"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get." Dale Carnegie
With the calendar year rolling past the first of January, the temptation to set goals and new resolutions is ripe. Often buoyed by our over-indulgences through the festive season, we may set out on our 2013 adventure planning on eating better, exercising more and climbing towards the goals we missed out on last year. You may want to work more, work less, travel or stay at home and do more work around the house. Whatever it is that you'd like to stamp on your 2013 and look back in December thinking "oh yeah, what a year!", I encourage you to take a moment to consider this question: are your actions bringing you closer to being the person you want to be, having the quality of relationships that you want to have and improving the quality of your life experience? If they do, embrace it and pursue the goal passionately! If they don't, perhaps the goal needs a little tweaking or you might find it helpful to add some actions that attend to these parts of your life.
I'm not saying avoid hard work, quit your job and become a hippy who moves to the beach, surfs and eats only organically grown local produce (although for some - me included - a few of those things sound pretty good!). Rather, simply take the time to ponder what it is that makes you happy, makes you smile. That fills you with a sense of vitality. You can try working backwards: set your goal and then ask yourself what it means to you and what kind of personal qualities it will bring out of you in your pursuit of it (determined, dedicated, loving, giving, etc). This can work well if you feel trapped and restricted in what you do ("I have to go to work!").
You can also work forwards: think about the moments in your life that have made you the happiest, made you smile, filled your heart and given you little glimpses into what the richness of life can feel like. Then plan for more of those everyday moments! For me, this year I am going to try and enjoy every coffee I have with my full attention, the aroma, the taste, the warmth of the cup (I could be unrealistic and say I'll drink less caffeine but then I'd just be setting myself up to fail!). I will use it as my time out from the day, to get rid of a 'mind full' of clutter by being more mindful.
Success and Happiness. Both worth striving for. But not always the same thing.
Have a wonderful start to the year :)
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