All around the world, COVID-19 has made many people take a step back and reflect on topics such as mental health, happiness and how we go about our everyday life. Even after an entire year of quarantining through this pandemic, I still can’t help but think deeply about these difficult topics and whether I have improved or not in these areas of my life.

I’d love to tell you that I am exceeding in all the topics mentioned in the last paragraph, but that wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is global pandemic or not, these topics are always going to be difficult to prosper in. I didn’t tell you this to discourage you, but rather be realistic with you because when you are more realistic with yourself, the easier it is to make a change in your life.

  1. Be Realistic

That leads me to my first tip on living a happier life, being realistic. It is always a good idea to be a positive person and expect the best from everyone you encounter. I recommend this in all aspects of your life. However, you need to be realistic with yourself and others to truly solidify your improved lifestyle. What do I mean by that? Set standards you can actually reach.

When people consume something inspirational, they have this burning fire inside them that gets them hype for their goal. However, the fire normally doesn’t last long because they were a little too unrealistic with themselves in the beginning. I will give you an example to clarify: Your friend is about fifty pounds over weight and wants to make a change to improve their health. This is great. They decided to start working out everyday and cutting off sugar to get the ball rolling on. This is not too great.

The idea of working out everyday and cutting out sugar isn’t a bad idea. However, it is just unrealistic for someone overweight that hasn’t seen the gym in years to make such a dramatic change. Instead of setting the standard too high, start low and work your way up to your true big goals in life. This is really going to make the difference in your long term success.

2. Write down what truly makes you happy

Happiness is a deep concept that can often get mistaken for joy. What is the difference? said it best in their Joy Vs Happiness article:

“Joy is the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. Happiness is a state of well-being and contentment; a pleasurable or satisfying experience.”

I interpret these definitions as joy being a more temporary “in the moment” feeling and happiness is more of a long lasting mindset. Many people find joy in shopping or media consumption, but that is not really the list I am looking for. When you strip away the little joys in life, what continues to give you hope and comfort?

This is not an easy question and is set in place for you to start thinking about what truly makes you happy. I see people confuse happiness and joy all the time. I even do it myself from time to time. That is why a list is very critical when evaluating what actually makes you happy so you can reference it when you are down and out. For example, I use to think that going to coffee shops with old friends brought me happiness.

When reflecting on the difference of the two terms, I realized the coffee visits where just small burst of joy I felt throughout the day. I came to realize the difference between joy and happiness in these moments because after my peaked coffee outing, something was still missing when I was all alone in my room.

3. Other people don’t make you happy

This is the biggest and most important take away from today’s blog post. It is also the hardest tip for me to give and take. For most of my life, I always thought other people made me happy. I was very wrong. Human interaction is critical to life since we are social creatures, but that doesn’t mean that people are responsible for your happiness.

You are the ultimate factor in your life and it is solely up to you whether you want to happy or not. You can’t put your hope in other people because it will just end in failure. You need to take responsibility for your mindset and stop blaming people for how you feel. Let us take the typical American husband and wife, the wife is unhappy because her husband does (fill in the blank.) The husband is unhappy because his wife does (fill in the blank.)

This typical married couple is just relying too much on one another to fill gaps they are perfectly capable of filling themselves. Now, I am not saying to completely neglect your spouse’s wants and need for your own happiness. I am saying that when you take control of your happiness by looking in the mirror. When you establish your own happiness, that strong emotion will follow you to other aspects of your life, including your marriage.

Thank you so much for reading my blog post to the very end. I really hoped you enjoyed it and gained something while reading it. If you did, don’t forget to follow my social media and subscribe to my blog to stay up to date for more amazing content! Tell me, what makes you truly happy in the comment section below: