Happiness doesn’t just happen, it’s a product of how you live your life. Forward momentum is always going to be the quickest path to contentment, here’s why that is.

What is Happiness?

First of all, the very first thing you have to consider when talking about happiness in any sense is your definition of it. Happiness can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different cultures and people. Humans can find happiness in the simplest of things and sorrow in material abundance.
We can be at our sheer lowest when things seem to be going their best, and feel our best when we’ve no real reason to feel great. That’s the nature of happiness.
For a lot of people, happiness is all about contentment and control. The feeling of moving in the correct direction, doing something valuable with your life, being in control and being a good person.

All that’s made possible by forward momentum in life. Pushing on and doing the things you absolutely need to do for your own sake, from working on your fitness to building relationships, even when they’re not the most fun thing in the world to do, is what leads to happiness.

It’s not about continual self-improvement, you need to absolutely learn to be content with yourself, who you are and where you’re going. You do need to understand and chase the right goals though.

Identifying the short-term goals that can act as stepping-stones to long-term goals, and making sure you’re sacrificing your time to do them is essential.

When we’re unhappy with our situation in life, too often we sit back and feel miserable, frozen by uncertainty and lack of motivation. That’s always going to be the wrong thing to do. What you need, is to create some forward momentum.

Forward Momentum and Control

Life is all mountains and valleys. We’re always cruising up to the next peak, or dropping down into a valley, and in that way, our moods and motivation is cyclical. We’ll always face times when we feel low, you just need to understand that the good times will swing around again soon. Providing, of course, that you don’t compound the bad times.

That’s where the problems really arise. Compounding the bad periods, when you’re at your lowest and completely unmotivated is the most natural response in the world, but it makes things much worse.

Instead of going and working out, you’re sitting around eating. Instead of doing the work you need to be, you’re putting it off and burying your head. In essence, you’re just digging yourself a deeper hole.

What you need is handholds to climb out of that pit, and positive steps that grow and build can be the way forward. Share on X

Understanding that getting back in the gym, seeing friends and family, working hard or eating right can all be ways to seize control again is key, and the sooner you start doing them and start building a routine, the sooner you’ll be feeling right again, and on your way to real happiness.

Beyond dealing with the down-swings, maintaining momentum is a big thing. Keeping going in the right direction, and self-management is key. You need to understand the dangers of burning yourself out and learn to avoid your classic pitfalls and triggers. Motivation and forward momentum aren’t about always working crazy hard and pushing forward, it’s about seizing control and making your life work for you.

Jocko Willink talks about freedom through discipline and that has never rung truer. It’s only through being able to control yourself and what you do with your time that you can have any real control and freedom, in your life. If you’re feeling bad, bust out some push-ups, or go for a jog. Feeling tired and unmotivated? Do some micro-tasks to get the ball rolling on a bigger project. It’s all about discipline and forward momentum.

Your Happiness is Your Happiness

One of the most important things to bear in mind when it comes to chasing happiness is that for every person out there, only their own kind of happiness will work for them.
Contrary to what social media and television tell us, we’re not all after the same things, beyond the basics. Happiness to one person is being there for your family, to another, it’s material success. There’s no wrong answer, and you need to understand that.

continue to part 2