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Are You Waiting for the Weekend to be Happy?

It starts when we are young; sitting in classrooms dreaming about how much fun we will have on the weekend. The sheer anticipation of no class and no homework makes us happy. Then recess starts or we go to lunch and talk to our friends and find additional reasons to be happy. But as we get older and our lives and the week become more stressful, anticipation turns into expectation. We look at our crummy day at work and expect that we will be happier when the weekend comes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work.

The difference is subtle but important for our happiness. Anticipation makes us happier today as we think about positive outcomes in the future while expectation puts off happiness in the hope that something will change and we will find happiness in the future. Anticipation leaves us open to happiness today while expectation gives up today’s happiness because it will come later. The challenge is that happiness really doesn’t come later.

New research is showing that for many of us, we actually become less happy on the weekends. We build up our expectations of happiness to such a high level that we end Saturday disappointed.   Then on Sunday, we start worrying about what challenges we will face next week. It creates an unhappy cycle of not enjoying today because the weekend will be happier but then the weekend can’t make up for all the happiness we missed during the week.

The solution is to be happy today. Anticipate happiness so you can enjoy today more. But don’t give up your happiness today by expecting happiness in the future. Certain aspects of today will be stressful and crummy; so what can you find to enjoy today? Can you take a moment to be grateful for something or focus on a great memory? There is something good about today. Find it and focus on it. Do the same thing for weekends. Enjoy and be present in your weekends. Don’t think about the coming week and what you will miss or how bad it will be. Think about today and what is great about today.

Don’t wait for the weekends to be happy. Find reasons to be a little happy today and every day. Happy moments create happy days. Happy days lead to happy weeks. Happy weeks build happy years and lots of happy years create a happy life full of wonderful memories. Create a happy day!

 

Here are a few quick ways to create a happy day:

 

  1. Go to lunch with a friend
  2. Connect with someone who is important to you
  3. Take moment to think of three things you like about today
  4. Pause to remember a past vacation or happier time
  5. Think about “Why” you are working. What is your underlying motivation?

 

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

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How to be Better than Perfect

Are you missing your opportunities for happiness without even realizing it? Are there a lot of areas of your life that just are not good enough? Are you postponing happiness until your project, your job, or your life is exactly where you want it to be?

In their book Happiness, Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener identify perfectionism as one of several thinking pitfalls that leave people feeling bad. They point out that perfectionism often leads to pointing out the details of what went wrong vs. the big picture of what went right. Our accomplishments and small successes get lost in the list of things that did not go right. Many people miss out on celebrating the small successes because they are waiting for everything to go perfectly. As long as they know the results could have been better, it is not yet a success or accomplishment. The challenge is, that time never comes, which means very little celebration, which severely limits your opportunity for positive feelings and increasing happiness. Marnie Winston-Macauley in her article, Perfection vs. Good Enough, explained that perfection is results-driven while good enough is effort driven. We can control how much effort we put forth, but we can’t always control the results. Often there are other factors that come into play. Since we are human, being perfect is impossible.

Perfectionism creates expectations that are always over the horizon–expectations we think we are moving toward, but always seem just out of reach. Good enough enables us to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and shortcomings and celebrate the things that did go right. It gives us something to build on. Good enough provides us a positive feeling that we are making progress and lets us believe that we can accomplish even more. We can increase our happiness if we take the time to stop and think about our accomplishments and successes. If we try to be perfect, we may spend that time thinking about the details that did not go right, rather than the tiny successes we can build on.
Take time to celebrate your imperfect successes. Feel the positive emotions and happiness that come from your accomplishments. Try to be a little better after you have appreciated how far you have come. If we want to be successful and happy, then being a little better is better than being perfect.

“I don’t know a perfect person. I only know flawed people who are still worth loving.” ― John Green

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

 

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