Most of us assume we’ll be happy when…
…you have the right job
…you meet the right person
…you finally retire
Or some other personally-tailored version of “When X, then joy”.
But you’ve probably also noticed that joy doesn’t work this way.
Even if you find fleeting satisfaction in achieving a new milestone, you almost always want something next. Your happiness goal posts move.
Why? Because joy doesn’t come from the outcome.
I know you’ve heard it before but it’s true:

Happiness is a function of being, not of achieving.

Which means if you want to feel happier – if you want to live in a joyful, contented state – you need to stop focusing on the results you desire and start focusing on the feelings you desire.
Because happiness breeds happiness.
The more you focus on feeling good – and doing the things that bring you joy – the more joy you’ll feel.
It’s that simple.

Which doesn’t mean it’s easy.

To feel good doing the things that make you feel good, you have to give up a lot:

– Believing advertising when it says you need more to be complete.
– Believing society when it tells you that only certain life paths succeed.
– Believing your friends, family, and loved ones when they justify your complaints & stories about why you can’t feel happy now.
Instead you have to prioritize the one and only thing you can know is true – how you feel. Then – against all training, culture, and impulse – you have to act in alignment with your joy.
You have to do the things that make you feel deeply happy, no matter how crazy, off-track, or pointless they seem.
They don’t have to be big. It may seem to you that I started my journey to joy when I sold my house, quit my job, and moved to New Zealand. But I didn’t start with such big, bold moves.

Years before my big leap, I started small – with a weekly yoga class. Then I took up cycling, running, and joined a book club.

I slowly built up my happiness muscle, and in return, it’s guided me more and more clearly. But I’m still building it today. I still get caught up thinking “When I publish a book…”, “When I make more money…”, “When I get married….” then I’ll be happy.
But no amount of money or achievements will satisfy you if you haven’t practiced feeling satisfied along the way.
Because joy comes from the decision to be happy, no matter what.
So start small today – sign up for a writing course, join a knitting circle, or start building model trains.
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re following your own trail of satisfaction towards joy.
Be free. Be brave. Be YOU!