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Think about someone using their hard work-out as an excuse to eat nine-thousand calories, all while still wanting to feel good about their weight loss progress. Same thing with binge drinking, wasting time, etc. It’s all the same. Sit back, let yourself have a glass of wine, a slice of cheesecake, whatever, but don’t let the fact you managed to take the next step to your eventual goal knock you two steps back down.

Penalising Your Own Failure Excessively

This is pretty similar actually. While it’s not a good idea to be overly celebratory and lazy when it comes to successes, it’s equally if not more important to avoid penalising your own failures too hard. It really is a balancing act. Don’t rest on your laurels, but also don’t beat yourself up too much.

Essentially the long-term problem of being too hard on yourself is always going to be that you start associating the behaviour which you want to be spending more of your time doing is going to end up viewed negatively. In the long run, you’re discouraging the exact behaviour that you want to be doing.

On top of that, you’re triggering all kinds of low self-esteem, anxiety and depression issues potentially. If you’ve messed up, missed a day of working out or failed to meet a deadline, sit back, think to yourself “not great”. Then start working to remedy it. That’s all.

Failing to Recognise What Happiness Really Is

When we think about happiness in general we tend to focus on some kind of ethereal, endless joy that simply doesn’t exist. We behave like it’s a state that you can just find yourself in if you try hard enough and that’s just not it.

Happiness is drive, competence and productivity. Click To Tweet

It’s being needed and counted on. What’s the opposite of happiness? Would you say depression? Most people would. I’d argue that the opposite of happiness is boredom. Being sluggish, disengaged and disinterested. Locked out of all the best parts of life. The enthusiasm, the fun, the achievement. All locked away by your inability to engage.

Once you realise where you’re going so wrong, you’ve got to start re-evaluating the way you aim for happiness. If you’re not spending your time trying to find something you can be good at, enjoy doing, learn new skills, ask yourself why. What is it that I should be doing? How do I end up doing that? Make a plan. Feel competent and driven. Warning, once you get on this way of thinking, it becomes addictive. You start thinking pragmatically about your moods and life as a whole.

Bonus – Social Media Doesn’t Help

Another big issue for lots of people is social media. This is always going to be a problem. We’re dumped in a bubble of people with similar interests and goals, and the whole bubble is geared up to highlight those that do better and stand out more than the others. We’re rarely the individual completely on top, and that’s extremely hard to deal with in the long run.

There’s many, many issues with wasting a lot of time on social media, comparison is always going to be a big one, along with wasting your time, becoming trapped in an echo-chamber of your own ideologies. It encourages low self-esteem, tribalism and laziness. In short, not great. Think about disengaging your social media and spending the time on something that actually matters.
I’m not saying to completely disconnect and jump out of the digital world. However, limiting exposure while making sure to maintain open lines of communication is always going to be massively beneficial when it comes to your mental health, productivity and general well-being.

A Few Ideas For Lasting Happiness

It’s all very well to talk about happiness in a general sense, but here’s a couple of ideas for lasting happiness that you can actually action right now. Beyond meditation, try some of these things out.

Make a plan for the next year or so. Make it realistic but incorporate your dreams. Make it start from tomorrow.

Call a friend or family member. Delete your social media. Download the Analyze.Life app and start tracking your happiness and personal growth and development. Break it all down into small chunks and get after it.