You know that friend that has it all together. AND she’s always beaming. You look at her and think, “that’s a level of happy I just can’t reach.”
Or is it?
What if I told you that a little time spent with your calendar could improve your happiness?
Yes, even if you aren’t a planner.
Before I get into the details, let’s define happiness. Happy is a feel-good word. Another way to look at this is emotional health.
Not everyone is happy all the time. Even Mr. Rogers had his bad days.
He helped kids identify their feelings. Take the lyrics to this song of his for example:
What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?
Mr. Rogers was onto something. It’s how we handle the darker emotions that’s the true sign of our emotional health. If you always react from a place of anger or fear, it’s time to get to work.
You can choose your responses and control your mind. That’s the secret your exuberant friend hasn’t shared.
Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Let’s look at a few ways to use planning to improve your mood:
The holidays take us into the prime time season of burnout. We’re going on a million Target runs. Stuffing holiday cards and creating a winter wonderland in our living room. This on top of your regular list of duties.
This is where your plan becomes your secret weapon.
It’s best to start small.
Say you have a giant launch project for your biggest client staring you down. The temptation is to grab a box of junior mints and not leave your desk until you hit send (or maybe that’s just me).
Before you tear open that box of candy (or your chosen vice), set a 45-minute timer on your phone. When the timer goes off, take a break. It could just be you stand up and stretch at your desk, or you take the dog for a walk around the block.
The key is to stand and move. You’ll return to your work with more energy and renewed focus. It’s even better if you ditch the junior mints.
You can go big ME time.
After my mom’s 8 month battle with brain cancer, I knew I needed to SUPERSIZE ME Time to process losing her. The weekend after her services, I booked a weekend away at a meditation retreat. I needed the space to be alone with my thoughts.
These are two extremes for sure, but the time spent needs to match what you are going through. Listen to your body, but be careful to not fall victim to distractions.
Scrolling Instagram for an hour isn’t restoring your focus.
A California couple used a pyrotechnic device to reveal the gender of their baby in September. The sparks from that explosion ignited a wildfire that burned thousands of acres and took the life of a firefighter.
If you’re not careful, your burnout could spark a wildfire to your world.
Let’s go back to our example of the big client project launch.
Say you pull an all-nighter without a single break to meet the deadline. The next day you’re grumpy and short with your daughter before school. Your daughter fails her Spanish test because of her headspace. She decides not to take Spanish the following year.
It could happen. Odds are your burnout is affecting areas of your life you never suspected.
Burnout is not the price anyone should pay for success.
To create a plan for happiness, know what is causing those negative thoughts. If you already know this... skip to the end.
For those that have more exploring to do, grab a pen and paper. I want you to keep track of your thoughts for the next 2 days. Set a timer to go off every 30 minutes and note how you’re feeling and why. Just quick notes. Don’t let this process take you more than a few minutes.
At the end of your two days, review where you were feeling lousy. What was causing those feelings?
Is it a task like writing copy? That’s a skill you can learn. Dedicate some time to improving or hire it out if that’s an option.
Is it a relationship or an unresolved issue from your past? Plan some time to work on what’s bothering you or let it go. Letting go isn’t easy and you may have to plan some time to work on that too.
In case you need to hear this, you have my permission to go for that next level of happiness. You don’t need my permission, but you need to ditch the excuses that it’s not possible for you.
Maybe all you need is a box of junior mints to feel joy. Bliss out, my friend.
If you need some help for working more of a plan into your life, I can help you build routines.
You don't have to chose between your personal and professional life. Here's my secret weapon for getting the family chaos to calm.