How to Define Your Own Version of Happiness

Last year, I co-authored a book titled Take Back Monday. The book profiles 20 people who have custom built a life they love, despite the fears and setbacks.

Each person shared sharp insights and pulled back the curtain on what “living the dream” really looks like.

This week, one of the lessons keeps coming to mind—

What do you want your life to look like?

Dale Majors, founder of the successful company Bikewagon, says one of his earliest professional goals was a financial one.  He wanted to match his father’s salary while in college.

 He achieved this goal before graduating, but when he took a step back, he found the money didn’t make him any happier.

“It was an early lesson to evaluate exactly what I wanted my life to look like,” he says, “not just how much money I wanted in the bank

He realized his priority was six weeks of vacation each year to go long-distance cycling. Instead of working for a specific sum of money, he worked to establish a business he could leave each summer.

How do you want to fill your days?

Sometimes, we pine for just a few more zeroes at the end of our bank account balance. But do we really even want the things a lot of money can buy? Do we even want a yacht, a garage full of cars and a castle in Spain?

When we think about our true desires in life, we must be very careful other people’s dreams don’t define our own.

To be satisfied, we must worry less about what fills our closets and more about what fills our time.

Instead of a wish list of things, step back and consider—What do I want my day-to-day to look like?

Take time to write your wish list.

For me, defining a vision for my day-to-day was simple. I wrote it last July and it remains true today:

  • I want to spend a lot of time with people I love.
  • I want to define my own work hours.
  • I want time each day to work out and meditate.

The greatest thing about this list? I already have it all.

This list has been so helpful in making decisions. It helps me stay on my best course and prioritize my version of happiness.

When you have a moment, I encourage you to take five minutes and write down your own wish list. Use simple bullets to answer the question: What do I want my life to look like? 

When you do this, I think two things will happen:

First, you will gain clarity about the changes necessary to get you where you want to be.

Second, you may find you are already much closer than you thought to your version of happiness. What a lovely place to be.