? Over-eating? Spending too much money on things you don’t need? Wasting time on TV or social media? Fighting with someone?
Square 4: “What are you NOT DOING in your life that you DON’T WANT TO be doing?” Yes, this is a double negative. It’s important though because it identifies toxic behaviors you've quit and are successfully keeping out of your life. Maybe you used to smoke and don’t anymore, and you never want to pick up another cigarette.
When you’re finished, circle your responses in squares 1 and 4. That’s what’s “right” with your life, that’s what’s contributing to your happiness.
Now circle your answers in squares 2 and 3. That's what’s “wrong” with your life, that’s what’s compromising your happiness.
Please note: No matter who answers the questions, they will always find things that are “wrong” with their life. None of us is perfect.