It's incredibly easy to get caught up in drudgery, or just the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and find yourself feeling unnecessarily miserable. If this happens, you may find yourself setting a goal to enjoy your life more. You're more likely to achieve this goal if you define what enjoying your life means to you. Here are some tips for doing that.
1. "When I'm enjoying my life, I have a general sense that....."
Try answering the question above. Your answers could be along the lines of:
When I'm enjoying my life, I have a general sense that:
- My actions match my priorities.
- I'm spending quality time with the people who are important to me.
- I have an abundance of simple treats and pleasures that are available to me.
When you've identified what you want to have a general sense of, you can then work backwards to the behaviors and "pleasure routines" that are needed to achieve that (e.g., regular times for catching up with friends).
2. What behaviors signify that you're not excessively stressed out?
What do you do when you're relaxed but skip when you're stressed? For example, evening strolls, baths, baking on the weekends?
By identifying what these signals are, you'll be able to spot when you need to take action to get back on track.
3. When you're enjoying your life, what small hassles and frustrations are you avoiding?
While not all stress is avoidable, there are some kinds that are easily avoidable. Also, everyone has some types of avoidable stress that they find particularly annoying or disruptive.
For example, for me, enjoying my life involves not needing to make last minute trips to the store for one thing I've run out of. Therefore, anything that's essential I buy in bulk and keep a big stash of.
Another example of any easily avoidable stress might be something like running out of credit on your metro card when you're already running late.
What easily avoidable frustrations and hassles bother you disproportionately? What do you need to do to minimize these?
4. What simple treats make life feel enjoyable?
What pleasures do you not prioritize, or not get around to? For example, I like getting Thai takeout but I probably only do it once every two months. If I were prioritizing enjoying my life better, I'd probably be doing that once a fortnight.
Getting library books or cheap massages are other examples.
What would you be doing more regularly if you were prioritizing enjoying your life? How often is your ideal?
5. What do you find yourself repeatedly worrying about where you could easily remove that worry?
For example, you repeatedly worrying about losing your car key. This could be solved by getting a backup key.
If you don't know how to do something that would save you future worry/stress, can you Google for a solution or ask someone?
It can also be helpful to identify when is a good time in your week for you to get this type of thing done? When do you have time to work on simple actions that will save future stress?
6. What's the right balance for you between enjoying your life and your other priorities and values?
You value enjoying your life but you likely also value other stuff, like your career or being civically engaged. If you think of your priorities like a jigsaw, how does the puzzle fit together for you?
If you're in a relationship, consider making this a conversation topic.
Also, if you know someone who is similar to you (shares your priorities and responsibilities) and seems particularly well-balanced, consider asking them how they'd answer this question.
Which of the tips from this article did you find most interesting? What are you keen to implement?