“Happiness isn’t found in some finite checklist of goal that we can diligently complete and then cost. It’s how we live our lives in the process.” Arthur Books
Not happy. Happier. I stole my 2024 mantra from a book co-authored by Oprah Winfrey and Arthur Brooks. After all, who doesn’t want to be happy? To experience the dopamine-induced high that comes with being fully present and celebrating a moment of pure bliss? The problem is happiness is fleeting. Just writing about a Pollyana moment is exhausting and far from sustainable. But, pursuing a life that is overall happier? One that acknowledges life is hard, messy, far from perfect, but that you can still find ways to improve your overall happiness? And, there’s even science to back it up? Now that’s something this Gen X’er can get behind.
In 2023, I set out to create more alignment in my life. A deep dive into seeing the gaps of where I spend my time, money, and energy and whether that’s a reflection of the person I want to become. I’m not going to lie – there was a disconnect between who I think I am and how I show up in the world. Closing in on that gap was somewhat painful but inspiring. I found myself creating big boundaries, kindly dismissing some people from my board room table (many of whom I don’t even think knew they had that type of influence over me), investing in my writing, digging deeper into my health journey, holding space for margin in my life, and recognizing how an exceptionally frugal, scarcity money mindset steals joy.
I’m ending 2023 closer to the goalpost. Which is saying something since who I want to become, evolves as I evolve. I find myself looking a lot more inward on my energy. Who brings me energy? What brings me energy? How do I expend my energy? Making minimal shifts matter. As I come out of the other side of this ongoing experiment of removing the noise in my life, there’s suddenly more margin to work on being happier.
How does that happen? For me, 2024 will be about baby steps around what Arthur Books defines as the three primary elements of being happier: enjoyment – satisfaction – purpose. In other words, choosing joy more often than not. Finding satisfaction in the simple things of my very real day-to-day life and remembering my why. Ensuring that the things I invest my most time, energy and money in have a meaningful purpose… to me.
I don’t think it’ll be glamorous, easy, or even much fun. But, if I’ve learned one thing over the past years, it is that great things come out of hard times. (Most of the time. Sometimes things are just hard). So here’s to 2024 and finding a pathway to a happier life – something we’ve all earned and deserve.
I’d love to hear what your intention is for 2024!
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