As I travel around the country as a professional speaker and life coach, I meet people who just seem to be unhappy. Sometimes when I'm flying home on a long flight, I think about these people and wonder why they are so unhappy. Even more importantly, if they are unhappy, what can they do about it? As I have already written about here on HuffPost, I believe that you are the architect of your own life. So if you are reading this and you are unhappy, (or slightly unhappy) I hope this article helps you identify some of the reasons why you are unhappy and more importantly what to do about it now.
1. You haven't defined your happiness criteria -- lots of times when coaching clients who say that they're not happy ask them what would make them happy, and they don't know. None of us would go on a trip without a GPS, and the specific address of our destination, but many people go through life not defining what it is that they're looking for. So here's a question how you know when you get there if you don't know where it is you're going? What to do about it now: Take some time and really think deeply about where you are and where you're going. Try to determine what would be criteria in each area of your life that will make you happy. Work on criteria on finances, love, work, physical, mental and spiritual. This is really helpful in helping you make important decisions about your life.
2. You accept "less than" -- I meet many people who are in relationships that are not too great, and are in jobs that they don't like or even hate. So the question is why would you accept being in a relationship that wasn't great and why would you accept being in a job that you really disliked? Let's face it both of these are things that you can change. You can take a relationship that's not so great and make it better, or you can leave. You can stay in a job and be miserable or you can find a better job where you can be truly happy at work. What to do about it now: Determine what areas of your life that you have decided to accept less than, and figure out what you can do to change it. For example if you are in a miserable relationship either go to counseling or end the relationship, because you know that you can do better. You're not going to accept less you because you want to be happy.
3. You give up on their dreams -- I once met a salesperson who wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force. When I asked why he was not a pilot in the Air Force he told me that he had vision problems and so the Air Force would not accept him into the pilot training program. If you want to be a pilot you love being around planes and aviation, then find another way of being around the industry. Maybe you could work for airline, maybe could be a flight attendant, maybe you could sell airplanes for a company. But if you have a passion and a dream for something then don't give up on your dream! Find a way to make it happen or an alternative way to make it happen. I also meet people who let other people talk them out of the dreams or cave to discouragement and disappointment. What to do about it now : think about the dreams that you gave up on and decide if you want to re-pursue them, or if you want to realign them so you can still go after your dream and approach it in a different way.
4. You haven't set goals -- I know you hear all the time that you're supposed to set goals but for some reason or another in your life you've never taken the time or the energy to do so. In fact, if you set goals, write them down and share them, you will be massively more successful. If you take the time to define what it is that you want and write them down in the form of goals you have a much greater chance of being successful in much greater chance of being happy. What to do about it now: Carve out some time in the next few weeks sit down and write your goals out for the year. You will feel happier just knowing you have them.
5. You are around negative people -- there are negative people, I call them ESV's (energy sucking vampires) and that will pull you down with them into the abyss they will eventually get you to think like them. You will become a pessimist not an optimist. What to do about it now: Make a list of all the people in your life and determine which of them are negative influences and are not helping or encouraging you. Spend as little time with those people as possible or eliminate them from your life.
6. You haven't studied and learned how to be happy -- there are many great books out there on how to have a positive mindset and how to seek and find happiness, but you've never really made the time to learn how to be happy in your life. I would argue that this is a skill set and a choice not just a natural condition. What to do about it now: identify a few good book titles on pursuing happiness or motivation and start studying how you can learn to be happy.
7. You think that happiness "just happens" -- to me happiness can be an accident, but generally speaking I find that most people who are extraordinarily happy are not happy by accident, they worked on it. They determined where they wanted to go and they just made it happen. The people that we often describe in the world who are lucky are often not lucky at all they have worked to get where they are that's one of the reasons why they are happy. What to do about it now: Take all of the techniques outlined in this article and put them into a plan of action starting now.
So if you want to be happy it is not a mystery a puzzle or riddle, it's just something you need to work towards and believe me it can happen and you can be truly fulfilled and happy every single day.