If so, chances are you are reflecting back on the year and feeling pretty darned happy. Chances are also that you were happy a lot of the time, in spite of setbacks and goals that you may not have reached.
It’s easy to beat ourselves up at the end of the year thinking about all that was left unsaid or undone. We often think that if we simply had completed or achieved that elusive goal we set previously that we would be “happy.” That is not always the case.
Author Oliver Burkeman’s book “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” concludes that happiness isn’t a constant state of excitement or upbeat emotions. That takes an enormous amount of effort to maintain, and doesn’t exactly jibe with reality for most of us. Burkeman discovered through research that positive thinking can actually make us more unhappy because the more we focus on it exclusively, the harder it is to achieve.
Here are the top 5 tips to shift your definition of happiness for 2024
Focus on the moment. Imagine how you would be alright if you didn’t meet your goal.
Keep goal setting in perspective. Relentless over-pursuit of goals can actually make us less successful and less happy because we distort other aspects of our life while trying to reach the goal and then are still not happy once we have it.
Embrace uncertainty. Successful leaders learn to tolerate uncertainty and act in spite of it all the while moving forward.
Use goals as a compass vs. as a target; take action, even a small step in the desired direction.
Don’t pretend: Trying to feel differently than you really feel by repressing your emotions can induce more shame and frustration. Be at peace with what you are feeling and trust that it will pass
Feel the highs and the lows of the emotional spectrum; both sides have value for the human experience.
Burkeman concludes that happiness exists often when we experience the emotion of awe; it combines wonder with a sort of fear. By being open to both sides of the emotional range, we can live and lead with authentic happiness.
Make 2024 the year you live and lead in awe.
To learn more about how you can develop this and other important leadership skills you might not yet know, I hope you’ll check out my new book, “Inner Switch: 7 Timeless Principles to Transform Modern Leadership.” You can purchase it from your favorite online retailer at https://susansfreeman.com/books/inner-switch/
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