Useful to ask, they prompt thought, introspection.
Questions encourage us to question.
Not all are constructive but when you find the right questions to ask the answers can lead to a deepened understanding of us and the world we are in.
Questioning, reflecting, actioning, a process that can (if we choose) prompt us to make changes to optimise life.
With that in mind, I will begin this weeks post with some questions I have asked myself.
Sharing this with you so perhaps you can ask yourself the same.
Does the life that you live work for you, does it bring happiness?
Are you living by what’s best for you?
Or living by what’s expected, or even what you think is expected; and what is it that is expected?
Are you investing your time wisely or are you experiencing life’s great journey on a single track road so intently focused on the destination you ignore all junctions and possible waypoints.
Life has become inevitable.
Choosing to accept things as they are, this in itself isn’t a negative thing. Some things just are, not everything needs to be relentlessly questioned.
However, if acceptance becomes a convenience (the easy option) you may be selling yourself short.
If we allow ourselves to accept situations that simply do not work for us, our happiness can take a back seat, we are now in danger of settling for less.
Settling, what could this look like for you?
It is not a word that I want to use to describe my life.
Fulfilled and happy, yes.
I will ask again,
Does the life that you live, truly, work for you?
There is no doubt in my mind that the recent months have been the perfect time for me to step back and reflect.
Not only because that is all there was to do but because I had been given the space to do so.
In the uncertainty that this time has brought, life has been shaken out of what was ‘normal’. Thrown into finding a new normal, temporary or otherwise, it has been a perfect time to question.
Are you living by what’s best for you?
On the whole this time of reflection has confirmed, or reconfirmed, the following to me:
I love my job.
I am in the right industry for me.
I love the life that I have created for myself.
It has also highlighted to me a fair few things that I can do without.
Mindful that I have already set the wheels in motion when it comes to living a fulfilled life it may seem that changes don’t need to be made if I am already on track.
So I ask: If I am happy, why would I need to change?
For me, the answer to this lies in the idea that in a world where change is inevitable what worked best yesterday may not always be the best option for tomorrow.
Therefore questioning and subsequently adapting your approach daily can be a good way to ensure happiness is sustained or even deepened.
Let us imagine that on reflection you are not entirely satisfied with the current trajectory of your life.
Are you wondering what exactly is it that I am suggesting as a viable solution?
What I am not naively suggesting is that we all immediately quit our jobs if they don’t make us happy or end relationships if they aren’t adding value to our lives. It is highly likely that this won’t be a practical solution and too often things are not that simple.
What I will say is this: You are solely responsible for your own happiness.
If you wake up everyday and are not doing everything within your capabilities to commit to this, you are then doing yourself a great injustice.
You deserve the best
Entrusting your happiness to anyone else can potentially be flawed, it’s a risk. Instead, if we commit to our own happiness we firstly make sure we are physically and mentally in a good place. Additionally, we can add happiness to other people’s lives without being responsible for it but rather building on what’s already there.
What is it that you can do today to set the wheels in motion for a more fulfilled tomorrow?
‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ is a proverb that has certainly stood the test of time. Dedication, consistency and patience – good foundations for happiness & success.
Knowing when to say yes and when to say no
Mindful that your wellbeing should be at the top of your priority list, give thought to what you say yes to.
Allow yourself time to think things through rather than feeling external pressure with expectation into saying yes. If it does not work for you, don’t be afraid to say no.
It is also important to observe opportunities where you should be saying ‘yes’.
Step outside your comfort zone, channel your nerves into excitement and reap the benefits of the possibilities that can bring.
Life Happiness/Fulfilment Checklist
What is optimum?
In true Grace style I hopped over to Google to see what the all powerful internet had to say, this is what I got:
‘best or most favourable; optimum’
How do you know if you are living a life that is best or most favourable for you?
Optimal, in this scenario, will most certainly look different to us all as we all have different needs and wants for life. However, there are a few general indicators of what fulfilled living looks like and I have complied a ‘Life Happiness/Fulfilment Checklist’ to give some examples.
- How do you feel when you wake up everyday?
Ready to start the day, excited for what is ahead. Grateful.
Great, what an amazing feeling to wake up daily with excitement for the day ahead and knowing that there will be aspects of your day which give you true joy!
Observe your first thoughts as you wake up, they may provide interesting insight into your current satisfaction levels.
- Do your relationships bring you joy?
Do the people you choose to surround yourself with add value to your life. When you spend time with them how does it leave you feeling?
Are you maintaining relationships out of habit and doing all the legwork when it comes to meeting up and interacting, if so, why?
People change, our needs change, habit is not enough of a reason to maintain a relationship (of any kind). It may be worthwhile asking does it work for you, does it bring you happiness or is it time to move on?
- Are you making best use of your time?
I am not just talking about how efficiently you use your time but wether you also have a healthy work life balance.
I am going to make a bold statement and say that if you want something enough you will make time. I will give you an example of this with something I have heard a lot over my years in the fitness industry:
‘I don’t have time to exercise’ …
Get up earlier, use your breaks wisely, or better yet engineer your lifestyle so that it becomes more active. Incorporate ‘exercise’ whenever you can by making small changes – such as walking to work or taking the stairs.
- Living in the moment.
Being present in the moment, enjoying the now. This doesn’t have to come at the expense of the future, as by being in moment you are indeed working on creating a great future.
You know when to let go of the past, when it no longer serves you to look back. It is more constructive to focus on pushing forwards.
- You are engaged in your life.
Life isn’t a single track. Let fear take a back seat and say yes, yes to experience and yes to life’s great adventure.
- You feel that your life has meaning and purpose.
This draws on aspects from all of the previous points pulling them together your life has true purpose. You feel satisfied. Your personal and professional life bring you happiness. You feel motivated to conquer challenges that get thrown your way and intrinsically driven by the prospect of creating lasting happiness.
Set your own expectations. Question them. Make sure they are truly yours rather than expectations that have been impressed upon you.
Let me explain. Up until recently a few of the expectations I had for my own life were pulled into question. Was I failing because I hadn’t ‘achieved’ certain things? Or reframing this, was it more of a case that I had chosen a different path setting my own expectations.
After some questioning it became apparent to me that some of the expectations I had for my life weren’t actually things that I necessarily wanted but learnt paths from others around me.
So, be kind to yourself and set you own expectations. Establish your own goals.
Make sure they are true to what you want for yourself.